A lot of attention could land on #1 BIG BIZ as he makes his second start of the meet and finding a considerable class drop in the process. His effort to finish fourth on opening day, January 22nd was “better than looked” as he was taken out of his normal run style by the slow start and ran on late behind the open-length winner. It should be noted that Villafranco had a very strong opening day with multiple winners on the card. This one seemingly well-meant as well and worth keeping in mind as he comes back in just three weeks. This is a more realistic claiming level for Big Biz, however, he could be compromised here in terms of pace. As one that typically races forwardly placed, Quad I/III, and from the rail projects to get back to that EP RunStyle here. With the “Fire” Contention and 50 SpeedRate, Big Biz could be vulnerable late given that potential pace scenario.
#5 MAJOR KONG figures logical here based on his position “squarely” on the Plot and returning to this claiming level following the B- OptixGRADE and show finish on January 29th. There are some alternative price horses to keep in the mix starting with #3 SPIN RATE. He will make his second start of the meet and finding some changes this afternoon. His January 24th effort here was sneaky good, especially late showing a good finish (Close) and capable to Improve as shown in OptixNOTES. The class change is significant for this second start, as is the distance as he makes his first start here around two-turns. If his unknown (diamond) Surface/Distance translates as shown on Standard (Quad II Square), he should find the right pace to make himself competitive here. #4 FOXY ACE also making his second start of the meet and has upside from the race two weeks ago where the rider did not ask (No Push) for much run. The Contention and SpeedRate should assist his RunStyle from Quad IV and presents better value than #6 GEORGIA DEPUTY given the similarities of the two runners.
It is tough to imagine #5 STRIKE THAT will be anywhere near his 5-1 morning line and will let the Past 3 Runlines and OptixPLOT speak for themselves as he seems a stronger contender than #4 SOUL STREIT this afternoon. Soul Streit will step up in class following the three race win streak. He has been able to get “Lone” on the lead and unlikely to give that scenario with #6 TOWN CHAMP in this race; the two layered on top of each other in Quad I. The Contention and SpeedRate should assist #3 NIFTY as he looks well placed this afternoon coming out of the Fifth Season Stakes on opening day returning to the preferred sprint distance. With that said, he still needs pace to close into from Quad IV and that RunStyle has to be factored into the number on the board. #1 IMPRESSED is a bit light stepping up in class this afternoon with his recent OptixGRADE below RANGE. Similar for #2 MADISON’S LUNA, though should note he is capable to pop with a solid race now and again, and often does so when running fresh, keeping that in mind as he returns here from the 85-day layoff.
#1 FROST OR FRIPPERY is going to be a heavy favorite and perhaps #8 RULER OF THE NILE is in position to swing the upset this afternoon. In terms of Frost Or Frippery, he is a solid runner and will make his second start of the meet returning to this condition, the very condition he won at on January 22nd. He is very consistent which is tough to knock; he is shown favorably on the Plot as well as recent OptixFIG in Range. That said, he had to work hard to get the win just three weeks ago and some possible Regression from that effort could be seen here. He might not need to pair efforts in order to win, though with a runner that is expected to be a very short price, any potential vulnerabilities are worth trying to take on.
Ruler of the Nile will have a big test here in terms of distance, a two turn distance, that he lacks a lot of experience at and should be factored into his number this afternoon. With that said there are some positives as he makes his second start of the form cycle, layoff and for trainer Joe Sharp. Some positive intent could be in play as he will wheel right back in 19-days to this starter allowance condition and with a positive rider change with Santana back aboard. There rider change is notable as Santana has been aboard in the past with holds success with this runner. In addition, the Tactic- was noted on January 24th and overall is capable to improve off that trip. His races here from last season, granted the sprint distance, shown below in OptixGRID, stack up with today’s FIGRANGE and on par with Frost Or Frippery.