What a terrific field assembled for this GI stakes today! My heart is going to be torn every which way but loose in here because there's so many horses that I have become a fan of.
I love Wise Dan, I love Alternation, I've become a big fan of Nate's Mineshaft and Fort Larned (grandson of Bayakoa), I've always had a soft spot for Mission Impazible, and, though I've had trouble wrapping my heart around him, I absolutely respect Nehro for the hard-knocking horse he is.
Rogue Romance, believe it or not, is showing the early signs this morning of being a wise guy. Big mentioned him in another thread, and he was included in the discussion by Alan Benewitz (sp?) with Thoroughgraph this morning on the radio.
That leaves only one in the field that I haven't yet mentioned, and he's going to be my spot play in this race.....the Big Cap winner Ron The Greek. This horse has maintained really good form since moving to Mott's barn almost 10 months ago. He did turn in his lowest fig since last April in his last outing at Oaklawn when finishing second to one of my heartthrobs, Alternation, in the Handicap there. However, he's been freshened up, showing 5 well-spaced works since that effort. Jose L obviously knows him well, there's a nice helping of speed in here to aid his run from a stalking position, and, most of all, he should be a really nice price for a Santa Anita Handicap winner.
There's no doubt that if the Keeneland polytrack version of Wise Dan (who is also a GI winner on Churchill dirt) shows up today, they're probably all running for second. But I really think Ron The Greek offers quite a bit of value here considering his accomplishments, current form, how he's training up to the race, who's calling the shots, and who's doing the steering. My wagering will depend on what price I get approaching the gate, but I anticipate that I'll be pretty much all in at 5/1 or better.
All that aside, I love so many horses in here that I can't be disappointed in almost any result. I think this is just a fabulous race, and I will enjoy it immensely, win or lose!
Good luck today everybody! May they all come home safely.....everywhere!