Let’s see if we can a couple of these at least in the money.
BRIGANTIN (Marathon) – This horse is just getting warmed up at 1 15/16 miles and has the class to finish third in the Ascot Gold Cup, but has also won at a mile and mile and a quarter. The first inclination is to say he has too much stamina for a 1 ¾-mile race in the U.S. and will probably just plod around there. But he gets Julien Leparoux and his sire, Cozzene, was a great miler and one of the classiest and most versatile sires in the world. Cozzene won the BC Mile 26 years ago.
MEEZNAH (Marathon) – Also have to mention her out of this race, because she seems a bit high at 12-1, considering she is a top-quality filly in Europe and stays any distance; it seems the farther she goes the better. She’s definitely worth a wager at that price.
AIKENITE (Sprint) – More to hit the board at 8-1. He’s carrying excellent flesh, and just needs a red-hot pace to enable him to close and get into the exotics. Distance is short for him and he doesn’t have the speed to compete with most of these, but can see him coming late and making his presence felt.
CARACORTADO (Turf Sprint)– He really doesn’t fit on here because he’s only 4-1 on the morning line, but although the distance appears to be too short for him as well, this is a better horse than most people think, and he’s extremely versatile as far as distance. Just mentioning him as a horse to include in your exotics at better price than 4-1.
TAPIZAR (Dirt Mile) – This was as impressive a horse as we saw on the Derby trail before he got hurt and his first race back indicated he has not lost a beat, winning comfortably in 1:21 1/5 for seven furlongs. It’s a tough task throwing him into a race like this, but we really don’t know how good this horse is, so he may be worth the risk to find out at 20-1.
OPTIMIZER (Juvenile) – Don’t like his post, but am committed to him after his big effort in the Breeders’ Futurity when still obviously green. His female family is a Who’s Who of Phipps family grade I winners and traces to champion Lady Pitt. This horse should improve on dirt and has the ability to make his presence felt.
TAKE CHARGE INDY (Juvenile) – This is our megabomb special in the Juvenile at 30-1. His fourth in the Breeders’ Futurity was solid enough, but we’re looking for him to show big improvement on the dirt. He also worked well at Churchill Downs and we feel he could surprise a lot of people, even though this Juvenile is one of the toughest ever. The unknown factor here is Daddy Long Legs, who is very highly regarded by Ballydoyle.
MR. COMMONS (Mile) – He may be in over his head, especially being a 3-year-old, but we just love watching this horse run and we feel there is tremendous room for improvement. He has really taken to the grass and moves over it beautifully. At 20-1, he certainly could pick up a piece of it.
RULER ON ICE (Classic) – Have to admit we have not heard his name mentioned once this entire week. All we know is that he’s a Belmont winner, he came home his last three-eighths in :35 3/5 in the Pennsylvania Derby and was closing fast from far back while giving 10 pounds to Honor and Serve. Big difference is that To Honor and Serve is 12-1 and being talked about by many, while he’s 30-1 and virtually invisible. It’s also worth noting he threw a shoe in the Travers Stakes, where he finished fourth, the only time all year he’s finished worse than third. Garrett Gomez, who won the Classic last year, seems to fit him well. If he can duplicate his effort in the Pennsylvania Derby he should be coming fast at the end.
We also want to mention that Rattlesnake Bridge (30-1) has made a great impression since arriving on Wednesday and is still a work in progress. Who knows when he’s going to bust out and put it all together? From a personal standpoint, we’ve made it known how we feel about Stay Thirsty (12-1) and we’ll have to put at least a saver on him, especially the way he’s been training the past week.
Also, one American Turf (gr. IT) horse who is very sharp and training well is Brilliant Speed. If he can get the mile and a half, he could at least break up a five-horse European sweep and prove a good representative for the U.S.