There are two added money events to begin the NYRA week and we’ll go with the nominal feature, the eighth race, the Ground Storm and a mile and 70 yards for four-year-olds and up. The six-horse group, including an uncoupled entry, is not every enticing. It appears to be a two-horse battle between probable favorite Stunt Man and potential wakeup Like Now.

Like Now it might be recalled was on the Triple Crown trail briefly for Kairan McLaughlin in 2006 and last year tried the Grade 1 Forego to now available after running off the screen to win a Saratoga allowances. He seems to have fallen on hard times.

Now in the hands of Billy Badgett, he prepped against better in the Paumonok sprinting last time out now stretches out to a two-turn route, which better suits him. Badgett, a profitable 21% effective with horses making their second start for the outfit, clearly has been pointing for this as his route-running and surface preference (3-for-5 on this track) figure to suit him very well. The trainer is pulling out all stops with the switch to Alan Garcia. It’s a matter of whether he is the same horse he was at 3.

There are no such concerns with Stunt Man. He runs his race virtually every time, generally good enough to win, he speed but can stalk from close range, has never finished off the board at this trip and is a multiple inner track winner. The spacing seems to be right here, as Stunt Man returns with 34 days rest, and Ramon Dominguez, aboard for recent starts, accepts the re-ride on the Gray Contessa trainee. Not very interesting but, under the circumstances…

Taking Stunt Man to win, no price restrictions, and an exacta box with Like Now.

Running Totals: (170) 62-37-18. Total Dollar Return: $387.20 [win selections only]