Here, the early favorite is Ready’s Echo (5-2), the fastest horse by definition who has acquitted himself well in G1 stakes company. He was third in the Belmont Stakes following his show finish in the G2 Peter Pan behind Casino Drive. There’s no doubting his class, connections (Todd and Johnny) and his pedigree for turf (More Than Ready). But we’re not sure he’s the right favorite.
Nistle’s Crunch has shown an affinity for grass since he was a baby and has acquitted himself well this year, too, racing through his conditions before his rough trip third in the key race G3 American Turf, following that up with a place finish behind Sailors Cap, one of the division’s leaders, in the G3 Colonial Turf Cup.
Pitched too high last out in Big Brown’s G1 Haskell, where he was an one-paced fifth after racing between horses much of the way, he returns to his preferred surface for Ken McPeek, who’s virtually made a living with the dirt to turf angle, a lofty 27 percent and profitable for a career. Nicely drawn inside, who reunites with Robby Albarado, his partner for his last grass score.
We’re taking Nistle’s Crunch to win at 5-2 or greater, an exacta box with Ready’s Echo, and first and second as a trifecta key with Vacation (8-1) , Mr. Maccool (8-1) and Schopenhauer (12-1).
Running Totals: (265) 81-52-31. Total Dollar Return: $489.40 [win selections only] [Saturday's results not included]