Today’s feature is for state-breds at a mile and a sixteenths for males on the inner turf course, a “non-winners of 2 other than… optional $30,000 claiming.” You might expect a big field and there is. The bad news is that it’s difficult to make a case for any other than the three early line favorites.

Akebono (3-1) won at this level two back after meeting tougher in a state-bred overnight stakes last time and draws the inside slip for the white hot team of Michael Hushion and Channing Hill. There appears to be sufficient early speed signed on to insure a realistic pace for this late running four-year-old.

Hammock (7-2) is also returning to allowance company after meeting stakes rivals in last. In fact, he been meeting stakes types virtually throughout his lightly raced career and today makes his second start following a lengthy layup. Since his last, Rick Schosberg has drilled him thrice for this, each a good move that was forwardly placed on that day’s worktab. He has good early foot, can kick, and gets a favorable draw toward the inside. Rajiv Maragh replaces Edgar Prado.

Prado lands on Logic Way (4-1), whose both lifetime victories came on Belmont turf and at today’s distance. He’ll be making his second start for Rick Dutrow, who helped the connections earn quick dividends on the barn change last out. He runs late, but did show improved lick in his first start for Dutrow and it’s not surprising Prado takes the re-ride on the Freud four-year-old this afternoon. It will be up to the future Hall of Fame inductee to work out a trip from an outside post.

Taking Hammock to win at 3-1 or greater, keying him in exacta boxes with his main rivals here. Trifecta players can add Couth (6-1) to the mix.

Running Totals: (217) 69-46-24. Total Dollar Return: $427.30 [win selections only] {does not reflect Thursday’s results}