Best Bet: PIRATE’S TREASURE (6)
Best Value: BLESSED HALO (4)
FIRST: Tradfest logged swift pace and final figures when an 8 1⁄4-length maiden winner last time; rates close call. Spectrolite also exits front-running maiden victory in last; very dangerous. Lucky Town makes peak start of form cycle; price will be tempting.
SECOND: Ima Wildcat is speedy and gets class relief; controlling front-runner. Chelios owns fast back numbers and makes first start since claimed; very playable. Wizardly also is competitive on best efforts; very interesting. Non Stop could impact if fractions get fast and furious.
THIRD: Ransom Note logged wire-to-wire win on New Year’s Day and fired 5-furlong bullet for return; white-hot Linda Rice barn is the clincher. Proletariat was an ultra-game second in last and should have more to give in second start since eight-month absence. Gorelli regressed in last after fast-figured score in previous start; rebound threat.
FOURTH: Blessed Halo was second to a much-the-best, repeat winner last August and is working sharply for return. Have Another took backward step in last after game placing in previous start; bounce-back potential. Seethisquick was a fast-figured third in last and hails from the streaking Joe Parker barn; don’t ignore.
FIFTH: Erik the Red was compromised by slow splits when fifth versus pricier field last time; class drop seals the deal. Bambisfrostyracer nearly went wire to wire against a similar group last out; speedy and dangerous. Readthebyline also is fleet-footed and more than good enough on “A” effort.
SIXTH: Pirate’s Treasure gets the meds and fired 5-furlong bullet since speed and fade in debut; improvement predicted for potent second-out stable (Jim Jerkens). Sicilia Mike owns fast numbers and should be aided by cutback to sprint. Luzinski whiffed in debut but should move forward with race under belt.
SEVENTH: Wine Not notched solid late-pace figure when a clear-cut second in last; rail draw is the edge. Two Down One to Go carved the splits when third to top selection on Feb. 17; right in the thick of this. Third Son has trained strongly since dominant maiden score on Jan. 22; worth long look at long price.
EIGHTH: Green Gratto projects as the speed of the speed with aggressive ride in contentious Tom Fool Handicap. Sassicaia packs potent late kick on best efforts and fired half-mile bullet on Tuesday. Chief Lion is fleet-footed, owns fast figures and is 2-for-2 on inner track; logical, short-priced player.
NINTH: Arctic Schiller was a much-improved second in last start; more to give in third outing since three-month layoff. Dublin Express wheels back in a hurry after wide third in last; price will be tempting. Cespedes was fourth as the favorite in last; must consider. Mission Awareness debuts for Tony Dutrow; follow the money.