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Martha Washington Preview: Sylvia Q Faces Stiff Pace Scenario
Sylvia Q breaking her maiden (Credit: Coady Photography)

Martha Washington Preview: Sylvia Q Faces Stiff Pace Scenario

HOT SPRINGS, AR – Rigney Racing’s Sylvia Q faces a stiff pace scenario as she makes her stakes debut in Saturday’s $200,000 Martha Washington Stakes at Oaklawn Park.

The Martha Washington is a mile-long dirt route restricted to 3-year-old fillies. This year’s edition is the fifth event on a 9-race card and has a local post time of 3:06 PM.

The Martha Washington is part of the Road to the 2021 Kentucky Oaks prep race season. The winner will earn 10 points, with second receiving 4, third 2, and fourth 1.

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Here’s a look at the full field for the Martha Washington:

1. Joy’s Rocket 5/2 – She’ll try stretching out to a two-turn route for the first time here after winning her past 2 starts, the 6 1/2-furlong Songbird Stakes and the 6-furlong Letellier Memorial Stakes. She beat the Silverbulletday Stakes champ in the latter of those 2 starts and she seems ready to try this distance again after finishing fourth in the one-turn Frizette Stakes (G1).

2. Novel Squall 15/1 – She returns to the races for the first time since finishing 11th in last November’s Songbird at Keeneland when she never showed any interest in competing. Did she simply need a break after racing 4 times in a 2-month span, or did she fail the class test after competing against less talented rivals at Indiana Grand and Remington Park?

3. Coach 7/5 – She began her career strong, winning 3 straight including the 1 1/16-mile Rags to Riches Stakes at Churchill Downs in late October. She suffered her first career defeat over the same course and distance next time out, finishing third in the Golden Rod Stakes (G2), but trainer Brad Cox and jockey Florent Geroux began this meet hot, winning 4 of 9 shared mounts (through Thursday).

“There’s some speed in there and it’s a small field,” Cox said. “Hopefully, the speed doesn’t get too far away from her. It’s a 1-mile race, it’s a great purse, and hopefully she can start her march toward what we hope is the Kentucky Oaks. That would be the ultimate goal with her.”

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4. Will’s Secret 6/1 – She broke her maiden at fourth asking last time out in an off-turf maiden special weight held at 1 1/16 miles over a fast Fair Grounds main track. She’ll need to take another step forward from a speed figure standpoint if she hope to contend, but jockey Jon Court and trainer Dallas Stewart are sneaky-hot, having won 3 of their past 8 shared mounts.

5. Lady Lilly 9/2 – She chose a pace-heavy spot for her first start since finishing seventh in the Golden Rod, where she looked too keen to settle and weakened after stalking the pace. She has a good shot to hit the board if the 4 speed horses signed on decide to duke it out early, but as far as speed figures go, she still needs to take a big step forward in order to win.

6. Sylvia Q 5/1 – Trainer Phil Bauer adds blinkers after she missed by a nose against optional claimers in a sloppy off-turf 1 1/16-mile event at Fair Grounds on New Year’s Eve. She’s led from the opening 1/4-mile to the stretch run’s point of call in all 3 starts, though perhaps wearing a hood for the first time will help ration her speed under new jockey Martin Garcia.

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