By Mike Watchmaker
Shadwell Turf Mile
There are many options in this fun betting race, but with the presence of the speedy Voodoo Song in the lineup my thinking is to look for a horse who can sit and pounce. Voodoo Song likes to hear his feet rattle, and he might not catch the sort of firm footing he seems to prefer. In any case, he figures to compromise the chances of the accomplished Heart to Heart, who isn’t as formidable when he’s denied an uncontested early lead.
Almanaar, a narrowly beaten second most recently in the Arlington Million, can certainly close. But while I don’t mind him cutting back in distance, one mile might actually be too short for him.
Qurbaan, winner of the Bernard Baruch in his U.S. bow; Synchrony, winner of two straight stakes; and Divisidero, compromised by a slow pace last time in the Woodbine Mile, also fit the bill as closers, but I wonder if they are good enough.
Even if he is a 3-year-old meeting older opponents, I like Analyze It. Analyze It went longer distances in the Secretariat, Belmont Derby, and Pennine Ridge in his last three starts, and the fact that he was a narrowly beaten second in all of those stakes (two to subsequent Travers winner Catholic Boy) shows just how good he really is.
I say that because I’ve always felt Analyze It is, at heart, a miler. He was positively freakish winning his first three career starts at middle distances, including an overwhelming score on the Keeneland course in the Transylvania over off going, and I like that he has a stalking style that should give him first jump on the deeper closers.