8) AJAAWEED (c, Curlin–Asiya, by Daaher)
O-Shadwell Stable. B-Shadwell Farm (KY). T-Kiaran McLaughlin. Lifetime Record: GSP, 4-1-1-0, $119,850.
Last Start: 2nd GII Remsen S., Aqu, Dec. 7
Accomplishments Include: 4th GI Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity, Kee, Oct. 5
Next Start: Uncommitted.
Equineline PPs. KY Derby Points: 5.
Ajaaweed will be the second fave behind Independence Hall if he starts in Saturday’s Davis S. I like the progression of his career arc, but I have concerns about whether the sometimes-quirky Tampa surface is the best match for this colt’s off-the-pace style. The Davis has been won in wire-to-wire fashion by mid-priced upsetters the past two seasons, speed-oriented runners have won four of the last five runnings and the track in general does not favor deep closers. This Shadwell homebred’s second-place try in the GII Remsen S. stands out because he was wide on both turns behind a slow pace on a day when speed carried better as the afternoon progressed at Aqueduct. He closed very well, but the horse who was saved by the wire in that race, Shotski (Blame), led but caved as the fave when second to Max Player (Honor Code) this past Saturday in the GIII Withers S. over nine furlongs at Aqueduct.