The Golden Rod has helped launch several fillies on the Road to the Kentucky Oaks (G1), including eventual Oaks winners Monomoy Girl, Rachel Alexandra, and Silverbulletday. The 1 1/16-mile event is carded as Race 9 with a post time of 4:57 p.m. The race shares the spotlight on Saturday’s 12-race program with the $200,000 Kentucky Jockey Club (G2). First post is 1 p.m.
Simply Ravishing seems to have the class edge here no matter how you look at it. After winning the Darley Alcibiades Stakes (G1) at Keeneland, she was fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) despite a bad stumble from the gate. She gets Robby Albarado aboard in this spot for the first time, breaking from post 8.
Travel Column will seek revenge on Simply Ravishing after finishing a distance third to her last time out. The Brad Cox-trained filly was impressive on debut over this surface, but she failed to live up to the hype in the Alcibiades. The prior experience will help her, though, as she breaks from post 5 with Florent Geroux aboard.
The Brendan Walsh-trained Princess Theorem also adds intrigue to this race after breaking her maiden at Churchill Downs going this distance. This will be her first time against winners, but her speed figures suggest she’ll have a shot. Hall of Fame rider John Velazquez has the mount, breaking from post 9.
The full field from the rail out: Lady Lilly, No Mo’ Spending, Coach, Farsighted, Travel Column, Clairiere, Lady Traveler, Simply Ravishing, Princess Theorem, and Alexandria.
#8 Simply Ravishing – Look, this will be short and sweet. If I thought she could win the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1), why would I not pick her here? She had a legitimate excuse in that race (a very poor start) so I have to give her one more chance. With a clean break, she should be very tough to beat. She has a big shot to outclass the field.
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#5 Travel Column – There are certainly reasons to like Travel Column, mostly having to do with her connections. Trainer Brad Cox is red hot and legs up Florent Geroux, his go-to rider. Last time out in the Darley Alcibiades Stakes (G1), she felt like she was the filly to beat, but she was thrashed by Simply Ravishing. Can see turn the tables in this race? I’m not sure she can.
#9 Princess Theorem – After a solid third-place effort on debut over turf, she broke her maiden on the dirt next time out at this distance, winning by 3 3/4 lengths. That victory was impressive enough to give her consideration in this race, even though I really like my top two choices. If anyone is going to pull the upset, this seems like the horse who can do it.
#3 Coach – Cox is absolutely on fire lately, which makes this filly interesting. She has also won 3 straight, including the Rags to Riches Stakes over this track last time out. Still, she seems like his second-best entry here, with jockey Florent Geroux choosing Travel Column over her.
#1 Lady Lilly – She is 2-for-3 in her young career, with her only loss coming in the Spinaway Stakes (G1) at Saratoga. She will be stretching out in distance for the first time, but she did win at a mile last time out at Keeneland. She seems like a solid underneath play.
#10 Alexandria – As a winner in 4 of 5 starts, this is certainly a horse worthy of respect. However, this is the toughest field she has faced by far, as most of her races came at much smaller tracks. Still, you can’t ignore the fact that this horse likes to find the wire first.
#6 Clairiere – We aren’t sure what this horse is just yet with just 1 race under her belt. That effort came in a maiden special weight over this track and distance, where she finished first by a 1/2-length. The competition heats up in this spot, but if you want to play a longshot, this horse makes a lot of since.
#7 Lady Traveler – After an impressive win 2 races back, this filly was second to Coach last time out, who I have as an “Exotic Play.” That defeat keeps me from being higher on her in this tough spot.
#4 Farsighted – We’ll see whether or not this filly can stretch out in distance for the first time in this race. Her pedigree suggests she can, but her speed figures leave a bit to be desired. It’ll take a nice improvement for her to make an impact in this spot.
#2 No Mo’ Spending – Despite 2 straight wins, I have my doubts about this horse. The New York-bred has not faced open company in her last 3 races, which could end up being an issue. She seems outclassed in this spot.