It's hard to get loose on the lead 2 graded stakes races in a row, just ask Bayern. And I think I counted 3 horses adding blinkers this time out so as previously mentioned Zivo should be the beneficiary.
To say the field is disappointing is almost to say some horse should be there that isn't? The only 2 I can think of are PM and WTC, and I believe they are both freshening for the JCGC, which is run at 10 furlongs. Even though not at Saratoga, the Suburban was 10 furlongs this year. I thought that was at least a change of pace if not a step in the right direction.
I think a version of your scenario is probably what happens. Shared Belief has more of a boderline 10 furlong synthetics pedigree but can run on dirt. California Chrome was aided by a paceless Kentucky Derby and a 9.5 furlong Preakness. In a fast pace dirt race both are vulnerable but V.E. Day or Zivo would be the beneficiary. If SB and CC bomb in the Classic and V.E. Day doesn't win, CC is 3 year old champ. If V.E. Day wins the Classic, doesn't he have to be 3 year old champ?
That should mean more pace for Zivo to run into. Good news for him.
On synthetics? Absolutely Toast of New York is better. On dirt? I don't know, but I do know that Shared Belief has beaten better horses. That was my point. The horses that California Chrome beat up through the Preakness, with the exception of Wicked Strong, have not developed into the stars of the division, and some aren't even running in stakes level races anymore.
The Pacific Classic field was light years better than the Santa Anita Derby, Kentucky Derby, or Preakness fields. SB beat older multiple grade/group 1 winners. The test will be whether California Chrome can hang with him, not the other way around. There are no more Candy Boy's, Ride on Curlin's, General A Rod's, etc. to run over.
Victory in Europe Day?
If V.E. Day comes out of this race ok, I wonder if he'll run in the Penn Derby or wait for Jockey Club Gold Cup.
I think Game On Dude always shows up, but sometimes other pace horses show up too. That's normally his problem. Without Frac Daddy he might be loose on the lead, unless the South American Horse goes with him. Shared Belief will probably be tracking him closely. I can't wait to see the final furlong.
To win a grade 1 race on a synthetic surface, the horse has to absolutely love synthetics. See Fed Biz. See Game on Dude. Majestic Harbor? Not so much. This race is a double pedigree play: a horse needs a 10 furlong pedigree and a pedigree to love synthetics. In my opinion those are Irish Surf, Game on Dude, Toast of New York, and Shared Belief.
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