Surprising lack of real speed in this year's race (only 3 horses have run a Beyer of 100+ more than once). I'd worry they'll try to artificially bump up the speed by making the track hard as hell, but the weather at CD is meant to be fairly wet the next few days (including Saturday), so it may not be a closer's race.
- If CURLIN steals it on such limited racing, he could be a real treat to watch over the next month and a half. He's not my favorite, but it's awful tough to rule him out.
- STREET SENSE looks like a more traditional favorite and should be dangerous, especially if the weather holds, the track is running fast, and the early pace is tough, since he has the speed and stamina to close at the end.
- ANY GIVEN SATURDAY has a great name and can handle the distance, but his jockey chose to ride Circular Quay instead...
- CIRCULAR QUAY is solid, but has had a 2-month layoff, and hasn't run an inspired workout.
- HARD SPUN on the other hand, is coming off an insanely fast workout at CD; on Monday he went 5f in 57 and 3 (for an 11.5-clip). He's had a 2-month layoff as well, but at least he looks sharp. He doesn't come from off the pace, but if the weather is indeed crappy the next few days and the track isn't too hard, I agree w/JK -- he looks to be a really good buy @ 15-1.
- GREAT HUNTER is decent, but I don't see him beating the other contenders, especially not from the 20 hole.
- SCAT DADDY looks good and has only once run out of the money (barely, and in the BC Juvenile, against solid competition), so he could be in the mix.
- NOBIZ LIKE SHOBIZ has the sort of cheesball name I really hate to support pari-mutuelly, but I see him in the mix and at decent odds. He's never run a Beyer over 100, but then again, he's never run less than a 92, and has 4 wins, a place, and a show in 6 starts.
So, not to hedge (but it's Thursday), but if it stays dry at Churchill, I'd go w/Street Sense from off the pace. If it does indeed rain over the next two days, and the pace is slower (or even if the track is sloppy), I like Hard Spun and Nobiz Like Shobiz.
Speaking of which, if you have any weddings to attend, esp for younger folks, consider julep cups as a gift. They sure won't need them, but it is the kind of recondite item in the pantry that suggests actual civilized living. "Juelp cups! They must have eight soup bowls that match! Classy!"