Keen Ice, last years winner of the Suburban Handicap
The 2018 Suburban Handicap has drawn a topnotch group of eleven older horses to fight it out in what promises to be a very contentious race. Three of the players are coming out of this years Brooklyn Handicap at a mile and a half run on June 9th at Belmont and won by Hoppertunity.
This race will not be anything like the Brooklyn, however, and that race will not be much help in ferreting out the winner here. The Brooklyn was run at the dawdling pace associated with most European grass marathons where everyone waits, and waits, and waits, and waits for a mile and an eighth, then they run as fast as they can for the last three eighths. The presence of Dr. Dorr, Diversify, and Discreet Lover ensure a much more legitimate pace in this years Suburban.
Let's look at the field.
1. Name Changer
Has won two in a row against much weaker. His last few forays into Graded Stakes competition have been disasters. No thanks!
2. War Story
He set the snail like pace in the Brooklyn, but was unable to hold off Hoppertunity late. The pace here will be much faster and I have trouble seeing him winning after that cave in the Brooklyn. He's a nice horse. All those losses against Gun Runner, who was the best horse in training at the time, are no knock, but how does he work out a winning trip with all the speed in here?
Okay, here's where I get a little crazy. He was beaten by Discreet Lover in a considerably softer field, he's never done anything against this caliber, and appears too slow, so he's a throw-out, right? Not so fast! He has a nice stalking style, is in light, and seems to be sitting on a race. I keep coming back to him. It would be a huge upset, but I'm using this horse.
I would completely throw out his last. It was a very fast race at less than his optimum distance, yet he still rushed into contention during the fastest part of the race. He gets a distance more to his liking here and will take a ton of beating. I like him a lot.
5. Dr. Dorr
It all depends on the front end. There is no way he is getting the front from Diversify. Even if he were somehow able to speed pop them, won't Diversify and Discreet Lover make him work too hard early? I just can't see him taking them the whole mile and a quarter. No thanks.
6. Discreet Lover
He used to have the speed that would allow him to run with these early, but I don't know where it went. Gone with the wind that swept through Georgia I guess. His old get up and go got up and went. No thanks.
7. Take Your Guns
His last race in the Brooklyn was deceptive. It was worse than it looks. They were all out there for a stroll, so he managed to stay in contention, but if you can't stay in contention after six furlongs in 1:15, it's hard to call yourself a racehorse. No thanks.
He is the obvious class (he's won almost $5 million) and will be the probable public choice, but I don't see this race setting up for him very well. They will be going faster than he wants to go early and trying to stay in range will rob him of his best closing punch. I think he is worth taking a stand against. I think his Brooklyn win was over rated and his three before that were nothing to write home about, so I'm passing.
Sorry Erik might as well be Sorry Charly. How can he beat these horses?
If there is a wire to wire winner in this race, you are looking at him. He figures to clear and slow it down. If Dr. Dorr gets rambunctious, he may sit off of him and take over later. He will most certainly be around at the end and has every right to win it.
11. The Lieutenant
This tour of duty may be a little more hazardous than the all weather at Golden Gate. He may be able to close a little better here than on that runway at Santa Anita, but the lieutenant is likely to get demoted.
There you have it. I'm thinking Tapwrit, Diversify, and Zenotti (maybe it's the heat). If Zenotti can work his way into the top three, it would be a grand slam for me!
Good luck to everyone who is playing!