#8 Sloane Square (KY) – Lightly raced Pletcher horse that could be on the rise…a story that is very familiar! It seems like all of his horses reach a peak before a sharp decline, and I think this one just might peak this Friday. Her maiden special weight and allowance wins were solid, and her second in the Burbonette Oaks was good enough for me to believe there is some class there. This field isn’t the toughest in the world to beat, so that class might carry her to the wire.
#3 Shanon Nicole (KY) – Draw a line through her two synthetic races and you see a horse that has consistently hit the board. Finishing third in the Rachel Alexandra was no shame as that race produced what could be our best three year old (no matter the gender) in Untapable. Loving the fact they have her back on dirt, and really loving the fact Mike Smith has signed on to ride.
#5 Euphrosyne (KY) – I never really believed in this horse while at Oaklawn Park, but she kept proving me wrong as she always ran solid races. I’m on record saying the filly division was very weak at Oaklawn this year, but I do believe she stacks up with this group pretty well. This horse lacks a powerful closing kick, but if they are all plodding along she can definitely stick to task and pick up a victory.
#2 America (KY) – I don’t think she’s much, but I do like that she has a bit of proven stakes form. It’s also exciting that Bill Mott trains as we’ve all seen his three year old fillies come alive at this time of the year, and sometimes in this specific race. Hoping she grows up a little bit in here and improves.
#1 Joint Return (KY) – Winner of 4 out of 6 races, but one of those losses was a bad 5th in the only graded stakes she has ever ran in. Still, she is an ungraded stakes winner twice, and that alone puts her in the mix with this group. I’m not sure the upside potential is quite as large as some of the others in this race, but it’s not out of the question for her to make a lot of noise.
#4 Stopchargingmaria (KY) – Basically putting her in this category because of the respect I have for her trainer. Her two year old form would be good enough to get the victory here, but we just haven’t seen it as a three year old. She may have not developed quite like her connections had hoped she would. Her morning line favoritism has definitely not been earned.
#7 La Mejor Fiesta (KY) – Here is one that could really move forward off her last effort. The Bourbonette Oaks was her start of the year, and she managed an average fourth place finish, but it must be noted that synthetic may not be her best surface. The last race of her two year old year was an impressive win in the Trapeze Stakes at Remington Park over a dirt surface. I like the switch back to dirt today, and I love that she’s already had an out in 2014. Wouldn’t be a shocker…
#6 Arethusa (KY) – We’ve already seen she couldn’t compete at Santa Anita, and I don’t think that group was very strong this year.
#9 Fortune Pearl (KY) – Had a local win here last time out, but not sure she’s fast enough to make it two for two today. Like the local connections, but perhaps an allowance or ungraded stakes would suit her better.
#10 Vero Amore (KY) – Consistent runner…just has had a little trouble winning but to be fair she’s faced tougher than what she’ll see today. Certainly in with a chance to hit the board, but I just prefer others a bit more.
#11 Image of Anna (KY) – Taking the logical next step after a MSW and Allowance victory, but will this be a bit to steep of a hill for her to climb at this time? I’m taking a wait and see approach.