This Bowling Green bring together a group of turf marathoners who all seem to struggle with consistency. Leading that charge is #2 Arklow, who has been a mainstay in these turf stakes for several years. However, he’s coming off a somewhat lackluster season last year and it feels like he may be losing a step or two with age. He’s run well off layoffs in the past, but he also tends to take money and that figures to be the case again with Irad Ortiz aboard. I wouldn’t want him at any kind of short price.
#3 Highland Chief is arguably the one to beat after winning the Grade 1 Man O’ War at Belmont, defeating Gufo and Yibir. Some may assert that he regressed last time in the Manhattan, but I actually thought he ran pretty well to be fourth there against the best group of American turf horses assembled anywhere this year. The slight stretch-out will only help, and he figures to work out a favorable stalking trip.
Chad Brown has entered a pair of runners, and I think they’re both contenders. Most will view #6 Rockemperor as the stronger of his two participants, and he’s certainly good enough to win a race like this when he’s on his game. However, he’s just not that reliable to show up from race to race.
I’m actually more interested in #1 L’IMPERATOR at a better price. He was aided by a boggy, speed-favoring turf course when he won the Fort Marcy two back. Yet I don’t want to just overlook his effort in the Manhattan where he ran deceptively well despite encountering traffic in the lane. I believe he wants the added ground, and he figures to go back to front-running tactics in this paceless affair. Chad Brown and Manny Franco have teamed up for winners at nice prices over the past few seasons, and this one figures to offer value.
WIN: #1 L’Imperator, at 7-2 or greater