TVG Expert: Britney Eurton
1. KING FOR A DAY
2. TOP LINE GROWTH
3. TRIFOR GOLD
MONEY BACK SPECIAL: TRIFOR GOLD
The Sir Barton Stakes goes as race 3 on an absolutely jam packed day of racing at Pimlico on Preakness Day. Named after the first Triple Crown winner, the ungraded race for three year olds came up a little light this year. Plenty of local flavor and good stories to root home, but tough to find a price.
It’s not easy to get around the top two morning line choices in TOP LINE GROWTH and KING FOR A DAY. Based off experience and the company lines, I’ll give KING FOR A DAY the edge. He showed talent from the start, but really put it all together when routing for the first time at Belmont just two starts back. A horse he beat that day, Kentucky Wildcat, came back to win and then finish 2nd in the Sam F. Davis. He didn’t disgrace himself jumping into stakes competition for the first time right after that, but clearly something went amiss after his 4th place finish as he was sent to the sidelines. Six months later he returns, and although others have a recency edge, Pletcher is never one I question off layoffs (23%). He appears to be training steadily into this race, is versatile, and doesn't have any world beaters to tackle. The biggest knock? His price.
What TOP LINE GROWTH lacks in experience he makes up for in talent. The Maryland bred was protected in a maiden claiming race on debut and absolutely romped. He was only facing five other horses and got an easy lead, but the time was good and his Thorograph and Beyer speed figure is on par if not better than most of the field. That being said, I’m always a little reluctant to back a second time starter that ran so well first time out. More often than not, those horses won’t be able to completely replicate that debut right back and furthermore, he has yet to prove he can sit off other horses which he might need to do with the speed to his inside. The talent is there, but there are a few points making him tough to trust on the win end.
We need to find some value now. For me, that comes in the form of TRIFOR GOLD. Trainer Mark Shuman added the blinkers two starts ago and they’ve definitely helped this horse finish. He finished second, albeit well beaten, last out behind Preakness contender, Alwaysmining, but was clear of the third place finisher, Bozzini. I love tactical horses turning back and if with even one more step forward, as he appears to be trending, he could definitely create some noise at a price.
Best of luck with all of your wagers on Preakness weekend!
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