12/31/2016 12:21PM

Saturday’s TimeformUS Highlight Horse: Grumpelstiltskin’s debut was better than it appears

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Aqueduct | Race 3 | Post Time 1:20 p.m. (ET) | Go To The TimeformUS PPs 

Rudy Rodriguez holds a strong hand in this race. The morning-line favorite is Miggsy (#6), who put in a strong effort in his debut, making a midrace move around the turn before flattening out in the stretch. While he finished a decent second that day, he did work out a perfect trip, so you have to wonder how much he can move forward off that effort.

I actually prefer his stablemate Condo Prince (#3), who has never run a poor race in any of his three dirt starts. His race at Saratoga on Aug. 20 was better than it appears after he encountered some trouble coming through along the inside. Next time out, he showed a new dimension, racing on the front end, and the addition of blinkers today suggests they’ll try to employ similar tactics again. It is somewhat odd that they tried the turf last time with a horse who appears to have a bright future racing on the dirt. Nevertheless, he’s the horse to beat.

However, neither of these runners is going to offer much value, and there is another horse in this race who may be just as good and is likely to get overlooked in the wagering.

GRUMPELSTILTSKIN (#5) is a perfect example of the difference between speed figures based on pace – TimeformUS Figures – and speed figures based on raw final times – Beyer Speed Figures, for example. If you’re just looking at final times, Grumpelstiltskin’s debut was slow, earning just a 57 Beyer, which is some 20 points below those of his rivals Condo Prince and Miggsy. On the other hand, his TimeformUS Speed Figure, which accounts for the fact that this horse set one of the fastest paces of the inner-track meet (note the pace color-coded red in TimeformUS PPs), was an impressive 103. That number is higher than both Condo Prince or Miggsy has ever run.

Grumpelstiltskin forced the pace to collapse in that race, and he is likely to move forward off that effort if the early fractions are more moderate on Saturday. He’s the one I want at what figures to be a much more generous price than what you’ll get on the two aforementioned favorites.

THE PLAY

Win/Place: 5
Exacta Key Box: 5 with 3,6,7