While all of the likely favorites make a certain amount of sense in this $35k conditioned claimer, I wanted to look beyond them. Trade Secret (#6), Funwhileitlasted (#2), and Vallarand (#9) all faced off in a race on Nov. 13 at a slightly lower level than this. Trade Secret got the job done that day, but has since been claimed, now going out for Jamie Begg. She also got away with a very slow pace, which also benefited Funwhileitlasted. Vallarand may be the right one to take from that last race, since she was out of position early before trying to make up ground through the stretch. I expect her to run better drawing the outside post on this occasion.
Yet there are some others coming from different directions worth considering. Run Up the Score (#3) gets back on dirt after two turf tries earlier in the fall. She won on grass two back with a perfect trip, but I don’t mind her getting back on the dirt here. She’s handled a mile in the past, and the Linda Rice barn has been in the midst of a strong run.
My top pick at what I hope is a bigger price is MUSIC AMORE (#5). This filly concentrated on turf and synthetic for much of the early part of her career, but she’s run just fine since switching over to dirt in recent starts. She earned an off the turf stakes victory against a field of turf horses over the summer, and some might view her as having regressed since then. However, I don’t want to hold the race at Timonium against her, and she really didn’t run that badly against stakes foes last time going a distance that is likely too short for her. She traveled well early and wasn’t really persevered with late despite staying in contact with the field. She’s now dropping to an appropriate level, and I like the stretch-out to a mile. I’m hoping Jose Gomez is able to hustle her into a forward early position, as she seems to do best when she’s in the mix throughout.
WIN: #5 Music Amore, at 4-1 or greater