This field is not as deep as prior runnings of this event have been. It's been getting progressively weaker since the days of dirt racing have ceased. Still there exists a feeling that a good horse could emerge from this race. Synthetics encourage more and more turf horses to take shots at traditional main track stakes and it makes the form somewhat muddled and adds another variable into the mix. The main reason I like this race is because I happen to dislike the chances of Azul Leon, Pioneerof the Nile and Chocolate Candy. I figure if I'm right and all of those horses prove to be good ones to bet against the winner must offer a little bit of value. The problem with Azul Leon is that he isn't a two turn horse, I expect him to menace but falter. The problem with Pioneerof the Nile and Chocolate Candy is that they're too slow. I honestly don't think they're quick enough to deal with the Turf horses or even some of the lesser lights like Ventana, Frumious and I Want Revenge. Use of the DRF Variant's and Beyers lately have changed the way I quantify speed. According to my numbers the fastest main track horses seem to be Frumious, Ventana and I Want Revenge. I'm tempted to use all three in some way. I also like the three US Turf horses. I don't care for Axel Foley I think he's markedly inferior to all the European juveniles we saw at the Breeders' Cup. So that leaves me with six horses that I wouldn't mind betting on top. Mr Rod is a real danger because his stable has a habit of getting hot horses in the winter and carrying that momentum right into the spring. In the last few years Brother Derek and Daytona have both gone on big winning streaks and their profiles seemed much the same as Mr. Rod's. The only difference here is that we get a surface switch and perhaps it was turf that woke him up in the first place. He's too dangerous to leave out but he won't be my primary. Hype was poorly ridden last time out and should definitely improve if he's ridden to make one run. The problem with him is that one run closers have not done as well at Hollywood so I'll drop Hype but I'll be bummed if he beats me. Bittel Road is perhaps the classiest horse in the race aside from Azul Leon. He's got good size and power for a youngster and looks like the type who should take to synthetics. A mile on the grass plays into the hands of the quick while extended distances, especially on the main track, play more into the hands of the powerful. Pletcher doesn't have much for the main track this coming year, Bittel Road may be his best shot. Now back to the main track horses. I think Frumious is the fastest horse in the race and if Mr Rod wasn't in the race he might be my single but with the presence of other legitimate speed I'm wary. In the interest of not simply taking six horses to win I'll use the hot Mr Rod, the classy Bittel Road and the underdog Ventana. Ventana might go completely unnoticed in this race because of his high profile stablemate Pioneerof the Nile but Baffert has always thought highly of his talents and I think he's crying out for two turns. The Champagne was simply a disaster and his next two starts were spent chasing sprinter types. He managed avoid embarrassment and grind out moderate results but he's bred to go longer and I think Baffert has him geared to do so.