After all, isn’t that what’s supposed to happen when a sharp, improving allowance type meets established heavy heads?
The two classy state-breds that will take beating are the returning Giant Moon and another recent returnee making his third start off a layoff, Icabad Crane.
Giant Moon is making his first start since finishing unplaced in the Preakness Stakes, having been beaten a mere two lengths in his Grade 1 Wood Memorial prior. Again partnered with Ramon Dominguez, he returns with the rail and his noted tactical speed for the capable return outfit of Rick Schosberg.
With the two other speed types signed on from outside posts, we look for Ramon to establish his ground saving position given the short run into the first turn.
Meanwhile, Icabad Crane will be laying back beneath Jeremy Rose, his third start for Graham Motion and a favorable scenario for that accomplished barn. Third in last year’s Preakness, when last seen he was suffering through an eventful trip in the Alex M. Robb on this surface Dec. 28. A sharp pace would make him very formidable.
But it’s the improving Manteca who’s the most interesting. This four-year-old son of the late developing sire Aptitude, Manteca’s just now coming into his own as he seeks his fourth consecutive score after winning his last three starts by an aggregate 17-¾ lengths.
He’s got tactical speed and kick, a neat inside draw, and Rajiv Maragh rides him like he owns him. He appears capable of stepping up to this level and we’ll take him at 4-1 or greater, keying him in exactas with his classy rivals here.
Running Totals: (357) 109-72-47 Total Dollar Return: $768.30 [win selections only]