Sunday TimeformUS Highlight Horse: Phantom Smoke cuts back off strong return

Saratoga | Race 4 | Post Time 2:49 p.m. (ET) | Go to the TimeformUS PPs | Not already a TimeformUS member? Sign up 

Highlighting Phantom Smoke’s last trip (third replay in video)

I believe #6 Phantom Smoke is a very likely winner of this New York-bred N2X allowance affair. He had shown turf sprint ability as a 3-year-old and ran well when just missing over this course and distance last summer. That was his first start off a layoff and he subsequently improved in two more starts downstate. He returned from another lengthy layoff last time at Belmont and ran a much better race than his final position would indicate. That was one of the fastest paces that we’ve seen on turf in New York all year, especially for a 6-furlong turf sprint. Two horses set some wickedly fast fractions, and he wasn’t that far off stalking in third, well ahead of the eventual winner. He made the first move to reel in those two pacesetters, but proved vulnerable late after running so fast for the first 5 furlongs. I love this slight turnback for him, and he projects to work out a great trip stalking a more moderate pace this time. 

His main rival appears to be #1 King Angelo, who is also making his second start off a layoff. This horse won up here last summer when leading all the way, and I think he’s best using that front-running style. They tried to rate him off the pace in his return last time, and it proved to be the wrong move, as he lacked a late punch. I think he’ll get a better trip this time, but I still prefer his Christophe Clement trained rival. 

#7 Battle Station is the other interesting horse at a better price. He’s getting significant class relief while moving back into the barn of Rob Atras, for whom he’s had past success.


WIN: #6 Phantom Smoke, at 7-5 or greater

USE: 7

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