[Posted by the TimeformUS Handicapping Team]
These days, we’d like to find some hot weather in addition to a hot pace! So let’s go down to Tampa Bay Downs for our Pace Meltdown race this week.
The 4th race is a 5 1/2 furlong sprint for 5K claimers who have never won two races; and the TimeformUS Pace Projector shows a front-end that looks as jammed as the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway with 6-8 inches of snow. Except that these horses figure to be actually moving. And fast, too!
Now, while we are pleased that the traffic up front includes the morning line favorite Big Reward (#5, 3-1), we should also point out that this horse has shown the ability in the past to sit off hot paces such as this. Note in particular his effort at Hawthorne on October 19.
So, we wouldn’t necessarily recommend that he be left off of tickets entirely. However, he will be facing speed from inside and outside, and will have plenty of company in a second tier of trackers should he be ridden in that fashion. So, we are still enthusiastic about the chances of the ones who will be lagging early.
One such horse is the projected early trailer, Jango (#6, 8-1), who has the second best late pace figure (46) in the field. This honest five-year old is in sharp form these days, especially if you draw a line through his two-back effort at seven furlongs, a distance which seems beyond his best capabilities. Jango is also a versatile type who can adapt to differing pace scenarios; here, we are looking for an effort such as the two highlighted below, in which the pace was lively.
Here, Jango cuts back to 5 1/2 furlongs, a distance at which he has enough tactical speed to stay within touch, and has a fine record of 9-2-3-1. Also note that his trainer, Miguel Feliciano, is hot overall, and in combo with the jockey.