Here are my thoughts:
Favored at 5-2 on the morning line, #6 Voodoo Zip is the most likely winner following a fine second last out. He won’t offer much value in the straight pools, but we can still be rewarded in multi-race wagers. The City Zip colt went wide early and pressed a hopeless longshot through hot early fractions on a good turf last time. He proved game when challenged by a good-looking Curlin colt from the Chad Brown barn, winding up a clear second.
Voodoo Zip has been freshened 43 days in advance of this start by Danny Gargan, who has won 10 of the last 35 starts (29%) off a 31-90 day layoff this year, and the bay colt catches a 12-horse field lacking early types. Voodoo Zip looks poised to graduate in this spot.
Mark Casse and Todd Pletcher will duke it out with sharp last-out maiden winners, #6 Proven Strategies and #9 Roman Empire. Proven Strategies, who scored by 3 1/2 lengths in front-running fashion early last month, was beaten only two lengths when sixth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) as a maiden last fall. Roman Empire rallied to win going away by 8 3/4 lengths in his second career start last time.
I will also use #1 Rhythmia, who was compromised by a slow start last time; #2 Mozo Bello, who never got on track from outside post last time but has shown a strong finishing kick in previous starts over the course; and #10 Over the Channel, who will be running late for David Fawkes.
A nice group of 3-year-old fillies will square off in the 6-furlong allowance/optional claimer, I will take a stand against 9-5 morning line favorite #7 Midtown Rose, who has not run back to her smashing maiden win in the last two outings, including a non-threatening second as the odds-on choice last time.
I am two deep with #2 Up in Smoke, who enters on the upswing for George Weaver off a pair of convincing wins to open her career; and #4 Alandra, a rallying second off the layoff most recently and fine sprint prospect for Shug McGuaghey.
#5 Catnip Kitten is the one to beat, but with no strong opinion in this turf claiming event, I will add six other females to the probable favorite – #2 Starship Gussie, #6 Helen Hayes, #7 Got the Gist, #8 Aguas Coloradas, #9 Passing Moments, and #10 Chiclet’s Dream.
50-cent Pick 4 ticket
- 6 with 1,2,6,9,10 with 2,4 with 2,5,6,7,8,9,10 ($35)