That's just the nomination. Something I've learned about is entering races. We need to sweat it out to determine if we'll get in. Tampa gate holds 14 so we need to be at least 14th in selection order. Preference to graded stakes winners (none in this field) then purse earnings (6 below us). Then there are 8 entered for races this weekend making them unlikely to come back in a week (if they don't scratch this weekend). So we need a couple to drop out. Maybe they're from out of town, not healthy, or whatever.
All that said if you look at historical entries for this stakes race in the last 5 years it's had 6-10 starters.. so we're very likely a go, like 99%.
The current thinking is that he needs more distance and shouldn't really be on the front end. Part of that is on the jock but you can't blame a jock for letting the horse run if that's what the horse wants to do. In other words, if the horse is fighting the jock when the rider is rating him (slowing him down) you might lose more energy fighting the horse than you conserve if he slows down.
MM is very responsive to slowing down in training but they are working on training him in company. Not gonna use drag reigns in training yet, kinda gotta change one thing at a time and test it out.
He might be out classed too. These are basically all still two year olds. In the coming months some of these males are going to get REALLY good really quickly. MM might just stand still compared to some of these.