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The Conscience of Thoroughbred Racing

WIDE OPEN McKAY CLASSIC

The centerpiece of Jim McKay Maryland Million Day has conditions handicappers don’t see every day. Eleven drew into the body of the race but three Also Eligibles are the class of this group. They can draw in, with stipulations:

“Registered Maryland-Breds will draw in off the also-eligible list based on the following preferences: 1). Total earnings based on race specific surface (Turf/Dirt) since October 21, 2018; 2). Total earnings since October 21, 2018.”

If any of the three AEs draw in, they could go favored and easily win: Two of the three are faster than those in the body, a third, Bonus Points, has demonstrated winning class. However, note that if Cordmaker draws in he will lay over the group on the Thoro-Graph scale.

Absent that, Clubman (2-1) is a deserving favorite. Though winless at the trip, he was third in the 10-furlong G3 Pimlico Special, beaten 5-1/4 lengths. He has a strong late kick but one that requires perfect timing, according to Julien Pimentel, who has ridden him to three victories on the year.

However, we will focus on price shot Tappin Cat (10-1). Untested at the distance but with solid bottom-side route pedigree, he handles this surface, reunites with favorite partner Jorge Ruiz and trainer Gary Capuano, having a profitable 2019, is 18% effective stretching out off back-to-back sprints.

The top choice is Torch of Truth (6-1) claimed by Jamie Ness and showed improvement immediately. Ness raised him confidently while making a two-turn debut and scored. He stretched out further in his Laurel return and was second following gate trouble and a premature run. He, too, has bottom-side distance blood and late-run style suits today’s dynamics.

We’re taking Torch of Truth to win at 4-1 or greater, an exacta box with Tappin Cat, and sprinkling favorite Clubman; Forest Fire (6-1); Trifor Gold (15-1) and Saratoga Bob (9-2) into the superfecta mix.

YESTERDAY: We were a little concerned about the added sixteenth for Blowout and that turned out to be the difference. Brilliantly rated, she was in command throughout but failed to say those final few steps; second.

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