Best Bet: EMPRESSOF THE NILE (5); Best Value: ULTRA BRAT (8)
FIRST: Nominal Dollars exits tough-trip third in last and should be set for best in fourth start of form cycle. Conquest Bigluck E owns fast figures but drops in first start since claimed; mixed message. Arbitrator packs potent late kick on best efforts.
SECOND: Honor Mission logged deceptively fast final fraction when sixth in debut; needs scratches to escape AE list. Bad Guy is improving with each start; added ground and return to turf should play to strength. News Anchor has failed as the favorite in last two starts; you’ve been warned. Mr. Vincent has the benefit of the rail with short run into first turn.
THIRD: Brancato is speedy, drops and moves to dirt; weakness of field is selection’s strength. Archival crossed the line first but was dqd from top honors three starts back; logical short-priced player. Disruptor is training consistently for first start since September; must consider.
FOURTH: Always a Suspect notched swift late-pace figure in last at Belmont and is 2-for-2 at the Big A. Pete’s Play Call has been idle since claimed for top-figured win on Aug. 18; big-time danger if ready for best. Harlan Punch is fresh and consistently fires strong efforts.
FIFTH: Empressof the Nile is fleet-footed and compiled six tight works for first start since September; wire to wire with top speed rider aboard. Miss Aja Brown logged fast final fraction when making wide move in last; set for breakthrough in third start of new form cycle. Palinodie has drilled two times since second by a nose in last; very dangerous.
SIXTH: This Cat Can Fly is from a dam that has produced a turf winner and is training sharply for grass debut. Ten Eyck was a clear-cut second to a much-the-best winner in last; very playable. Mr. President was an ultra-game second at 8-1 last time; bounces at short ticket today?
SEVENTH: We Should Talk regressed in last start after fast-figured win in debut; rebounds today. Stoney Bennett is speedy and should be aided by cutback to 6 furlongs. Sea Foam gets Lasix after determined maiden victory last time; must be factored into the mix.
EIGHTH: Ultra Brat logged fast late-pace figures in two of three grass starts and is working sharply for first outing since New Year’s Eve of 2016. Five Hearts is fleet-footed and riding a two-race winning streak; big-time, front-running threat. First of Spring made sustained run to win stateside debut on Big A grass on Nov. 3; very dangerous.
NINTH: Nile Princess displayed improved speed in last start after tallying solid final fraction in previous outing; call based on price in wide-open nightcap. Cha Cha Heels makes quick return and drops after even fifth just 11 days ago; worth long look. Carry Your Heels made a forward move on the numbers in last two starts; very interesting. Weekend Hottie runs late and could impact if pace meltdown ensues.