Best Bet; VILLAINOUS (7); Best Value: DOUBLE SHOT (6)
FIRST: Tizme Bobby McGee logged two works since improved fourth in last; more to come. Paint Music for Me is fresh and owns fast numbers; dangerous. Height returns to maiden-claiming ranks; interesting.
SECOND: Scuttlebuzz is rested, adds blinkers and drops; weakness of field is selection's strength. Here Comes Meg was an even fourth in first start in 10 weeks last time; worth long look. Perfect Banker owns speed and makes third start of form cycle; must consider.
THIRD: Power Up Paynter should pack enhanced kick with cutback in distance. Steam Engine has early steam and can prove very tough on an unchallenged lead. Wow Brown has won three of last four; must be factored into the mix.
FOURTH: Lido Key owns fast numbers and fired half-mile bullet for first start since September. Mirabell Mei makes peak start of form cycle and starts from fence; dangerous. Appreciate and Alley to Calvary are two late runners that could land in exotics at beefy odds.
FIFTH: Reunion Tour gets favorable turnback and makes first start with maiden-claiming tag. Bowing Snowman was second in both starts; must consider. What's My Category has drilled twice since hard-fought placing in most recent; right in the thick of this.
SIXTH: Double Shot was compromised by wide trip and wet surface last time; set for breakthrough. Pier Forty best top selection by five lengths when second on Nov. 13; be no surprise. Beta should be advantageously positioned near the front in big field; don't ignore. Tri Saint Lorenzo finally got the hang of the game when breaking maiden by a visually-impressive eight lengths last out; developing and worth considering.
SEVENTH: Villainous was freshened for 45 days after winning three in a row; primed and ready for return. Striking Speed used his speed to beat solid field last out; front-running danger. Our Last Buck was done in by poor start last out; owns fast back numbers.
EIGHTH: Danny California returns to more manageable distance and should be ideally positioned in the stalker's seat. Mr. Buff wheels back in a hurry after being done in by sizzling splits in Cigar Mile last week; big-time threat. Bankit could impact if pace meltdown ensues.
NINTH: Apex Predator gets rider upgrade after non-stressful fifth in 13-horse field last out; career best predicted. Unbridled John was second in last two starts; runner-up again? Liquor adds blinkers and could move forward at fat price in bad nightcap. Justintimeforwine owns speed but lacks heart; must take the good with the bad.