Racing Dudes Win Bet: #3 Paynter
Racing Dudes Exacta Bet: 3/1,4
Racing Dudes Trifecta Bet: 1,3,4 boxed
Horses to use in Vertical Bets: 1,3,4
1. Nonios (KY) – The Haskell has drawn an interesting, yet small field of six. Nonios drew the rail, but his running style shouldn’t be bothered much by that. This horse has been a late bloomer in the three-year old division, but I don’t think he’s one to be taken lightly. His last two races against Graded competition has been really solid. He won the Affirmed Handicap at a big price, and then finished a solid second in the Swaps Stakes. This will be his first start on real dirt, so that is definitely a question mark. He’s the biggest wild card in the race, and if he takes to the surface well he’s got a big time shot. California horses have dominated the big three-year old races this year, so Nonios might be a great value bet in this race.
2. Dullahan (KY) – I’ve never been real high on this horse, and I’m still not coming into this race. Like many others, I think Dullahan’s best surface is turf or synthetics. He was flattered by a very hot pace in the Kentucky Derby, and he’s very unlikely to get that kind of set up in this one. Lack of pace plus a surface he may not enjoy are two very big strikes against him. I look at him as more of a trifecta spoiler than an actual win contender.
3. Paynter (KY) – Even though Zayat Stables owns Bodemesiter, I think this horse is going to be the best three-year old the summer/fall. Paynter’s potential is unlimited. He went from a five and one-half furlong maiden victory straight to fourth in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby in his second start. After that race I knew we might be dealing with a great horse. Running that well against that kind of competition so early was impressive. Paynter came so close to winning the Belmont, and I don’t really think the mile and a half was something he really wanted to do. Also, remember that the Belmont was just his fifth start! Now the horse has had even more time to develop. He’s worked SIX straight bullets leading up to this race, and I expect him to crush the competition.
4. Gemologist (KY) – While I believe Paynter is strictly the one to beat; Gemologist is an interesting horse in this one. He was a perfect five for five leading up to the Kentucky Derby, but things went very wrong in that race. After struggling to a sixteenth place finish, it was discovered that Gemologist had a bruised foot and has not started since. He’s got enough natural speed to stalk Paynter, and his last two works suggest he’s ready to fire a big race. In a race that looks like it might lack pace, Gemologist’s natural speed makes him a more dangerous threat to Paynter than any of the others.
5. Handsome Mike (KY) – Doug O’Neill had bad luck losing I’ll Have Another to injury, and unfortunately Handsome Mike probably won’t ease the pain much in this one. Handsome Mike has been off since March, and has only won once in seven races. He looks to be totally out-classed in this one and was an easy throw out for me.
6. Stealcase (KY) – You really can’t blame his connections for taking a shot here considering the small field, and the lack of the big horses in Union Rags and Bodemeister. Stealcase has been competitive in a few Grade 3’s, but has never been a winner in one. He looks slightly out-classed against this bunch, but with a little luck he could hit the board.