I’m really not against likely favorite #5 Balthus, who just seems to be putting it all together for Chad Brown. This well-bred son of Galileo returned as a new horse this season, since getting gelded and adding blinkers. He’s also responded well to the gradual stretch-out in distance over his last few starts, and was quite impressive in victory going this 11-furlong trip last time. However, he was almost 6-1 that day, and now he’ll be a fraction of that price while stepping up to face a tougher field. I don’t doubt that he’s the horse to beat, but I just didn’t feel compelled to throw more support towards him at a shorter price.
I do much prefer him to the possible second choice #4 Reigning Spirit. This horse got the right trip last time the Louisville. Though he was wide for much of his trip, he stayed out of trouble in race where many others had to deal with traffic issues. He’s obviously better going longer, but I need some confirmation of that last-out improvement before backing him in a spot like this.
I’m instead going in a different direction with #8 TIDE OF THE SEA. It’s possible that this 6-year-old’s career is simply finished, as his recent form has been pretty abysmal compared to the peak of his career. Yet now he’s been claimed by Tom Morley for Flying P Stables, a combination that has had plenty of success, especially in this situation. Morley for these owners is 7 for 19 (37%, $4.57 ROI) first off the claim over the past 5 years. And that doesn’t even include 45-1 winner Dynadrive, who won off a trainer switch from Mike Maker at Belmont. Tide of the Sea didn’t actually run that badly two back, and last time, little effort was made to get him involved. Now he returns as a new gelding and could play out as the controlling speed.
WIN: #8 Tide of the Sea, at 7-1 or greater