#9 Wake Forest – Came over for the Arlington Million last year and disappointed, however, he stayed in the United States with Chad Brown and finally made his reemergence in the Grace 2 Pan American this April at Gulfsream Park and nearly won the race off of a long layoff as he finished second to Kaigun by a head. I felt his race off the bench was extremely strong, and I expect him to improve off that race here. Even though it could have just been a tune up for bigger and better things, it’s worth noting that Wake Forest fought until the end in this race to almost get up and win at the wire. Hoping for a more outside trip in this spot, and also hoping he can live up to my lofty expectations.
#7 Kaigun – Consistency is this horses game as he’s hit the board in 18 of 29 races for his career, and has been a part of the exacta in his last six straight races. The problem is of those six races he’s only won one time so you can see why we’ve put him in the second spot once again today. He is clearly better than everyone in this race besides our top pick where he still might end up being better than him but it’s not as clear. Probably should have picked him to win, but with his clear history of finishing second I had to think an improving Wake Forest could beat him. Still one I’d use in all multi race wagers that I could.
#2 Money Multiplier – Had a decent middle of the year in 2015 before running poorly to end the year, but did make his debut in 2016 a winning one. Even though that win was only by a neck it still set him up for a race like this one. He’ll have to improve, but Chad Brown is a master at getting horses like this to run big on the turf. The talent is there, and he will have every chance to put it all together and make an impact in 2016. Today could be the first step towards that.
#4 Closing Bell – Made his season debut on dirt in the Donn Handicap and didn’t fair well, but moved to the turf at Fair Grounds for his next start and improved to finish a decent third. With turf now the obviously goal he’s back to something we know he likes to do, however like so many in this race it’s hard to imagine them improving to the level of the top two we have picked. Could be a key play underneath, but perhaps not on top.
#6 Up With the Birds – He always seems to show up in these kinds of tough Grade 1 spots, but he hasn’t actually won a race since July of 2014. His last race in the Grade 2 Elkhorn at Keeneland was probably a good prep race for this one so I expect a nice effort out of him. At this point though it’s just very tough to think he can do more than hit the board.
#5 Go Around – Had a pretty decent 2015, but has stepped his game up lately as he’s kicked off 2016 with back to back wins. Those two wins have come in an allowance race at Gulfstream Park, and a state bred stakes at Tampa Bay Downs. While today’s task is much tougher than those races it’s still a good sign that he’s found his way to the winners circle like he has as of late. Today’s field is not incredibly classy so the idea of him making an impact is not far fetched.
#3 Can’thelpbelieving – Seems to always be around the top 3 or 4, but has never ran in a race this big. It’s not the toughest of Grade 1 fields, but it still might be too tough for him.
#8 Biz The Nurse – Hasn’t started since July of last year, and wasn’t running all that well at that point. Easy toss.
#1 Morandi – Came to the states off a long layoff, ran one time, and then had another long layoff before running again this year. Hasn’t done much running in a four year time span. Weird entry.