7- RYAN’S CAT- Raced outside when finishing 3rd at this 1x allowance level on a day when rail runners had the clear edge 1/27. Pressed the eventual odds on winner through 4 furlongs, before fading in the stretch in next start at the same level in latest 2/18. Although this horse hasn’t won since running huge in back to back scores here two years ago, it is worth noting that both those wins came when he wasn’t wearing blinkers, with the first of those consecutive wins coming with the blinkers being removed off his previous races, as will be the case today. Should have got some good out of that press and fade race last time out and if he can get back to anything near one of his better races he’ll be a strong threat in here.
7- SOUTHERN DISTRICT- Showed signs of his old self and regaining that good form he once held when running well at Laurel in consecutive races earlier this winter. Returned to NY with a big race at this 3x optional claiming level, where he just missed wiring the field at 1 1/8 miles in latest 2/2. Was claimed by Morley out of that race and he’ll be running him back at the same level, where he is eligible under the 80k optional claiming condition. Will appreciate getting back to the one turn mile trip today, as his two best career races have come in one turn miles at Churchill and Aqueduct. Has gradually moved back in the right direction in his latest three and whether he shows further improvement or simply runs back to his previous race, he’s going to be right in what appears to be a very competitive race.
3- DARK STORM- Likely had a physical issue following his solid 2nd place finish at this 20k claiming level going 1 1/8 miles back in October. Returned after three months to finish well beaten going this one mile distance for 20k once again, while racing outside, against the best part of the track 1/21. Came out of the gate a step slow, but would rush up to set the pace before fading when dropped to a 12.5k claimer at this distance in latest 2/5. Was claimed out of there by a low profile trainer, who has had a few runners run okay of late, and she’ll move him back up to the 20k level today. Should be a big price and there are a lot of question marks with this field. Wouldn’t be surprised to see him wake up with a competitive run in here.