Aqueduct | Race 5 | Post Time 3:32 p.m. (ET) | TimeformUS PPs are now available on DRF.com. Go to PPs
If this race stays on the turf, I expect Never Explain (#4) to attract support as he seeks his third victory in a row. He had a mildly disappointing 4-year-old season, never really taking that step forward that some might have expected after showing talent the prior year. Yet he seems to be putting it all together now. He beat a softer field two back, and then displayed a nice turn of foot in rallying to victory last time. That performance makes him a player here, but I wonder if he could get overbet off that recent success.
I think the horse to beat is actually Space Launch (#1). I know he hasn’t won much in the past couple of seasons, but he almost always puts forth a competitive effort. They tried to stretch him out to some longer distances last year, but it makes sense to start him back off the layoff at 1 1/16 miles. His final effort of Nov. 19 isn’t quite as bad as it looks since he was 3-wide around both turns in a race dominated up front.
There are some other interesting layoff runners in this field, including Daunt (#5). However, he feels like a horse that really does want more ground than he gets to work with this time.
My top pick is the horse coming off the longest layoff of anyone in this field. Clear Vision (#7) obviously went off form in 2022, finishing out of the money the last 6 time that he raced. Yet he was placed over his head in quite a few of those starts, and didn’t get the best rides or trips on a few occasions. This horse has generally been best when he’s forwardly placed, and they got away from those tactics last year. I expect him to get a more aggressive ride with Kendrick Carmouche getting aboard. He’s also returning for a new barn, switched over to Rob Falcone, who just generally has much more success on this circuit. Falcone is also 5 for 29 (17%, $2.81 ROI) off trainer switches on turf over 5 years.