04/28/2017 10:53AM

Friday’s TimeformUS Highlight Horse: A fast pace will help Candid Desire in the Affirmed Success

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Belmont | Race 8 | Post Time 5:13 p.m. (ET) | Go to the FREE TimeformUS PPs

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This field is absolutely loaded with early zip. The Pace Projector is predicting a fast pace, which comes as no surprise given that five horses in the race have Early Pace Ratings that exceed 110. Marriedtothemusic (#2) and Rectify (#3) appear to be the two fastest horses in the early going, and both enter this race in good form. Yet, with so much other speed signed on, I have trouble envisioning either one wiring the field.

The horse to beat is Weekend Hideaway (#13), who won this race last year during a three-win campaign, the apex of which was a solid third-place finish in the Grade 1 Vosburgh last fall. Despite his advanced age, he’s coming off the best season of his career and must be taken very seriously in this spot. However, he also possesses tracking speed, and must avoid getting caught up in a hot pace.

I'm inclined to look at the closers, and the one whom I want the most is CANDID DESIRE (#11).

Candid Desire worked out a great trip when he won the Hollie Hughes two back, closing into a fast pace to just get up for the win over today’s rival Celtic Chaos, who rode a gold rail that day. Candid Desire’s most recent start may seem disappointing at first glance, but that effort was much stronger than it appears. He never had good early position and ended up racing four-wide around the far turn while eventual winner Eye Luv Lulu saved ground down inside. All things considered, Candid Desire may have run the best race of all that day. He's been in stellar form for months and gets a positive rider switch to John Velazquez.

THE PLAY

Win/Place: 11
Exacta Key Box: 11 with 3,4,7,10,13
Trifecta: 11,13 with 11,13 with 1,2,3,4,7,10