Best Bet: SON OF MINE (6); Best Value: FLASH TRADING (3)
FIRST: Ro Bear makes peak start of form cycle and could play out as the controlling speed with aggressive rider aboard. Praetereo drops and owns fast figures; dangerous. Conquest Bigluck E was a fast-figured second at the marathon distance last time; logical, short-priced player.
SECOND: Lem Me Tel ya tallied solid final fraction when a clear-cut second in debut on grass; four tight works in the interim seals the deal. Belleville Spring has finished second in both starts; runner-up again? It’s Hot Out has been second in last three starts; underlay potential.
THIRD: Flash Trading notched swift late-pace number when a last-to-first winner on Dec. 1; pairs up. Very Very Stella tallied fast final figure when an even fourth in last; big-time threat. T R Crew upped record to 2-for-2 on Big A’s main track when winning on Dec. 10; right in the thick of this.
FOURTH: Tammany Giant makes third start since eight-month layoff after much-improved third in last; more to come. Heat Check owns speed and is training with a purpose; price will be tempting. Pimm’s Cup also is fleet-footed and logged two sharp works since last start; very interesting.
FIFTH: Gold for the King is 3-for-3 at the Big A and is training swiftly for first start in 45 days; call in ultra-contentious overnight stakes. My Boy Tate is riding a three-race winning streak and fired half-mile bullet on Monday; very dangerous. Celtic Chaos was an even fourth in first start since two-month absence last time; improvement expected.
SIXTH: Son of Mine earned improved pace figure in last and makes first start since claimed by Rudy Rodriguez; career best predicted. Polar City exits fast-figured, front-running score in last; very dangerous. Light the Vow regressed in last after determined win in previous start; bounce-back threat.
SEVENTH: Harkness owns fast late-pace numbers and fired half-mile bullet on Wednesday; breakthrough predicted. Shimmering Moon is speedy and consistently fires big efforts; logical, short-priced threat. Bluegrass Jamboree also is quick from gate and notched half-mile bullet drill on Tuesday; right in the thick of this.
EIGHTH: Old Time Revival visually and numerically impressed when breaking maiden last month at Laurel; ready for prime time. Firenze Fire is fresh, training sharply and owns field’s fastest figures on “A” game; very dangerous. Coltandmississippi logged three tight works since firing a dud in the slop at Gulfstream last time; rebound potential.
NINTH: Can’tweallgetalong compiled six tightly grouped workouts for first start in 142 days; primed and ready. Banker’s Island was compromised by poor start when a late-running fourth in last; must be factored into the mix if able to escape AE list. Pequeno Grande has worked four times for dirt debut for Rodriguez; must consider. Nolinski didn’t run a step on sloppy strip last out but was a front-end second on dry land two races back; worth long look.