Retired jockey Richard Migliore, who works as a racing analyst for the New York Racing Association, offers his expertise from the perspective of a professional rider in a new regular feature for America's Best Racing — Monday Morning Mig. A winner of 4,450 career races and the 1981 Eclipse Award as outstanding apprentice will review key races on the Triple Crown trail and the road to the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, providing his thoughts leading into the race, insights about what happened during the running of the race and key takeaways from the outcome.
1. The Post Positions: Post positions played a key role in this edition of the Gotham. The favorite, El Areeb, was drawn just inside of the other main speed, True Timber, which projected for a potential pace battle. Of the two other main contenders, J Boys Echo drew favorably with the rail and Cloud Computing making his second start, drew to the outside.
2. The Start: El Areeb broke alertly and his rider, Trevor McCarthy, seemed intent on making the lead. True Timber under Kendrick Carmouche just outside of him kept intense pressure on him. I expected El Areeb to settle just off the pace. Surprisingly, he got caught up in a speed duel.
3. The Big Move: The big move was Manny Franco getting to the rail with Cloud Computing from his outside post by the first turn. Even though he had to use his inexperienced colt to gain that position, I feel like he gave himself his best chance to win that way.
4. The Big Miss: The missed opportunity may have been El Areeb getting caught up in a speed duel.
5. The Finish: J Boys Echo worked out the perfect trip from off the pace and his inside position. He vastly improved off of his first start this year when he finished third in the Grade 3 Withers Stakes.
6. The Takeaway: What I take away from the Gotham is that the winner stamped himself as a true Derby contender. The runner-up is a extremely talented colt that is short on experience but not lacking in potential. The favorite, El Areeb, I believe will be more effective at shorter distances.