Can Cloud Computing conquer El Areeb in the Gotham?

A field of ten has assembled for Aqueduct’s penultimate prep for the Kentucky Derby; the Gotham Stakes. It’s a Grade III event worth $300,000 and it will be run at 1 1/16th miles on the inner dirt course. The race offers 50 Derby points to the winner down to five points for fourth. Post time for the Gotham, Race 8 on the program, is 4:50 p.m. EST. As always, feel free to check out FanXT’s Daily Fantasy Jockey game!

#4 EL AREEB (6-5, morning-line favorite) holds an edge over this field based on prior accomplishments. He’s won his last four in commanding fashion under Trevor McCarthy, including the Jerome and the Withers over this course in successive months. However, EL AREEB doesn’t tower over these from a speed figure standpoint and may have already “maxed out” with six starts under his belt. Don’t let him beat you, but there’s plenty of opportunity to get creative in the Gotham.

#9 CLOUD COMPUTING (5-1) will be my top pick. The Chad Brown trainee impressed in his debut here, breaking slowly from the rail before making a winning four-wide move under Manny Franco, who maintains the mount. CLOUD COMPUTING has just that race under his belt, a six-furlong sprint no less, but there’s reason for optimism today.

His sire (Maclean’s Music) is somewhat of a wild card, but the grandsire is the highly-accomplished Distorted Humor. CLOUD COMPUTING’s dam, by A.P. Indy, has produced four winners from five starters and offers distance influence too. Finally, Brown is very efficient with horses making their route debut (28%). Look for CLOUD COMPUTING, who gets a seven-pound weight break from the favorite, to sit somewhere near the lead before pouncing late.

#8 SO CONFLATED (8-1), re-routed here after drawing poorly for last week’s Risen Star, has a good shot at landing a share. His route debut in Golden Gate’s California Derby was a winning one, and trainer Doug O’Neill keeps Mario Gutierrez in the saddle. SO CONFLATED also has a win over conventional dirt, albeit through DQ.

The play: $3 exacta box 4/9, $2 exacta 4,9/8, $1 trifecta 4,9/4,9/8 ($12)

DFJ analysis: Irad Ortiz Jr. will be at Gulfstream on Saturday, so that gives his competition at Aqueduct a big opportunity. Manny Franco looks primed for a successful day and has a mount in all nine races. He rides top choice CLOUD COMPUTING in the Gotham and five other horses below 5-1 in odds.

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