The Grade 3 Gotham Stakes doesn’t seem overly tough to figure out. The race contains mostly runners that have been competing at Aqueduct. Favored Overanalyze is probably the most notable exception. He does have a win at Aqueduct, though it was on the main track and not this inner dirt track. That occurred when he took the Grade 2 Remsen there in late fall.
He’s making his first start of the year but with two stakes victories already under his belt and the legendary team of Todd Pletcher and john Velasquez in his corner, he’s likely to be easily up to the challenge, without extending himself too hard.
His main competition is likely to come from the unbeaten Vyjack. All three of his races, all wins, came here. He took the Grade 2 Jerome in his last back in January. Like that he does have that win on the inner track. Not all horses handle it the same way.
If you’re looking for more of a price, consider Escapefromreality. He has only the maiden win to his credit but his two neck losses on the inner track, including in the Grade 3 Whitney, suggests that he could hold his own against this type of company.
It doesn’t seem a Derby prep race goes by anymore without mention of Todd Pletcher’s overwhelming favorite. His favorite in the Gotham, Overanalyze, drew the far outside post with a short run to the first turn. Of course I’ll try to beat him!
I’m interested to see how Cohen decides to ride Escapefromreality, whom has shown speed in all lifetime starts but learned to harness it in the Withers. Only a huge effort from Revolutionary stopped the New-York bred from getting his picture taken, but his affinity for the inner track and cozy post should both help him in this spot. Surprisingly no one in this field appears all that comfortable rallying from far off the pace, so the field may bunch coming around the first turn and cost outside runners valuable ground.
In search of a closer one must look at Sky Captain, who ships in from Florida after deciding against the Fountain of Youth. Orb ran a big race, so this may have been the right move. Sky Captain got a pretty perfect trip last time, but it was his first try around two turns and he did not exactly give up. Given the rounds most of these have gone against each other, he may be ready to swoop in and get a big piece from the outside.
Overanalyze may just outclass the whole crew, but let’s give the tactical advantage to Escapefromreality. The barn had its best year to date in 2012 and is due to hit some luck this year.