It’s a little unusual to expect three-year-olds to be successful vs. their elders at this time of the year, a handicapping cliche we’re not afraid to put stock into…but not today.
Today, we are going to opt for the white hot connections of Arnaud Delacour and Daniel Centeno against two older rivals. We’re going to take the first-time gelding Law of the Land (2-1), take the pole position, and take the six pounds he gets from older rivals.
The horse to beat clearly is the well named Empirically (5-2), [Tampa Video Replay JAN 15, RACE 2] the older rival who responded to the addition of blinkers last time, showing more speed than ever had, in fact taking the lead and leading every step except the last few strides. He goes for the Lehrman outift, profitable 19% since 2019.
The clincher is his penultimate start, a two-turn turfer in which he made two moves, saved ground at no point, battled rivals through the stretch and only weakened in the wire’s shadow. And that’s when returning on relatively short rest, not the case here.
After checking the replay, my plan is to bet straight, no price restrictions, make exacta key-boxes with Empirically and Chris Clement ship-in Senator (3-1), an extra ticket with the ‘Empirical’ exacta.