This Skidmore marks the second start of Oxymore (#3), who was one of the most impressive juvenile debut winners at the recently completely Belmont meet, and clearly the best of those who ran on grass. He went off at 11-1 that day for low-profile connections, but has subsequently been privately purchased by a Michael Dubb partnership and transferred to Chad Brown. The Brown barn is 3 for 13 (23%, $1.45 ROI) first off a trainer switch with last-out maiden winners over the past 5 years. This runner obviously has talent, but horses running back out of that July 1 maiden event haven’t exactly flattered the winner, so there’s some question about the quality of the field he beat.
I actually prefer Brown’s other entrant APPRAISE (#8). I really liked the grit this colt displayed in hanging on to win his debut last month. He got a good trip stalking the pace outside and looked vulnerable to a late challenge from runner-up Inflation Nation before turning that one away at the wire. That came up a fast race as the top two finishers drew well clear of the rest. This Irish-bred son of Kodiac looks very fast and I like the professionalism he showed in his debut. I’m not sure he really deserves to be a much bigger price than Oxymore, so I’m landing here.
The other horse that I find interesting is No Nay Hudson (#4). He won his debut impressively at Keeneland before fading late in the Tremont. I know Wesley Ward was initially apprehensive to try him on turf, but I liked the way he worked over the Oklahoma turf course last week. His pedigree says he’s supposed to be better on this surface, and he could prove a real threat to Oxymore on the front end.
WIN: #8 Appraise, at 2-1 or greater