You’ll hear a bunch of handicapping noise the next few days. Everybody is going to have an angle. Yet, racing is deceptively simple. Trying to be too clever causes many bad decisions.
The majority of the result comes down to three questions:
Does California Chrome run his race?
If he does, only Tonalist or an unexpected improvement will get it done. There are, of course, several sub-questions here. Pedigree is huge, but more important is the wear and tear of his third huge race in five weeks, and a campaign that has stretched since December. Heart says yes, brain says to look around.
Can Tonalist duplicate his Peter Pan effort?
There’s the ever-present mud question coming out of the Peter Pan. But this is a very impressive son of Tapit out of a Pleasant Colony mare. I wouldn’t expect to see him on the lead, especially starting from the way outside. A repeat of that effort puts him right there with California Chrome. Wouldn’t be shocked to see him catch Chrome in the final strides.
Most likely, one of the remaining 9 horses will put a career-best effort together. The result of growth, training, and an affinity for the distance. Commanding Curve is getting some buzz in all these regards.