Who will prevail in Friday’s $75,000 Forego S. at Turfway Park? With a dozen horses expected to face the starter, your guess is as good as mine.

Handicapping a 6 1/2-furlong Polytrack sprint is a tough challenge on a good day, but the Forego is at another level entirely. The field is a mix of horses stepping up and down in class, returning from layoffs, shipping in from Peru, racing for new connections, and/or tackling Turfway Park for the first time. It’s hard to project how any given horse will perform.

That’s why I’m going to place as many factors in my favor as possible and support #3 Lanier. In this competitive field, Lanier brings a lot of positives to the table. Consider the following:

• Lanier has cracked the exacta in six of his seven starts at Turfway Park.
• Lanier has competed in the last two editions of the Forego, finishing second in 2018 and fourth by just half a length in 2019.
• Lanier is among the most accomplished horses in the field, having won the 2019 Hanshin Cup (G3) at Arlington Park by four lengths.
• Lanier prevailed in a one-mile allowance race at Turfway on Dec. 5, leading all the way to score by 5 1/2 lengths with a strong 97 Brisnet Speed rating.
• Lanier will cut back to a sprint distance for the Forego, and trainer Brett Santangelo strikes at a 21% rate with runners transitioning from routes to sprints.
• Lanier will have Turfway’s leading jockey Albin Jimenez in the saddle.

Lanier might be 8 years old, but 2019 was his best year to date, and he’s showing no signs of slowing down. If anything, he’s aging like a fine wine, and his third attempt to win the Forego might just be the charm.

Since the depth of the Forego field makes playing the exotics a challenge, we won’t get involved in complex wagers like the trifecta and superfecta. Instead, we’ll primarily bet Lanier to win and also play him in the exacta with two-time Turfway Park stakes winner #7 Nun the Less and recent Turfway allowance winner #11 Glennwood.

$20 to win on #3 Lanier
$5 exacta: 3 with 7,11 ($10)

Good luck!