#6 Hoppertunity (KY) – He comes into the race on a two week turnaround, but the more I watch the replay of the Stephen Foster Handicap the more I think he really needed that race. He came into the Stephen Foster off of a four month layoff and it showed. He was sluggish throughout the first half of the race before finally making a solid run down the lane. He let Noble Bird and Lea get the jump on him, but it was encouraging to see him running on towards the end. This spot is easier today, and if he’s just a little bit sharper I believe he will get the job done.
#9 Catch a Flight (ARG) – Since coming to the United States he’s 3 for 5 overall including wins in two prep races for this one. Last time out in the Grade 2 Californian he was able to beat Moreno who was coming off a win in the Charles Town Classic over a decent field so he proved his class to me in that one. His connections know how to win big races at this track so there are a lot of factors in his favor. I’m not completely sold that he’s better than Hoppertunity, but he should be able to compete with him and prove me wrong.
#8 Moreno (KY) – No question that he’s at the level now where you must respect him in every race he runs in. However, too many times he’s been narrowly defeated to finish second or third. That makes him hard to back as a top win choice, especially today as he runs at a distance that he’s 0 for 7 at. Should be the controlling speed in the race with Majestic City, but I just can’t see him being able to hold off the late charging closers and stalkers. Believe he’ll give it another great effort though.
#2 Hard Aces (KY) – Seems to be a solid type of runner that should bring his game in this one. The problem is he’s proven already that he is not quite good enough to win. Could see him running well enough to hit he board, but that’s his ceiling. The competition is just a little too tough.
#5 Majestic City (KY) – It looked like Majestic City had completely lost his form, but perhaps the trainer change has made a difference. His last race was against nice horses such as Carve and Tapiture in the Long Star Park Handicap, and he took it to them early to capture a wire to wire win. That early speed will be beneficial here, but can he stretch it out far enough to win? I say no, but could see him hanging on long enough to hit the board.
#11 Finnegans Wake (KY) – Who really knows what is going to happen with him. He’s had a long and very successful turf career but has never really experimented with dirt with much success. However he is a different horse now than he was last time he tried it, so perhaps he can sit back and make a big run. I wouldn’t put him in a position that you really need him to win (like a single in a pick 4), but a small win wager wouldn’t be insane.
#4 Motown Men (CA) – Won a state bred race last time out, and ran competitively against our second choice on two separate occasions. However, I just can’t see him running better than a few others in here.
#7 Big Cazanova (ARG) – Would benefit if this one was on synthetics, but he won’t get that luxury today. His poor dirt performance, and his record at the distance are big down falls.
#1 Batti Man (ARG) – Major class increase here and it’s not a logical one. This is a very confusing spot to put him in.
#3 Poshsky (CA) – Easy toss as he’s just not been competitive in any of his recent races.
#10 Lideris (KY) – Easily the first one to throw out here. Has never been close in any of his races while in the United States.