The Big Dance.
Here comes Curlin. He is the most accomplished horse in the field, and now he has to go against the best 10 furlong horse in Europe, over a surface that is equally novel to both. I see this race, despite all of the other accomplished, tough animals, as a match between these two beasts. Curlin is big, muscular, flowing, and graceful in his approach, while Duke of Marmalade is maneuverable, tall, and loves to outclass his rivals by many lengths.
This race may lack Big Brown, but I doubt he could have measured up to these two champions. Between them they have twelve G1 wins; Enough said.
BUT, will they take to the surface? Will they be able to hold off the brilliant synthetic specialists? Go Between will run well, but will it be good enough? The same goes for Tiago.
If I am to bet one horse in this race that will run well on the surface, it is none of the above. He has one race over the surface, and he should have won it. He is a full brother to multiple turf champions, his kick will be comparable to any horse you will see in any of these races, and comes from arguably the best stable in the world.
His name is Champs Elysees, and he is coming up to this race like the only horse capable of running down the two big champions, if traffic works in his favor. I think the distance is his best and he will give a good showing of himself.
Alas, I cannot pick against the top two. But, who will it be? If Duke of Marmalade and Curlin are lined up at the 1/8 pole, which no doubt Murtagh will make sure the former is, I cannot see the might Curlin out-kicking Duke of Marmalade. Danehills have taken quite well to the synthetics (see: Champs Elysees), and his damsire, Kingmambo, has had many offspring run well on the synthetics. He should outrun the speedy duo of stablemate Henrythenavigator and Godolphin rival Raven's Pass, and will be chased to no avail by the classy Tiago and Champs Elysees.
1. (4) Duke of Marmalade 6-1
2. (9) Curlin 8-5
3. (12) Champs Elysees 20-1
4. (4) Tiago 15-1
5. (8) Raven's Pass 10-1