Spiked (#3) will be tough for this field to handle if she brings her best effort. She gamely chased home subsequent stakes winner Fingal’s Cave going this distance at Saratoga in July, and she proved that she’s still capable of producing that form when she finished second here in late November. She couldn’t hold off the challenge of Spooky Road, but she battled on gamely wearing blinkers for the first time. If you give her the sloppy track excuse for that poor effort in early October, she’s run well in all of her other races. Yet she could encounter another wet track on Thursday, which is a legitimate concern. I still view her as the horse to beat, but I don’t want to take too short a price on her.
I’m not particularly interested in the Rudy Rodriguez entry, as they could wind up as the second choice given that both seemingly have a chance. Suspended Campaign (#1) is coming off a career-best effort, but I think she’s better around one turn.
Caragate (#4) is a bit more appealing. This New York-bred finished strongly going a mile last time, and distance isn’t supposed to be an issue for her, as she won decisively going 1 1/8 miles at Saratoga over the summer. She just has to get a little faster to upset the favorite.
I’m going in a different direction with MOMMASGOTTARUN (#8). At first glance, it seems a little counterintuitive that Linda Rice is asking a seemingly one-dimensional sprinter to stretch out to 9 furlongs. Yet she’s had success with this move before. Over the past 5 yeas, Rice is 16 for 35 (46%, $2.59 ROI) first off the claim going from sprints to routes on dirt. Plus Rice is 11 for 23 (48%, $2.94 ROI) with all of her first off the claim runners over the past two months. This filly ran poorly here just 12 days ago, but it appeared that her rider made little effort to motivate her at any point on a day when the track was enveloped in fog. She’s better than that, and actually does have some pedigree to stretch-out.
WIN: #8 Mommasgottarun, at 7-2 or greater