I suppose #1 Java Buzz is the horse to beat as he makes his second start off a layoff for Linda Rice, who has solid stats with this move. However, I can’t say that I’ve been thrilled with any of his prior runs. He was off a step slowly and was in tight quarters for part of the stretch drive. However, I thought he had his chance to pick up a better placing and just never really seized the opportunity. I’m also not convinced of the overall quality of that last field and think there are more interesting horses in this spot.
I have no problem with #5 Sosua Summer’s form, other than the fact he’s had more chances than the rest. His lone turf sprint at Gulfstream in February was actually a pretty strong effort, as both horses who finished ahead of him are stakes quality performers. I won’t be surprised when this turnback suits him, but it’s hard to pick him on top at a short price.
There are a couple of interesting first time turfers in this field. #2 Upper Level makes some sense off his debut, and his dam was a stakes-placed turf performer.
I prefer #4 TRIUMPHANT ROAD at a better price. I was a little surprised when the connections debuted this horse on dirt last summer because he just looked like such a turf horse. He sold for a hefty sum at the two-year-old sale after working a furlong in 10 1/5, looking very turf-meant in that drill. His dam was a multiple graded stakes winner on turf. Three of her 6 foals to try this surface are winners over it, including stakes winner Curlin’s Fox. The layoff is obviously an obstacle, but he figures to be a square price.
WIN: #4 Triumphant Road, 4-1 or greater