by Dick Jerardi
November 1, 2017
FOLLOW THE BIG BEYERS
by Dick Jerardi Philadelphia Daily News & Daily Racing Form
ANALYSIS: A reasonable case could be made that we have the strongest field in the history of this race which began on a very rainy Friday at Monmouth Park in 2007. There will be Grade I winners and millionaires, all about the starting gate so this should be quite competitive. MOR SPIRIT’s Met Mile win was one of the most impressive races run anywhere in 2017. If he comes back to that 117 Beyer, he wins. If not, and he does not show as much early speed, SHARP AZTECA, fast enough to battle for the lead in last winter's 7-furlong, one-turn Malibu, may have a serious tactical edge as the speed of the speed.
MAIN CONTENDERS: MOR SPIRIT has run a flat mile three times and won them all easily by more than 16 lengths. SHARP AZTECA is a one-mile specialist, with five wins, a second and a third at the distance. His last five races in America have produced Beyer figures of 106 or better each time. PRACTICAL JOKE loves those one-turn races, going 5-for-5. He is 0-for-5 at two turns and this will be a two-turn Mile. The 3-year-old may also just not be fast enough to compete with his elders. ACCELERATE loves Del Mar, with three wins and a third in four starts, but his races in the San Diego and Pacific Classic were the two best of his life, making him a potential bounce candidate. CUPID only has one race that is good enough to win this and that was at a mile and a quarter in the Gold Cup, but the price will be right and if there is a pace meltdown, this could be the horse going best at the finish.
VALUE PLAYS: IRON FIST is very likely to get overlooked in the wagering and trainer Steve Asmussen has a penchant for having horses ready to run big in this race.
WAGERING STRATEGY ($100):