2017 Manhattan Stakes, Met Mile analysis

Looking at TVG’s generous wagering opportunity for Belmont on Friday and Saturday, I’m choosing two more races on that card to play from. The offer is this: Wager up to $10 to win on any race on Friday and Saturday at Belmont. Only the first such wager counts. If your horse runs 2nd or 3rd, you get your money back.

Here’s how I see the Met Mile, a Grade 1 event for 3YO+.
Top 3 are weak favorite Sharp Azteca, likely wiseguy horse Tommy Macho, and Tom’s Ready. Projected overlays: Virtual Machine (worst at 30-1), and Tom’s Ready.
Tommy Macho won several races first off layoff. Best turn time of the field, and this despite a slight downtick in speed figure (104 to 98, in the Grade 1 Carter at Aqueduct, 4/8).
Tom’s Ready proves to be the live overlay here. Only deep closer of the field, won last year here in the Woody Stephens, and has a few shipping wins.
Virtual Machine I have as 9-1 in my betting line, better than than morning-line of 30-1. Comes out of a 99 BRIS in the Westchester here a month ago, running 2nd all the way. That score is the 2nd of 2 consecutive small new tops.

Next is the Manhattan Stakes, 10 furlongs on Belmont’s turf, at the Grade 1 level, for 4YOs+. Top 3: big longshot Applicator, decently-favored World Approval and Sadler’s Joy. Applicator is the one overlay here. No, he hasn’t won in a year, but here’s why I like him now: best turn time gain (plus lowered speed figure) of the field. Also he’s the lone sprinter of the field. He gained in 2nd call speed between those two races. I have to think he’s built up some stamina for this one.
Sadler’s Joy has all 4 of his wins come in his last 6, including the PanAmerican at Gulfstream on 4/1 (no fooling). Bounced from 103 to 95 last time out in the Man O’ War. Owns the best turf score of the field, a 109, in a Grade 3 event at GP on 1/28. He’s essentially the pure speed of the field and set to bounce back.

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