Tuesday’s race highlights another OptixPLOT with a “Red” PlotFit. Like the PlotFit last week to assess a vulnerable favorite, that same approach will be utilized here with #3 CONTACT TRACING. Last week the favorite, #6 Vice Cop, was in a more obvious vulnerable position lacking a pace advantage as a Quad III Circle in a “Sun” Contention, a race dominated by the Quad I Runners shown in the OptixRESULT below.
The Plot position as a Quad I/III Square does not look as vulnerable in terms of pace for Tuesday’s 4-5 favorite Contact Tracing, though other handicapping factors suggest some areas of weakness. Form cycle can be tricky to assess as it is not as clear as a “big Square” or a massive speed figure edge; it takes some projection and understanding of why horses run good/bad races.
Contact Tracing will make his third start of the form cycle and has paired up 94 OptixFIG in his most recent starts. Those numbers fit in today’s RANGE, though pairing top speed figures could see regression, and that could be the case here looking at timing. Contact Tracing will be required to run back to those top efforts again in this spot and do so on a shorter 14-day turnaround. He is coming off a PERFECT trip win in that most recent start, a “RED” Keyword with some negative factors going forward. That is not to say he cannot win today – he is capable. Though with those factors that aren’t shown on paper, and as he does project to be a heavy favorite, and with alternatives, the value could land elsewhere.
#4 TRUCULENT could offer value and has form lines similar to Contact Tracing. These two ran in a common race on September 16, both earning a B- OptixGRADE. This will be the first start back since that race for Truculent, and with added recovery, is capable to repeat his OptixFIG if not improve slightly today.
In terms of pace, Surface/Distance suggests Contact Tracing will find pace pressure from #2 J. E.’S HANDMEDOWN and #6 WARRIOR IN CHIEF. Warrior in Chief holds a more favorable position of the Plot of this pair and has been holding his form at a similar class level. Flint showing up here with the circuit change, 52-day freshening and Pedroza aboard, suggest positive intent. Class and distance are still questionable today for J. E.’s Handmedown. Also, going back to a pattern from last year, he used the timing of this meet followed by a break before the Oaklawn Park season, and as an Arkansas-bred, that pattern is likely in play once again. J. E.’s Handmedown is one to follow with that meet starting up in December.
Even with the “Snowflake” Contention, three of the five share that EP RunStyle (and even #5 TRUMPS REVENGE from Quad III and well below at this level could try again to contest the pace) suggesting some early pace pressure which could set up the trip for #1 FINNICK THE FIERCE in Quad II. He has upside as this will be his second start off the layoff and capable to improve off the trip and the return race 16 days ago at Churchill Downs. He can step forward in this spot returning to a faster racing surface and the two-turn distance (Surface/Distance Square), where he has been more effective running both OptixFIG consistently in RANGE and OptixGRADE that stack up in terms of class level.