This New York-bred optional claiming affair is one of many wide open races on this Friday card. #5 Straw Into Gold figures to attract support as he returns from a two-month freshening, going out for the dangerous combo of Joel Rosario and Christophe Clement. His form so far in 2022 has been solid, as he’s just been beaten by better rivals in his two outings. Yet those performances make him a solid fit here, and he has the tactical speed to work out a fine trip. Most of his rivals exit a June 19 race at this level won by Chulainn.
#7 Ruse is the one who finished closest to the winner day, just getting nailed at the wire in a narrow loss. This Tim Hills trainee did well to nearly hang on after making the first move into the pace, probably not helped by drifting inside late. Yet he’s nevertheless been in great form this year and obviously ran well at the Spa last season.
I didn’t see a major excuse for #9 Grape Nuts Warrior, who could take money here going out for Chad Brown. You wanted to race off the inside path on June 19 on the inner turf during a period favoring outside movers on that course.
The horse that may have been most compromised by his trip that day is #2 BAR FOURTEEN. Not only is 9 furlongs a stretch for this guy, but he inherited the early lead heading onto the backstretch and was guided down to the inside, where he stayed for the remaining 6 furlongs of the race. He actually battled on gamely to finish fifth, all things considered. I also think his prior form is stronger than it appears, especially that victory three back, from which multiple horses have come back to run well. Now he figures to play out as the controlling speed from the inside in a race that doesn’t feature many confirmed front-runners.
WIN: #2 Bar Fourteen, at 5-1 or greater