#7 FIGHT ON (15-1) took blinkers off and won an optional claimer by a nose at this course/distance March 30, and clear runner-up Hollywood Critic returned to win at Oaklawn Park April 13. He has tactical speed for Tyler Baze and Doug O’Neill.
#9 Snapper Sinclair (9-5) sat a good stalking trip and just missed in the Essex Handicap March 16. The sharp colt should make his presence felt throughout in a race without much pace.
#8 Rocky Tough (8-1) rallied to miss by a neck March 16 and winner Life’s a Parlay returned to take the Excelsior (G3). This one finished in front of my top pick Fight On in that race as well, and Steve Asmussen claimed him for $50k that day. Mike Smith climbs aboard the late threat.
#4 Matrooh (5-1) dueled through slow splits and held 3rd in his needed local return March 23. He should revert to patient tactics in this spot.
#6 Noble Indy (5-1) faded in both of his starts this year. He drilled a bullet for this April 3 and perhaps he will be fitter in his third race after a layoff. His biggest asset is his early-pressing speed.
#3 Gato Guapo (12-1) returned to dirt and easily won a flat mile optional claimer at Turf Paradise March 19. He looms a pace factor at the very least for quality local trainer Robertino Diodoro.
#7 to win
Exacta Box 7-9