This year's Gotham features a budding superstar from the West Coast and several other very nice horses and could be a little more contentious than most people think. Lets look at the field.
1. Family Biz
He's zero for three against lesser this year and this seems like an awfully ambitious spot. He will be sitting at the back of the pack in here so I suppose he could pass one or two of the tiring speeds in the stretch. I think he should be running in allowance races. There is nothing in his record that suggests he could win this. No thanks.
2. Knicks Go
He got good at the right time last year winning the Grade 1 Breeders Futurity at Keeneland and following that up with a second in the Breeders Cup Juvenile. His two subsequent efforts have been dismal. Two speed and fade efforts in the Kentucky Jockey Club and the Sam F Davis.
There is some serious speed signed on here and I simply cannot see him getting clear. He has the back class, but the race doesn't figure to set up right for him. No Thanks.
3. Mind Control
If anyone can deal with Instagrand early, this is the one. He really only had one bad race. He had a nightmare trip in the Juvenile and finished far back.
In many ways, he is the key to the race. If he can make Instagrand run a hard 5/8ths, the race opens up a little. If not, Instagrand is probably down the road. There is also the possibility that he clears Instagrand and that would give him a big chance to win. He is a contender.
4. Much Better
He's another speed who will be mixing it up early with Mind Control and Instagrand. Baffert always works his horses fast so his fast workouts are not necessarily as significant here. His only chance is to clear early and wire them and that is asking a lot. I do think we have the possibility of a three horse duel on the front and that makes me like Instagrand less.
This is the horse who will most benefit from a very fast pace and I think he will get one here. He should sit well behind them early, but he will be passing horses in the lane. He's stepping up in class here, but he has yet to run a bad race.
If we get the 3 or 4 horse duel on the front that I anticipate, he has a great chance in here. He is my pick to win!
He has certainly done nothing wrong this far with two straight ten length blowout wins. His last was a grade 2 in the Best Pal so you know he has class. Still there are a few questions.
Where has he been? Gone for seven months after those blowout wins and training hard since December for the Gotham? Shipping across the country for a one mile race? I guess they see this as a soft spot, but there is legitimate front end speed in here. If he scoots down the road I'll be embarrassed, but I'm betting the 5. I'll be using him underneath only.
7. Not That Brady
He has legitimate front end speed, but I think he will sit off the speedsters in here and that gives him a big chance. He's a NY bred so his odds will be higher than they should be. He's a contender and I will definitely be using him on all my tickets.
8. Tikhvin Flew
Another of the early front runners in this race who will be compromised by his outside draw. I can't see him keeping up with all the speed to his inside and he's certainly not going to close. No thanks.
I see this as a very interesting race. I know the conventional wisdom will be Instagrand, but I have a few doubts about him. I'm betting the 5 to win. I'll use 3-6-7 underneath in the exotics. If you're looking for a real bomb for your superfectas, the 1 is not a bad option. Good luck to all who are playing!