As we’ve stated before, small-field racing, in addition to providing few value opportunities, can be trappy. Jockeys have as much to do with the outcome as the horses. Today’s five-horse preliminary allowance feature at nine furlongs for older horses is a good example.

The three logical horses are, from the rail out, Marital Asset, R J’s Brigade and Tommasi. The rail horse is the most probable winner.

Marital Asset, like many A.P. Indy’s, is late developing, coming into his own this year as a four-year-old. He asserted himself last time out, coinciding with added distance, for which he is suited by pedigree, and the addition of blinkers, which presumably relates to both disposition and relative immaturity.

The March 21 two-turner was only ’Asset’s’ fifth lifetime start. Owning a nice blend of tactical speed and finishing power, his rail position gets him in the game immediately. With sufficient speed signed on despite the lack of numbers here, Eibar Coa should establish himself and sit still until ready. The anticipated payoff would not make anyone rich.

Tommasi will lack position in the early going but his grind-it-out, middle-move style, coupled with his love of the surface (two wins and a second in three career starts) should find him finishing with interest in the late stages. On performance figures, he has consistently proven to be the fastest horse.

R J’s Brigade is the most intriguing. Nearly as fast as Tommasi, trainer Kiaran McLaughlin is adept with the turf-to-dirt move, his horses establishing a lifetime best 31% of the time in that scenario. McLaughlin’s horses have been establishing new tops at an alarming rate during the last three months. R J’s Brigade might prove the value in this small, competitive field.

Would take Marital Asset to win at 6-5 or greater. Exacta part wheel of Marital Asset and R J’s Brigade with Marital Asset, R J’s Brigade and Tommasi, extra ticket with Marital Asset.