Chad Brown has a couple of contenders in this maiden field. #8 Most Wanted Man could take money as the choice of Irad Ortiz after he closed for third at this level at Belmont. However, he never looked like a serious threat that day and just feels like a smaller, underdeveloped type with limited potential. Between the Brown duo, I much prefer #7 Running Bee, who took a big step forward in his 3-year-old debut last time, closing well for second behind runaway winner Capensis. That rival did not come back to validated that performance in his next start, but third-place finisher Sosua Summer did return to win convincingly. They both make some sense, but there are others to consider.
#9 Cloud Forest is a little intriguing as he tries turf for the first time. He ran pretty well in his career debut, tracking the pace before settling for second routing on dirt. However, his pedigree is definitely geared towards turf, as his dam did her best running on this surface and his second dam is the excellent turf mare Tranquility Lake. Bill Mott is 8 for 80 (10%, $1.94 ROI) with maiden non-firsters trying turf for the first time in routes over the past 5 years.
I’m going in a different direction with #5 CLUBBING. This horse finished last in his first attempt on this surface earlier in the meet, but he ran a lot better than the result would indicate. The early pace was a crawl, and he was restrained towards the back of the pack. He was racing in the two- to three-path around the second turn and was hitting this best stride too late in a race dominated by the longshot early leader. His damside pedigree is full of grass influences, and he’s a full-brother to stakes-placed turfer Passing Out. He strikes me as one that should handle the added ground, and he figures to be a square price.
WIN: #5 Clubbing, at 7-2 or greater