Saturday TimeformUS Highlight Horse: Pace setup should benefit Stage Left

Aqueduct | Race 3 | Post Time 1:18 p.m. (ET) | Go to the TimeformUS PPs | Not already a TimeformUS member? Sign up 

This optional claimer is extremely competitive, as you can make a case for every single betting interesting in the field. Amundson (#4) is arguably the horse to beat after holding on to win a $40k claimer last time. He’s now won two of his last three starts and appears to have recaptured some of the form that we saw out of him as a younger horse. However, now he’s been claimed by Linda Rice, who is immediately moving him up in class into a tougher spot. The major hurdle for him is the amount of speed in this race. The TimeformUS Pace Projector is predicting a fast pace, and it’s hard to envision any other scenario with at least 3 runners who want to be on the early lead.

The quickest of those may be Pirate Rick (#1A), who is part of a coupled entry. He’s drawn well in the outside post, and comes off a huge performance off the layoff last time at Laurel. He carved out legitimate fractions that day and battled back gamely when challenged by the winner in the stretch. He’s wheeling back on short rest, as is customary for Lynn Cash’s trainees, but will be awfully tough if he’s able to repeat that last performance.

Among those who could benefit from a contested pace is Nova Rags (#3), but I haven’t seen him show much improvement in two starts so far as a 4-year-old. I would rather go with another horse who should be sitting just off the pace.

STAGE LEFT (#6) hasn’t run back to that impressive victory at the N1X level three back in two subsequent starts. However, he did have a legitimate excuse last time. The rail was not the place to be on Sep. 30, and he was glued to the inside path for his entire trip, cutting the corner when making his move at the top of the stretch. He briefly challenged the leader before understandably flattening out late. He’s better than that result indicates, and can rebound here if the pace heats up.


WIN: #6 Stage Left, at 3-1 or greater


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