Thursday TimeformUS Highlight Horse: Deep Cover would benefit from more decisive ride

Belmont at the Big A | Race 6 | Post Time 4:40 p.m. (ET) | Go to the TimeformUS PPs | Not already a TimeformUS member? Sign up 

My top two picks engaged in a cutthroat duel through a sub-21 quarter when they met at this level on June 26 at Belmont. However, I doubt they will go at it quite so aggressively here as they meet again. Not Phar Now (#1) comes in looking like the horse to beat off his last performance. He got run down by a pretty good rival at the open claiming level three weeks ago at Saratoga, arguably running the best race in defeat. He’s a true sprinter who does his best work when he can shake loose up front. However, I suspect he’s going to take plenty of action first off the claim for Brad Cox, who wins at a high rate with this move. 

I prefer DEEP COVER (#5). He was taken out of his comfort zone when chasing Not Phar Now through those suicidal fractions two back. I thought he rebounded nicely last time, and probably would have won if not for an indecisive ride. He was always in a worse position than the eventual winner that day after Eric Cancel conceded the early lead and then was forced to alter course in upper stretch when Irad on the winner dared him to go inside before taking away that path. Cancel retains the mount, but he now draws outside his main pace rival, which should help him work out a clean trip. 

The only other horse I would consider is Battle Station (#9), who put in a nice performance at this level two back. He was a little wide against a slightly tougher field last time and has a right to take a step forward second off the claim for Linda Rice.

THE PLAY

WIN: #5 Deep Cover, at 5-2 or greater

USE: 1,9

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