First, an apology. Picking Visionaire to win Sunday’s Jerome over Tale of Ekati, was an inexcusable rookie mistake, and I’m too old to make rookie mistakes. But with recent selections in a Wall Street free fall, handicapping confidence, like consumer confidence, is still a struggle. So, now, in the words of Fast Eddie Felson, no more playing it safe, especially since so many of our choices have failed to reach price criteria.

The key to today’s preliminary allowances/$50,000 starter group at a mile and a sixteenth on the turf will be the ground, which figures to be significantly less than firm. One of the entrants that will relish the footing, if his Equiform figures are a measure, is Forever My Friend (12-1), reuniting with apprentice Sebastian Morales, who’s ridden the three-year-old gelding effectively before.

Having drawn a favorable inside slip, he goes postward for Richard Stoklosa, whose turf runners for a career are a flat-bet profit despite 12 percent efficiency, meaning his runners routinely outrun odds. The fact this horse got a “vanned off” comment following his last will insure a big price. Forever My Friend came back to work a half-mile one week after his last race and surely will be closely inspected by the examining veterinarian.

Taking Forever My Friend to win at early line odds of 12-1 or greater and keying him in all money positions in the multiple pools with Titan of Industry (7-2), Dancing Tin Man (3-1) and Excellent Soldier (8-1).

Running Totals: (288) 86-61-33 Total Dollar Return: $515.80 [win selections only]