But wouldn’t you know it? The most probable winners are the two early line choices: the Saeed bin Suroor entry of Mathematician and Palace Episode at 3-1 and the early line favorite Giant Basil, at 9-5.
Each half of the entry has merit. Mathematician raced as if needing his recent return from a long layup. It came sprinting in a restricted stakes. Today’s class drop, coupled with a stretch to a more suitable distance, the pole position and Garrett Gomez are compelling reasons to expect improvement. Bin Suroor is 2-for-5 with his U.S. stretchouts, with two others landing a share.
Palace Episode was a Group 1 winner in Europe at 2 but raced only once last season and now makes his 4-year-old debut. Obviously he must have issues. But know that the barn is 38 percent effective with horses returning from long layoffs and 39 percent with shippers to the states. First time Lasix can’t hurt.
Giant Basil, however, is the deserving choice. He ran to his late pedigree when earning a superior performance figure in his first start for Bobby Frankel, and was wisely given 58 days recovery time. By definition he’s the fastest horse, attracts turf ace Edgar Prado, and has been working great locally since that big Hollywood effort, particularly his last half-mile breeze. By Giant’s Causeway, out of the multiple stakes winning turf mare Verbasle, this colt could be anything.
Taking Giant Basil to win at 3-2 or greater, and an exacta box with either or both members of the bin Suroor entry.
Running Totals: (49) 25-9-9 Dollar Return: $147.40 [win selections only]