Sticking with my top three
1. Gun Runner
3. Mor Spirit
Interesting article. Appreciate the insight.
Liked Gun Runner since his debut race in the Risen Star. I think he has tactical speed to be placed in a nice spot regardless of pace scenario.
As of now, my top three are Exaggerator, Mor Spirit and Gun Runner (in no particular order). Exaggerator still hasn't found Nyquist's number yet but he seems to be getting better with each start as a 3 yr old (three preps - nice breakout move in SA Derby albeit on sloppy going) and should adapt to classic distance. Mor Spirit is a consistent runner and his last two looked (to me) like he wasn't really being pushed by Stevens in the stretch but still finished in the money (both 2nds). Seems to have some tactical speed as he is never too far behind pacesetters and Baffert/Stevens combo is always dangerous. Gun Runner just seems to be getting better with each start and the added distance in the LA Derby showed that he is better the longer they go and he has some tactical speed. He broke his mdn at CD and ran decent 4th in KYJC (Mor Spirit finished 2nd) over sloppy track.
I'm going with West Coast invader A Red Tie Day with Stevens in the irons (most likely the pacesetter but feel like he's improving and finally healthy to make some noise in this spot). Also like Idol Porteno (liked his first start in the US against nice stakes company on dirt. Decent past performance on turf and should be formidable 2nd start in US).
I'm leaning toward Page McKenney (been on fire the last four starts albeit in lesser stakes company), S'Marvelous (nice win in NO and think he is getting better with age and under Maker's care) and International Star (disappointed in last two starts but his overall beyer is getting stronger and has chance in here).
Don't think Swipe is cranked for this (first race off layoff) but by class alone he should be right there. I like recent mdn winner Direct Message. Liked his last two (with Lasix) and has shown likes two turns). At 15-1 ml odds worth a long look here should Swipe not fire his best and Collected gets some early pressure from likes of One More Round, Riker, etc.
Should be Cavorting's nice comeback race just by class and proven ability. However, this being horse racing, I'm going with possible upset with Bar of Gold (2nd start off layoff and has 2 wins at AQU) and a real longshot My Savannah Belle (2nd start off layoff, she showed some ability last year and has run well at AQU). Of course this all depends on if Cavorting is "short" coming from a layoff and Paulassilverlining doesn't like 7 Furlong distance.
I'm going with Decorated Soldier (liked his last and 1 mile should be right up his alley). Also adding current mdn Big Red Rocket (both time beaten fav but think he has a shot 2nd time on OP and think he will be placed just off the pacesetter and make a run).
Going with Blofeld. He ran a game race from the rail in his last (GP Handicap) which was his 2nd start off layoff. Only question is if he can handle the added 1/8 of a mile (only has run up to a mile). We'll see if he is a miler or a genuine handicap horse to watch out for during the 2016 race year. Also like Upstart. Won his last (Razorback) at OP and shows that he's coming into his own as a 4 yr old. Interesting to see how he does with the distance (he's only won up to 1 1/16). But he has class and should be right there.
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