PHILLY SPECIAL appears to be improving with experience and shades the vote ahead of the consistent Florado and More Good Times, the latter of whom shaped with promise when fourth at Tampa recently.
TIME TO TWO STEP took a step in the right direction when third over 6f here last time and promises to be suited by this step up in trip. Signing Bonus (third) holds Music City Wolf (sixth) on their recent course encounter and is the one expected to put up most resistance.
Island Tap is a model of consistency and could be tough to keep out of the frame, though preference is for VITA DOLCE, who rattled the crossbar over C&D latest and wouldn’t need to find much improvement in order to go one better. Sovereign Warrior is no forlorn hope for a place.
Consilium and Blip have been knocking on the door and are capable of making their presence felt, though preference is for PURECRAZIDUDE, who kept on strongly for second over the extended 6f here last time and promises to be suited by this stiffer test.
STARSHIP APOLLO built on some fine efforts in defeat to score last time and Juan Avila’s seven-year-old can follow up here. Valdocco went close recently and is respected, with the consistent Desert General another to note.
Rodolphe Brisset’s $600,000 purchase FREEDOM FORCE picked up a silver medal when making a pleasing debut last month and could have more to come here. Shaw was third on that occasion and could have improvement in the locker, while Quick Step Ed has some decent form in the book and is another to note.
Flawless Bourbon impressed when scoring in May last year and is of real interest on his reappearance, while Golden Tapit was a winner last month and makes plenty of appeal. However, Todd Pletcher’s BOURBON IN MAY could be the one to beat here and looks ready to return to winning ways having rattled the crossbar on both outings so far this year.
FORTUNE COOKIE was a fine third in a stronger track-and-trip event latest and this drop in class could result in a ninth career success. Storm Advisory wasn’t too far behind the selection in fourth that day and warrants respect, while Hard Belle and Champagneonme are just a couple more with claims.
COMPENSATE has won three of her last four starts, her defeat coming in Grade 3 company over 7f, and she could strike again. There are plenty of potential dangers, however, including Take Charge Eh, who was an impressive 7f winner latest, and Wesley Ward’s returning Foolish Humor.
MUSTN’T GRUMBLE stepped up on her promising debut (6f) performance when finishing fast to score over 5f at Woodbine and, likely to improve further for stepping back up in trip, she looks sure to go close. I Dare U goes the other way in distance and holds solid claims, while Reagan’s Edge, a nine-length debut scorer, could be anything at this stage.
Rockcrest and Another Miracle already have stakes wins under their belts, while Aye Aye Sir saw off Cajun Casanova over track and trip, but they may lack the quality of GUILDSMAN. The son of Wootton Bassett was a smart juvenile for Archie Watson last year and can get his American career off to a flyer.
It was less than a year ago that TIZZARUNNER was beaten only four lengths in a Grade 2 at Santa Anita and if he can run to anywhere near that level, he won’t need to be at peak fitness to make a successful comeback. Bondurant, Philo and Differential are his primary threats.