On paper, the Grade 2 Jerome at Aqueduct didn’t seem like a very interesting race. The favorite, Noble Moon, seemed legit enough, but I didn’t trust him. He proved me wrong today, but in the future I do not think I will be jumping on his bandwagon. He pressed a very average pace in the Jerome and eventually took over the lead a half mile in and did not look back. I believe that spoke more about his foes, than his own talent. I will say that there were a few interesting trips, and horses that may be good bets when they come back. But the class of the field, at least at this time, is very suspect in my opinion. Here are my key takeaways...
Noble Moon – He did the job, but like I said, it may have been the field was just suspect and a few of them had trouble trips. As I stated, he pressed, then took over a very average pace. He was pressured a bit, and if there is something to be said of that. He did turn back his foes. But, I think that had more to do with the field and the trouble a few horses had. I thought he was in danger in the lane, and if Classic Giacnroll could have swapped leads in the stretch, he would have went right on by in my opinion. Going forward, I am against this one. He will have to prove me wrong.
Classic Giancnroll – This guy had a very interesting trip. He was forced way wide into the first turn, 5-6 wide maybe. Then he was 3-4 wide on the backstretch and into the turn. And in the stretch he did not switch leads. If he had done so, I think he would have gone right on by the favorite for the win. Now, those that like him going forward will state the facts I just stated and bet him next out. Those who are against him, me included, will say maybe he didn’t switch leads in the stretch because he wants no part of the distance. It’s a tricky proposition when interpreting horses not swapping leads. From my understanding, it can either mean fatigue, injury, or a horse not caring for the surface. I was dead wrong last year interpreting Palace Malice’s Bluegrass when he did not swap leads in the stretch. I took that as he was distance challenged. Well, I was obviously wrong there as he took down the Belmont. As for Classic Giacnroll, I am against him for now with the understanding that could change in a heartbeat.
Master Lightning – I am way against this Pletcher trainee. He pressed a soft pace then had no response in the lane and no excuse I could find. Until he shows a spark, I will have to pass going forward.
Scotland – This was my choice this afternoon on the win end. I wasn’t that high on Noble Moon, so I threw a tiny wager on him for some action. This maiden for Tony Dutrow may be one to watch going forward. Whether he is classy enough to continue on the Derby Trail remains to be seen, but he is one to keep an eye on I believe. He had a really tough start in the Jerome. He got whacked when the 4 horse, Pin and Win, bore in and impeded himself and Lawmaker. He went a little wide into the first turn and was a little bit rank while pressing from the inside. In the lane he did show some interest. He got through on the inside and looked as though he may have a shot to win briefly, but he eventually flattened out. Going forward, if he is in against maidens I consider him to probably be a lead pipe lock. If he comes back in the Withers, I will give him a long hard look. He’s interesting in my opinion.
Lawmaker – This Chad Brown charge had the same trouble at the start as Scotland, he was also affected by the horse boring in. He then went very wide into the first turn, 5-6 maybe, and was actually the one who forced Classic Giacnroll out so wide. He raced at the back of the pack, showed a little bit of interest late but never looked like a winner. Going forward, I am torn on this guy. He does have excuses, but I am just not sold as of yet. I will keep him on the backburner and take a wait and see approach.
My overall impression and initial gut reaction is this race wasn’t very good. I am not too high on anyone coming out of this race and I am almost definitely against the winner Noble Moon. I am also against the runner up, Classic Giacnroll, but he may prove me wrong. As for the other troubled trip horses, Scotland and Lawmaker may be worth a look, depending on where they end up.