Best Bet: TAINO (7); Best Value: NICKY THE VEST (8)
FIRST: Reticent drops and owns fast late-pace figures; call in weak opener. Ratchet is speedy and drilled three times since last start; dangerous. Whichwaytomalibu makes third start of form cycle; must consider.
SECOND: Batterbatterswing wheels back in a hurry (six days) after speed and fade in last; class relief seals the deal. Fox Red makes first start since claimed by Rudy Rodriguez after game placing in last; very dangerous. Cause of Action, a last-race winner, could be in the garden if pace meltdown ensues.
THIRD: Epona's Dream tallied improved final fraction after poor start in last; more to come. Irresistible Girl, an even fourth in debut, hails from Brad Cox barn; be no surprise. Jill's a Hot Mess was compromised by slow getaway in most recent; must be factored into the mix.
FOURTH: Foley Square was a determined winner in last and should pack enhanced kick with cutback to 7 furlongs. Happy Sophia drops and makes peak start of form cycle; very interesting. Mosienko is training consistently for first start since August for Linda Rice; dangerous.
FIFTH: Mo Zone compiled solid work slate for first start in eight weeks; "A" effort takes this. Hammerin Aamer would be the prime beneficiary if fractions get fast and furious. Ekhtibaar drops and owns fast back figures; must consider.
SIXTH: Frosted Bourbon gets Lasix and makes first start with maiden-claiming tag; primed for wake-up. Vive La Liberty was pace and position compromised when a clear-cut second in last; dangerous. Captivating Cara regressed in last after game placing in previous start; rebound potential.
SEVENTH: Taino visually and numerically impressed when winning by more than five lengths in debut; pairs up. Charlie Five O is speedy and could prove very tough on a soft lead. Heart Rhythm also is quick from gate and can win from stalker's seat; right in the thick of this.
EIGHTH: Nicky the Vest has trained swiftly since front-running score in debut on Dec. 18; call based on price potential. Dancing Buck could play out as the main speed with aggressive handling; worth long look. Perfect Munnings, who is 2-for-2, bested Dancing Buck by two lengths in debut on grass; obvious threat.
NINTH: Big Tony's Girl is favorably posted outside in wide-open nightcap. Betsy Blue takes suspicious price plunge after game placing in first start; handle with care at short odds. Delaware Destiny is fleet-footed and should be aided by cutback to 6 furlongs. Willow Grove was compromised by rough start in last; don't ignore.