Pacey Sotomayer expected to deliver
SOTOMAYOR got the cobweb out of his system, on his third try off a seven-month lay-up, scoring a comfortable victory at a mile on 1000 Guineas Day, a week-and-a-half ago, beating non-winners-of-three like an out-of-class horse.
Having hardly broken a sweat, virtually making all to post 1:40.1, the grey gelding should have no issue with a swift return, nor should a step-up in weight, nine pounds, stop the four-year-old, last year’s Derby runner-up to SHE’S A MANEATER.
A top-level claiming race, $850,000-$750,000, also open to four-year-olds, non-winners-of-four, the event allows younger horses - SOTOMAYOR, SIMPLY OUTRAGEOUS and BIBLICAL LEGEND, UNCLE VINNIE and RADICAL – to race without claim tags.
SOTOMAYOR easily beat the trio of SIMPLY OUTRAGEOUS, UNCLE VINNIE and BIBLICAL LEGEND going a mile, 10 days ago, and should have no problem putting them away again at the distance over which he has won twice, including his famous Jamaica Two-Year-Old Stakes victory against SHE’S A MANEATER in December 2016.
The possible threat to SOTOMAYOR lurks among the older horses, Fitzroy Glispie’s nine-year-old, TIMEFORARMS, the country’s most dangerous overnight allowance stayer. A mile-chute specialist, TIMEFORARMS showed his versatility at a distance of ground by easily beating non-winners-of-an-overnight-allowance at nine furlongs and 25 yards on 2000 Guineas Sunday.
Coming off a strong finish for second place behind DYSFUNCTIONAL at eight and a half furlongs, two weeks prior, TIME FOR ARMS swooped down on long-time leader JAMAI RAJA at the top of the lane and powered home by five lengths.
The last time he contested a high-claiming race, TIMEFORARMS outclassed SECRET TRAVELLER over his signature mile, clocking a decent 1:39.2. However, a race-fit SOTOMAYOR is far better than SECRET TRAVELLER on any given day. After shockingly losing to UNCLE VINNIE at nine and 25 on his second race back, SOTOMAYOR returned extremely sharp and pulled off his first gate-to-wire win, posting 1:401.1 for a mile.
Though TIMEFORARMS has a faster mile, 1:39.2, compared with SOTOMAYOR’s 1:40.1, the pace shows the younger horse with a far better six-furlong split, 1:11.4, as opposed to 1:13.3, a call which would have dismantled his older rival.
Whereas TIMEFORARMS strength is in the latter stage of his races, SOTOMAYOR’s pace will have him too far ahead coming off the home turn for the oldstager to wear him down.