Thursday TimeformUS Highlight Horse: Gagetown should have more to offer second off the claim

Aqueduct | Race 7 | Post Time 3:47 p.m. (ET) | Go to the TimeformUS PPs | Not already a TimeformUS member? Sign up 

Chad Brown holds a pretty strong hand in this N2X allowance optional claimer. Dr Ardito (#2) is the slightly more accomplished of his two runners, having won 4 starts in a row after finishing second in his career debut. Yet he’s also had some pretty significant layoffs during that streak and comes into this race off an 8-month break. That alone isn’t reason to be too skeptical, as Brown has fantastic statistics off layoffs of this type. The turnback in distance is a minor concern, but he is bred to go shorter and seems like one that should be well suited to this 7-furlong distance. 

I slightly prefer him to stablemate Nabokov (#6), who has the recency edge. He comes off a career-best 112 TimeformUS Speed Figure performance, and he’s won going this 7-furlong distance before. Yet I thought he was supposed to win last time when he had dead aim on the leader and just seemed to hang in the late stages. 

Among the short prices, I’d much rather take the Brown pair than the Pletcher-trained Saint Tapit (#8). Perhaps shortening back up to sprints will wake him up, but I’m concerned that he’s completely failed to show up in two of his last three starts. He does run like a horse that may prefer less ground, but he’s also never really progressed since his brilliant debut effort and will take money based on his pedigree and reputation. I want to go in a different direction in my search for value. 

While I normally try to avoid endorsing entries, I like GAGETOWN (#1A) as the stronger half of the Lynn Cash pair, and I don’t think his entrymate is going to drive down the price too much. This horse has plenty of back class, having won a stakes as a 3-year-old before placing behind talented runners Stilleto Boy and Flash of Mischief. He didn’t hit the board in his first start off the claim for Lynn Cash, but I thought he ran pretty well within the context of the race, rated behind a slow pace in tight quarters early. This is the kind of runner that can do well in the Cash stable over time, if not first off the claim. I like that he’s named a local rider in Jose Gomez and think we’re going to see a step forward at what should be a fair price.

THE PLAY

WIN: #1A Gagetown, at 4-1 or greater

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