Best Bet: NOW WE ARE FREE (2)
Best Value: FIRST RANGER (7)
FIRST: Grace’s Joy was a clear-cut second when a runaway winner last time; call in tricky opener. Stella Who fired half-mile bullet since displaying improved speed in last; developing and dangerous. Sweet Peaches makes first start with a maiden-claiming tag; must consider.
SECOND: Now We Are Free gets confident price hike after hard-charging victory in last; pairs up. City Steel owns speed, fast figs and is training sharply; big-time player. C J’s Awesome won only start on the inner oval; dangerous in first start since claimed by Jason Servis. Real Estate Rich was eased last out after winning two in a row; right in the thick of this if all is well.
THIRD: Clipthecouponannie has logged impressive wins in both starts; rates call based on rail draw. Frosty Margarita owns four wins and three second in seven starts; very dangerous. Wonderment bested ‘Frosty’ by nearly two lengths when a determined winner in debut this past summer; right in the thick of this.
FOURTH: Brooklyn Major gets the meds after making forward move on pace and final figures last time. Feets of Strength was done in by pace pressure and hot fractions in debut; potential main speed with addition of blinkers. Aragonite should pack intensified late wallop with cutback to 6 furlongs.
FIFTH: Towering Moon has trained strongly since tallying fast final fraction when winning on Nov. 27; call in contentious field. North Slope owns swift late pace figures on best efforts; dangerous. Cerro was a fast-figured, front-running winner last time and now gets price hike for new barn (not required after sitting out ‘jail time’); serious player.
SIXTH: Cadeyrn adds blinkers and could secure unchallenged lead in bulky field; half-mile bullet last week seals the deal. Daggerpoint tallied solid final fraction when a late-running third in last; big-time threat. Biaviian exits sprints, starts from the fence and could be favorably positioned near the front.
SEVENTH: First Ranger notched career-best pace figure in last and should move forward in second start since seven-month layoff. Nevada Kid drops and owns swift back numbers; more than good enough if all is well. Buckleberry Grey could be in the garden spot if fractions get fast and furious.
EIGHTH: Lucky Lotto tallied improved late pace figure in last and owns field’s most wins on winterized oval. Longfor the City is speedy, owns swift numbers and starts from the fence; could easily take this. Mills could be the prime beneficiary if pace meltdown ensues. Best Play has been idle since winning two in a row on inner oval in December; right in the thick of this.
NINTH: Power Nap unleashed powerful late kick to win last; half-mile bullet on Feb. 11 is the clincher. Here Sir tallied strong efforts in two starts on inner track; very dangerous. Possilicious consistently earns swift internal and final numbers; big-time player. Furyofthenorsemen should pack enhanced late punch with cutback to sprint.
TENTH: Fleeting Gold gets Lasix after besting a next-out winner when second at 61-1 in debut; juicy price once again. Hopper Dropper is riding an improving line on pace and final figures; very playable. Gaming regressed in last start after fast-figured placing in prior; bounce-back threat. Croke Park is one of six newcomers in this field; stay tuned to tote and track.