Tonal Impact (#7) will be tough for this field to handle if he runs back to his last effort when he beat a starter allowance field by nearly 5 lengths. That was his fourth victory in a row while continuing to move up the class ladder, and he earned his highest speed figure first off the claim for the Linda Rice barn. This horse seemed to love the demanding 9 furlongs at Aqueduct, as he launched a sweeping move to the lead around the far turn before drawing off with authority. Therefore, this slight stretch-out to 1 3/16 miles shouldn’t bother him at all.
I much prefer him to main rival Gasoline (#4), who is coming off a disappointing performance at this level in December. It’s hard to find an excuse for that loss as the even-money favorite, and his form has generally been getting more unreliable since a promising start to his career.
My top pick is ANEJO (#1). This New York-bred ran well on this circuit over the summer, finishing a good second at this level to Saint Tapit, before winning his last state-bred condition in September with a rail-skimming run. Since then he’s ventured back out into open company in Kentucky, but he hasn’t found the right circumstances. He got a poor trip two back when hung out wide every step of the way against a very strong field. And I won’t hold his synthetic race against him, as he’s proven to be better on dirt. I think he can handle this distance given the right trip and he should be a fair price.
WIN: #1 Anejo, at 5-2 or greater