Playing Possum Gotham

Living in the megalopolis this winter has been absolutely brutal, same goes for winter racing at NYRA. Aqueduct has once again been dead all week as NYRA cancelled Thursday and Friday racing, but, Saturday offers hope as the weather looks good for racing to resume. Saturday is the biggest day of racing during the Inner Track meet with three stakes, a big pick six carryover and the feature 400k Grade III Gotham Stakes. The field features 10 three year-olds battling for valuable Kentucky Derby points in this prep race for next month’s Wood Memorial.

#4 EL KABEIR is the 8/5 morning line favorite in this race and may go off even shorter than that. To like him (especially at that price), you have to ask yourself a question. Was dueling with #3 CLASSY CLASS (7/2) the reason he lost to Far From Over in the Withers Stakes, who completely stumbled at the start and ran one hell of a race or is it that EL KABEIR is better off going shorter and around one turn? I think it’s the latter; he looks like a 7 furlong/1 turn mile horse to me. Do not get me wrong, I think he’s a good horse and will win some big stakes this summer, but it won’t be going this far and especially around two turns.

The two I’m going to play in this race is CLASSY CLASS and #8 TENCENDUR (8-1). CLASSY CLASS dueled the whole way last time and this race has more speed than the Withers. So jockey Junior Alvarado should let them go and sit a close up third or fourth and make one run around the far turn. He made a nice run like that breaking his maiden last fall at Belmont Park. TENCENDUR is interesting at a price for trainer George Weaver. He finished fourth in the Withers beaten only 4 lengths at big odds. He seems like a classic Weaver horse who keeps improving with each start while moving up in class. He made a nice move in breaking his maiden, then in his next start runs in a stakes race and outran his odds. I would not be surprised if he was to get a piece in this race.

Good Luck!

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