I’m playing against likely favorite Patient Capital (#5). I don’t quite buy the sudden improvement that he showed last time at this level. He had a lot working in his favor that day, as he got to enjoy an uncontested early lead in a race where the pace completely held together. I think he’s better judged off his prior form, and those races hardly make him a standout here. There appears to be more competition for the front end this time, even after the scratches of some speedy longshots.
The other horse who figures to take money is Money Supply (#3), but I’m also skeptical of his chances. He got a great trip when sent off as the 9-5 favorite in the other division of that Dec. 18 allowance race, but he failed to produce a late kick in the stretch. I think he’s better at shorter distances than this, and he figures to be an underlay for popular connections.
My top pick is WATASHA (#11). He competed in that same race as Patient Capital last time, and finished 7 lengths behind that foe. Yet Watasha didn’t get the best ride that day, as he was rated off that slow pace, and only asked for his best once the leaders had gotten away from the pack. He’s better when he’s ridden more aggressively, and I would imagine that the connections will be looking for him to get into a better position from this far outside post. It’s only his second attempt at a mile, but he’s bred to go this far and actually finished well last time considering the situation.
I also want to use some closers at bigger prices. Complete Agenda (#2) is returning just 7 days after winning a starter allowance race going this distance. Yet Linda Rice is 6 for 20 (30%, $2.97 ROI) with last-out winners returning in 5 to 10 days in Aqueduct dirt races over the past 5 years. He has plenty of prior efforts that make him competitive against this field. I would even use longshot Royal Tryst (#7), who was actually closing best of all in the other division of that Dec. 18 allowance race. He didn’t run as well in the slop last time, but he should appreciate the turnback in distance to a one-turn mile.
WIN: #11 Watasha, at 3-1 or greater