Racing Dudes Pick: #6 Tonalist
Racing Dudes Longshot: #10 Mr. Speaker
1. Commanding Curve (KY) – How can you like him in this spot? Since the freak second place Kentucky Derby effort he’s done nothing whatsoever to garner any respect, including a lack luster effort in the Jim Dandy over this track last time out. Easy toss in my opinion.
2. Bayern (KY) – Easily the fastest horse in the race which means he will probably control the pace and build a sizable lead down the back stretch. If he can get the distance I’m not sure anyone is going to be able to catch him…but is he a classic distance type of horse? His Haskell win last time out was extremely powerful, but Verrazano did the same thing last year before flopping in the Travers under pretty slow pace conditions. Sold on Bayern being a top class horse, but think the distance will be an issue for him.
3. Charge Now (KY) – Could have the potential to be an upsetter! He’s only ran one bad race, which was a sloppy race track at Prairie Meadows. His second place effort in the Curlin Stakes was pretty solid, and with a better trip he could have won the race. Certainly is going to have to take another step forward…but never doubt his trainer Bill Mott.
4. V. E. Day (KY) – Winner of the Curlin Stakes will try to make it four in a row in this one so it is clear the light bulb has come on for him. His complete lack of early speed has me a bit concerned with this likely pace set up, but I do believe he’ll come running late. A horse to play underneath perhaps, but can he really make up enough ground to warrant a win bet?
5. Viva Majorca (KY) – This colt is improving, but I don’t think he’s ready for this kind of company. He’s an easy toss for me.
6. Tonalist (KY) – The Belmont winner was just an ok second in the Jim Dandy, but this is the prize they are aiming to claim. Expect him to be closer to the early pace this time out, and also expect the extra distance to help him out tremendously. If he can be in range of Bayern at the top of the stretch, I think he’ll catch him in the late stages and win this race.
7. Wicked Strong (KY) – I have a tremendous amount of confidence in Tonalist, but this is the horse I fear the most that can beat him. Much like Tonalist, the distance is going to be perfect for Wicked Strong, and we all saw how the addition of blinkers moved this horse forward in the Jim Dandy. Those blinkers will be ultra important again as he’ll have to be forwardly placed to keep Bayern honest…can he pass the speedster and then hold off Tonalist? Very possible.
8. Kid Cruz (KY) – By now I think we know what this horse is all about. He tries hard, he’s honest, and he’s very likable…but he’s not good enough to beat these types of horses. He could have a say in the trifecta or superfecta, but that’s his limit.
9. Ulanbator (KY) – He’s sort of like Kid Cruz in the fact that he’s honest, but just not fast enough to compete with this kind of competition. Would be surprising if he cracked the top four in this one.
10. Mr Speaker (KY) – This is an all or nothing type of play. He’ll either take to the Saratoga dirt course and be a big factor, or he’ll hate it and finish close to last. Usually I wouldn’t give a horse like this a second look, but I just think his one poor dirt performance could have been because it was at Gulfstream. If you weren’t a speed horse you hated Gulfstream this year. If the price is right (8-1 or higher) then I think he might be worth a look.