The greatest NX1 ever run? The only thing missing from today’s featured ninth race in South Florida for three-year-old colts going one mile is a name that precedes the race conditions.
This is a stakes quality event that might provide hints as to Derby possibilities but without a chance for the winner to earn any qualifying points for his efforts.
Among the contenders in this eight-horse slugfest are an uncoupled pair from the Pletcher barn, Litigate (4-1) and early line favorite Rudder’s Men (2-1), and impressive Saffie Joseph-trained surface and trip winner Mr. Ripple (5-2).
Further, class dropper Cyclone Chief (5-1) and the Shug McGaughy debut-winner Talk of the Nation (8-1) just adds more class to the fray. These trainers must be thinking this is a preliminary allowance event but what have I gotten myself into?
Visually we probably were most impressed by Rudder’s Men (Aqueduct, OCT 22, Race 6) who blew his race wide open before being eased in the final sixteenth, winning as Irad pleased. Repeat, probably.
But we’re going to opt for the Joseph-trained Mr. Ripple who might offer better value in the face of the Pletcher pair and with a win over the track at today’s one mile trip.
Just to make it even more fraught, all major contenders add first-Lasix. Taking Mr. Ripple to win at 5-2 or greater. As to the four other contenders listed here, exotically speaking, you’re on your own!