Saturday TimeformUS Highlight Horse: Neural Network should appreciate added ground in Jerome

Aqueduct | Race 8 | Post Time 3:16 p.m. (ET) | Go to the TimeformUS PPs | Not already a TimeformUS member? Sign up 

I view Arctic Arrogance (#6) as a legitimate favorite in this Jerome. I could have put him on top, but I’m just a little concerned that he’s going to get bet down off his 8-5 morning line given his evident merits. And he deserves to be pretty short price in here, as he appears to have a class and speed figure advantage over his foes. He proved his quality in that game Remsen effort last time, and he’s handled this surface and distance before. The one concern I have is that he’s run his best races when he has the early lead, but at least he’s drawn well outside of his main pace rivals. I expect him to put in a solid effort, but I also recognize that this isn’t the primary objective for his connections. I’m only interested in two possible alternatives. 

One of those is Kentucky shipper Lugan Knight (#4). I thought this colt got a good education when he broke his maiden two back, as he had to wait in traffic in upper stretch before splitting foes. He then lost his first start against winners, but was making up ground late in a race won by subsequent Smarty Jones winner Victory Formation. I’m not sure how far he will ultimately want to go, but a mile should be in his scope. 

My top pick is NEURAL NETWORK (#1). He didn’t earn the fastest speed figure on debut, as that 92 TimeformUS Speed Figure won’t quite get it done here. Yet he was flattered when third-place finisher Drake’s Passage came back to win. This colt just strikes me as one that will get better with more ground. That’s the impression I get from the progeny of Cloud Computing. Chad Brown also does very well with these types of runners. Over the past 5 years, Brown is 8 for 16 (50%, $2.44 ROI) with last-out debut winners going one mile on dirt. There appears to be some pace signed on, and he should be finishing strongly under Manny Franco, who just enjoyed a 6-win afternoon on Friday.

THE PLAY

WIN: #1 Neural Network, at 5-2 or greater

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