Let’s take a look at each of the top contenders:
The first thing that strikes me about Wild Command is that he’s a frontrunner with a closer’s pace figures. The -9 early speed ration (ESR) that he recorded last time was the fastest of the 10 such figures showing in his past performances and it resulted in a 16 ¼-length drubbing against similar foes. I don’t expect Saturday’s pace scenario to be much easier… or Wild Command’s performance to be much better.
He’s run some good races in the past, including an above-par performance despite racing five-wide on the turn on July 27. True, his last race was a clunker, but the son of Powerscourt (winner of the Arlington Million in 2005 after being disqualified from the top spot in 2004) returns on just eight days rest, indicating that he may be ready to return to his best form.
Love this guy’s last race, although the surface switch from Belmont’s dirt to Arlington’s Polytrack greatly troubles me. Adding to my concern is the fact that Transplendent has run just one good race. Can he win on Saturday? Absolutely. Is he a good bet at 5-2? Absolutely not.
The pace figures tell the story: Not only does Jaguar Ridge have the best overall ESRs in the field, he has the best LSRs (late speed rations) too. What’s more, his last dirt route try was sensational (relatively speaking), featuring a -14 ESR and a -8 LSR.
He’s 5-1 on the morning line; 5-1 on my Win Factor Report… I make him 5-2 and the favorite to win the opening leg of the Pick-6.
Pace Pars for Arlington Park
Sprints: -8 ESR, -11 LSR.
Routes: -10 ESR, -7 LSR.
Sprints: -4 ESR, -1 LSR.
Routes: -2 ESR, -1 LSR.