02/03/2017 12:30PM

Friday’s TimeformUS Highlight Horse: Cause I’m Alex may benefit most from a projected fast pace

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Aqueduct | Race 8 | Post Time 4:20 p.m. (ET) | Go to the FREE TimeformUS PPs 

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While it attracted a field of only seven, this is a pretty appealing feature race for a Friday on the inner track. You can make a pretty solid case for almost all of the participants. The discussion has to start with the pace, because there are a number of runners in here that prefer to be placed on or near the lead in the early going. Of those, Brimstone and Ryder Road have rarely been successful without the early lead, so something is going to have to give on the front end.

The TimeformUS Pace Projector is predicting a fast and contested pace. Of those likely to be near the front, I prefer Cards of Stone (#3) and Becker’s Galaxy (#4). Trained by Todd Pletcher, Cards of Stone makes his first start in just over eight months after his 3-year-old campaign went south last spring. However, he showed potential on this course last year and is a major player if he can get back into form. Becker’s Galaxy is very logical as he drops in class after contesting two straight New York-bred stakes.

I’ll use both of those runners, but my top pick is one of the few closers in the race, CAUSE I’M ALEX (#2). While I typically shy away from horses based at Finger Lakes, this Jeffrey Englehart trainee has actually run quite well away from that circuit recently. Last time, on Jan. 13, he earned his best speed figure with a better-than-it-appears finish at this level. Jan. 13 was a day that was favoring horses with speed on the rail, and Cause I’m Alex finished third after a wide trip. He’s in career form and will be a decent price here.

THE PLAY
Win/place: 2
Exacta key box: 2 with 3, 4, 6
Trifecta: 2 with 3, 4, 6 with ALL