In the Withers, it will be Bay Shore winner J Be K against the world..er..three horses. With a 50 percent chance of showers Friday night and Saturday and the promise of a at least a damp surface, J Be K’s speed will be hard to run down. But if anyone can, Harlem Rocker is an intriguing prospect. Two-for-two in career, his last was a fast reversal of energy with a competitive figure. Meanwhile, his uncoupled Todd Pletcher mate, Face The Cat, is much better than he showed in Florida Derby. And J Be K is no Big Brown.
The Beaugay should be least effected by damp/wet conditions and it’s extremely doubtful the race comes off the turf. Three of the five can win: Sweet Ransom (3-1), Factual Contender (4-1) and Criminologist (9-5).
The latter two fillies are the most accomplished. Criminologist is a dual G3 winner and was an excellent second in her season’s debut at Keeneland; a too late-finishing second on yielding ground at a mile. That’s a tough go, moreover, she’s always been better in her second start following a layoff.
Factual Contender won four restricted/overnight stakes in a busy campaign and earns the highest figures of the group consistently. Barclay Tagg has had her in training since February and she’s highly unlikely to be a short filly for today’s race. Eibar Coa, who rides today, was aboard for all four of those aforementioned wins.
But Sweet Ransom has the most upside as a newly turned four-year-old. She was a fast-closing second in the G3 Frances “You’ve Won the Derby” Genter going 7-½ furlongs at Calder--not the easiest trip for any later runner. She owns enough tactical speed to track lone speedster, draws the pole, switches to big-money turf ace Edgar Prado, and Bill Mott is a 24 percent profitable with returnees of 90 days or more. Her two lone wins and one placing have come from four starts at today’s distance.
Taking Sweet Ransom to win at 5-2 or greater and keying her first and second in exactas with her main rivals here.
Running Totals: (199) 65-43-22. Total Dollar Return: $405.60 [win selections only]