#5 Frosted – Its safe to say I have had a “horse crush” on Frosted ever since his huge effort in the Belmont Stakes last year. I practically stalked this horse while in Saratoga over the summer, and have the ultimate respect for him. Last time out in the Dubai World Cup he disappointed, but I think he’s ready to run a big one today. He’s been training great, and could get a very nice trip with pace to run into in this race. Some might think the distance is a little short for him, but he is one for one going a mile. Needs to get a smart ride and not get involved with all the speed early. If he does that I think he pounces and scores at what could be an ok price. His morning line of 7/2 would be just fine!
#11 Calculator – Man there is no doubt this horse has burned some money the last three races, and basically he’s a horse you begin to hate because even though he’s losing he still runs so well in defeat to give you hope he will get it done next time out. He’s ran at seven furlongs four straight times this year, but really I think that extra furlong is something he really needs. Each time he’s ran this year he’s making up ground at the end, and he’s ran once at a mile and dominated by over five lengths. It looks like he’s gotten over his earlier problem of breaking poorly. Today could be the day as he can get an outside trip and pounce at the end.
#2 Blofeld – Most people will be on Stanford or even Anchor Down, but this is the Pletcher horse I have the most interest in betting. Two races back he defeated Stanford by a nose at one mile, which obviously is the same distance they are running today. In the Oaklawn Handicap last time out Blofeld finished a solid fourth behind three nice horses, and was right there with them at the mile marker. Perhaps the last race was a little long for him, but his solid record at a mile gives me a lot of hope today. The price is right to take a small swing with him.
#7 Stanford – Not sure what to make of the fact he was scheduled to start in the Pimlico Special three weeks back and did not run in the race. It might mean the horse has had some set backs, which is scary considering how good you are going to have to run to win this race. Anything less than a peak effort won’t get it done today, and I also worry that he could get involved in a speed duel. Also two races back the higher priced Pletcher runner, Blofeld, beat Stanford at this mile distance. Could hang around for a piece of things underneath, but not on top in my opinion.
#6 Upstart – Returned in a big way in the Razorback Handicap at Oaklawn Park to kick off his 2016 campaign, but was a little disappointing in the Oaklawn Handicap next time out when he finished fifth by almost five lengths. Cutting back today to a mile which is something I think could be right up his alley. Shortening up in distance will make him more of a closer in my opinion which will play to his advantage with a lot of speed signed on in this spot. Could be a nice sleeper in here.
#12 Anchor Down – His level of improvement is impressive which was capped off last time out with a devastating win in the Grade 3 Westchester. This field today however is much tougher, but perhaps he can progress once again in this spot. Also there is a possibility he may have “wasted” his top effort in the wrong race as the that Westchester effort was a career high figure. Must respect underneath, but not one I’ll use on top.
#13 Marking – Could see him running big in this spot, but also slightly leery he might be a bit of a no show in this race. He went to Dubai after running well in the United States, but didn’t fair to well as he only won once in three tries over there. On Dubai World Cup night he ran an average fourth in the Godolphin Mile which was fairly disappointing. He can be his own worst enemy as he’s a bit of a handful which is another worry with him. Definitely a wild card.
#3 Donworth – This horse is definitely played out…he’s been a “wise guy” horse in every race this year and all he’s done is burn money. Hey maybe a mile will help, but I wouldn’t bet on it!
#10 Tamarkuz – Coming in off a long layoff and might not be up to this task to begin with. Ran pretty well in this race last year, but don’t see that happening again.
#9 Sloane Avenue – Pretty tough horse to figure out, but the bottom line is I don’t think he fits into this race from a class standpoint.
#1 El Kabeir – I’m not sure what is going on with him at this point. Has been placed in some really tough spots, and this one is the toughest yet. Needs a class drop in the worst way.