It’s impossible to knock what we’ve seen from Bittel Road (5-2), undefeated in two starts, one over this course, the second at this distance in Saratoga. There’s no doubt trainer Todd Pletcher is treating him like a good horse, giving him proper spacing between starts with enough time into this following his score in the With Anticipation Stakes.
The impressive thing about his record to date is his demonstrated versatility and class, winning his debut from in front, his stakes debut from off the pace after being sloughed badly at the start. Not only did he answer two significant questions but proved he wants to be a racehorse with his game eyeball-to-eyeball test last time. Pletcher’s on a roll, as is stable rider Johnny Velazquez. Bittel Road is a solid favorite.
But Europeans have been taking out measure consistently on grass and Duke of Homberg (3-1) won his second start with style, showing an ability to make multiple moves then sustain his run through the stretch. His recent win in a maiden stakes came out a distance which by pedigree he seems unsuited, given the average winning distance of the offspring of his sire and grandsire are 8.4 and 8.3 furlongs, respectively. Add in first-time Lasix and a switch to turf ace Edgar Prado and an upset is a strong possibility given anticipated continued improvement.
Taking Duke of Homberg to win at 3-1 or greater, an exacta key box with Bittel Road, and a trifecta key first and second. adding promising Herr Mozart (4-1) and Relatively Ready (6-1) in money positions.
Running Totals: (283) 86-59-33. Total Dollar Return: $515.80 [win selections only]