Likely favorite #4 Kuramata has lost twice at this level at odds of even-money and 3-5, the latter time when part of an entry. This Irish-bred 5-year-old obviously has some talent, but he’s had trouble putting races together and still looks like a work in progress. He has a tendency to lug in and race greenly during his races, so he’s not the easiest horse to ride. He’s faced some pretty good rivals so far this year, and is arguably getting class relief against today’s field. Yet he has to stretch out to 1 1/4 miles for the first time and will almost surely be a short price for connections that always take money.
I’m going with logical alternative #3 KINENOS. That last start had the feel of a prep. Running for his available allowance condition, he was closing mildly late in a race that featured a pretty honest pace up front. He just couldn’t quite reel in the leaders, who had snuck away on the front end. That 8.5-furlong distance is on the short side for a horse that wants to go much farther, so he’ll appreciate the stretch-out to 1 1/4 mile here. He has finished in the exacta twice at this distance before, including a victory at today’s level over this track in April of 2021. I’m not too bothered that he’s risked for the $62,500 tag, as this is just a realistic placement. He needs some pace up front but should be charging late if Javier Castellano can work out a trip.
I also want to use #5 Offlee Naughty, who should be a bigger price. This 4-year-old put in some nice efforts in California last year, winning a N1X allowance event over 1 3/8 miles to close out his season. Obviously distance is no issue for this guy, and he ran a competitive race at this level back in February at Santa Anita. He didn’t run well at Churchill last time, but I don’t want to put too much stock in that race given the way the course has played and the shorter distance. Trainer Michael McCarthy is 0 for 8 at NYRA over the past 5 years, though 4 of those did hit the board, all in graded stakes.
WIN: #3 Kinenos, at 3-1 or greater
UPGRADE: #5 Offlee Naughty, at 8-1 or greater