This is very likely not going to be a great betting race but it will possibly be the most intriguing race of the weekend. Indian Blessing does not get the respect she deserves in terms of year end award consideration. All the talk is about Music Note and Proud Spell. Jones wrongly believes that the race for the Eclipse is already over, it definitely is not and Indian Blessing still has an outsiders chance at it. This race will be a good solid test for her as the only real vulnerability she has shown is when coming off a layoff and this field is not that easy. I think it's a pipe dream but I would actually like to play Indian Blessing if she's 7/5 or so. She has never lost a sprint and I think her main rival on the board, Sugar Swirl, is a bit of a fraud. The only horse I give a shot to is Zada Belle and the one reason I like her is that she might be able to clear this field and be allowed to dictate the pace. Indian Blessing is being ridden with more caution these days and it might be an opportunity for someone to steal the march. The dangerous thing is that Indian Blessing has the speed if asked. Zada Belle is a very good filly who is on the upgrade. She is not as brilliant as the Baffert speedster but I think she's a near lock to hit the exacta. So I'll be looking for Indian Blessings price to drift but if not I'll be focused on the Indian Blessing/Zada Belle exacta with perhaps a small saver reversed.
I'm not sure why I'm repeatedly drawn to races that contain Macho Again but here we are. He's been a bit of a thorn in my side as I've consistently had problems figuring out when he's set to do his best. The pattern seems to be that if I select him he runs poorly and if I don't he turns in a career best. Obviously the horse doesn't care what my opinion of him is but I've always wanted to contend that despite results that suggest the contrary this horse is really at his best below a mile. I don't trust him going long and here once again he's going two turns. But unlike in previous efforts here he will be favored so it might finally be the day where I get my money's worth by opposing him. I think the horse to beat is most definitely Forest Command. He is untested and he's got a bad post but he could easily be a horse who is on a different level from these. Ward's string really came alive at Saratoga and this horse might have the brightest future of any in his barn. The stretch out is a slight question as is the jump in class but I think he'll deal with both. A longshot I also like quite a bit is Stungbythestorm. Not only is his name completely suitable for a big race winner in Louisiana but he's set for a big effort. Despite below par speed figures this horse is actually pretty good. He prefers dirt to polytrack and his only loss on the real stuff came at the hands of Denis of Cork. Injury has blighted him since the spring but his comeback race was encouraging enough to see connections step him way up in class. He broke decently and was sent near the front but the horse directly to his inside never moved closer to the rail. He wound up going about 8 wide around the first turn. Couple that with the long layoff from injury and a surface that is not his favorite and it was too much to overcome. Now he gets down inside and should be perfectly placed to closely stalk the pace. He'd have to improve massively by the numbers to win but remember, the last time he ran on dirt he was breaking his maiden in January. It's highly likely that he's come on for that effort and is capable of much more.