The finale is the most competitive race of the day, as you can make cases for many horses in this field. Gandy Dancing (#6) could vie for favoritism as he makes his first start off the claim for Rob Atras with Irad Ortiz taking over the reins. On the surface of things, this seems like a huge trainer upgrade. However, his prior barn had gotten him back into top form three back at Saratoga, so I’m skeptical how much he can improve now, especially since Atras’s barn hasn’t been winning at its usual rate.
Quick Return (#3) could also take money as he drops back down in class after breaking poorly against tougher company last time. This is a more realistic spot for him, but I thought he was pretty fortunate when he put forth his best efforts against cheaper claimers recently. There isn’t an abundance of speed in this field, but he still could have to work harder on the front end than he did two back.
If the paces comes apart, that should help Double Shot (#5), but he really needs things to heat up on the lead to have his best chance. He will appreciate the turnback from a mile, but the same could be true for Durkin’s Call (#11), who may be in slightly better form. I’ll use both of them, but my top pick is a different turnback.
JEMOGRAPHY (#10) beat open company at this claiming level two back in a strong performance. He showed improved early speed off the claim for Rudy Rodriguez and never looked back. He then stepped up against a much tougher group at the $32k level last time and understandably tired going a mile after setting an honest pace. He’s getting needed class relief here as he drops and moves into New York-bred company, and he also figures to appreciate the turnback in distance. His newfound early speed should play well here, and I also like that he’s drawn outside of his main pace rivals.
WIN: #10 Jemography, at 5-2 or greater