Suburban Handicap 2020: Odds and analysis

Suburban Handicap 2020: Odds and analysis
Photo: Eclipse Sportswire

The 1 1/4-mile Grade 2 $200,000 Suburban Handicap drew a field of eight that includes the top three finishers from the 2019 Belmont Stakes in Sir Winston, Tacitus, and Joevia.

Here is a full-field analysis of the Suburban with the official NYRA morning-line odds. It is slated as Race 11 of 11 with post-time scheduled for 6:51 p.m. ET.

Tacitus [ML 9-5 – Tapit – B. Mott/J. Velazquez – 11: 3-3-2 - $2,707,500] In last year’s Belmont Stakes, Tacitus encountered all kinds of traffic as he rallied from behind to finish second. The now 4-year-old won three races in a row in the beginning of his career – a maiden special weight, the Tampa Bay Derby (G2) and the Wood Memorial (G2) in 2019. He has not won a race since then while exclusively facing graded stakes competition. Tacitus has piled up close to $3 million in earnings with a third in the Kentucky Derby (G1) and seconds in the Belmont Stakes (G1), Jim Dandy (G2),and Travers (G1). His two starts this year could be viewed as disappointing when fifth in the Saudi Cup and then fourth in the Oaklawn Handicap (G2). He will get some class relief against most of this field, blinkers go back on, and the 10 furlongs is ideal. Win contender


Parsimony [ML 50-1 – Dominus – D. O’Neill/K. Carmouche– 23: 2-7-3 - $306,474] This Pennsylvania-bred was part of a group of horses that Doug O’Neill sent to Meydan in the UAE for the winter. There he was able to win the Curlin Stakes going 10 furlongs, but then came home and ran poorly in the Gold Cup (G1) at Santa Anita at the beginning of June. Now, he has to ship across the country with only two career wins in his record. Toss


Forewarned [ML 30-1 – Flat Out – U. St. Lewis/M. Franco – 26: 7-4-3 - $424,613] The Parx racing shipper has one victory in his last 10 starts in the past year and that came in a 10-furlong stake at Mahoning Valley Race Course that was restricted to Ohio-breds. Last seen, he used a late run to get third in the Westchester (G3) behind Code of Honor and Endorsed, otherwise his best finish in three graded stakes was fifth in the Cigar Mile (G1). Use underneath


Mr. Buff [ML 2-1 – Friend Or Foe – J. Kimmel/J. Alvarado – 37: 14-7-4 - $1,076,536] This veteran New York-bred is very hard to beat when he races against fellow state-breds. He does his best running when he is right up on the lead, where he will face pressure from Joevia. Mr. Buff was not a serious threat in his recent tries in graded stakes races although he did romp in a stake at Aqueduct against open company in January on a sloppy track. He has never tried the 10-furlong distance. Toss


Joevia [ML 20-1 – Shanghai Bobby – G. Sacco/J. Otiz – 10: 3-2-1 - $332,391] Joevia set the pace and had the lead for most of the 2019 Belmont Stakes but was run down by Sir Winston and Tacitus. Now four years old, he won his 2020 debut in January in an allowance race at Aqueduct. From there, he went into stakes competition without much luck including a fourth in the recent Westchester (G3) at Belmont Park. Joevia prefers to press the pace and will need to show significant improvement to contend for the win with this group. Toss


Sir Winston [ML 7-2 – Awesome Again – M. Casse/J. Rosario – 13: 4-2-1 - $1,021,773] In the aforementioned Belmont Stakes, Sir Winston rallied from eighth to defeat Tacitus by a length with Joevia another three-quarters of a length out of the place spot. Since that Classic victory, Sir Winston tried the turf, won an allowance at Aqueduct, and most recently was beaten by Moretti on a sloppy Belmont Park track in the Flat Out just three weeks ago. It is hard to know what to expect from this Mark Casse runner, but clearly he will need to improve. Win Contender


Just Whistle [ML 8-1 – Pioneerof the Nile – M. Matz/I. Ortiz Jr. – 12: 3-3-1 - $213,505] This 5-year-old will ship up from Fair Hills Training Center after winning the Sunday Silence on a sloppy track at Gulfstream Park. Before that, he was second in the Hal’s Hope (G3). He is in the best form of his career, earning his two top speed figures in his last two starts but still he would need to improve to be a win contender. Use underneath


Moretti [ML 5-1 – Medaglia d’Oro – T. Pletcher/J. Castellano – 9: 3-3-1 - $161,150] Last year, Moretti was briefly on the Kentucky Derby trail and finally appears to have put the pieces together for Todd Pletcher. As mentioned earlier, he beat Sir Winston by more than five lengths in a front running effort where he registered a career best speed figure. In his prior race, he bested a field of 10 in an Oaklawn Park allowance. The distance is definitely a positive factor. He has run well on the lead and from off the pace, but with other speed signed on it appears he will have to rally in here. Live longshot


Summary: Quite frankly, it is hard to know what to expect from Sir Winston and Tacitus who are likely to be the top two choices in this race. Since their one-two finish in last year’s Belmont Stakes, they have just one victory between them in seven starts combined. Cleary, Tacitus faced tougher competition since the Triple Crown and basically stayed in training the whole time, while Sir Winston had four months off and only now returns to graded stakes competition.

This feels like the race where Tacitus should return to the winner’s circle, but maybe a horse that is at his best right now, such as Moretti, could pull off an upset.

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