#6 Rachel’s Valentina – It’s almost unbelievable that she has become the forgotten filly in this crop. It was only seven weeks ago that she was sent off as the favorite in the Kentucky Oaks, but chased a hot pace and faded to finish sixth. Now this daughter of Rachel Alexandra isn’t ranked in any of the top 3 year old filly lists, and really hasn’t been talked about since that race. She’s went from the hunted to the hunter, and if she can settle into a nice tempo early on there is really no reason to believe she can’t win this race. With a short field I expect the pace to not be as fast as the Kentucky Oaks, and this field doesn’t have near the depth. Her workouts leading up to this race seem solid, and really the Kentucky Oaks could have been a race where she bounced as she was pushed into the race off of only one start which was a grueling second place effort in the Ashland Stakes at Keeneland where she finished in front of eventual Kentucky Oaks winner Cathryn Sophia. Looking for a big time rebound today.
#2 Off The Tracks – If you cross out her Gulfstream Park Oaks effort her resume looks fairly flawless. Even though she finished second last time out in the Grade 1 Acorn Stakes at Belmont, she still ran a winning race as she beat the Kentucky Oaks winner Cathryn Sophia and finished second to a horse that is turning into a beast in Carina Mia. Also in the Acorn Stakes she turned the tables on Go Maggie Go who had beaten her at Gulfstream which makes me think something was off with Off the Tracks in that Gulfstream Park race. This is sort of a quick turnaround for Pletcher which signals to me that she’s doing really well off that big effort last time out. Perhaps she’s more prepared to stretch out this time, and she may also get ignored a bit in the betting. I like how this is setting up…
#5 Lewis Bay – I came into this race thinking Lewis Bay would be my top pick so I surprised myself that I ended up putting her in the Exotic Plays section. It’s not that I don’t like Lewis Bay…I definitely do…but she doesn’t have much of a “wow factor” to her. Her races are all very solid and consistent, but they all are just averagely fast for this level. After winning at Aqueduct in a solid fashion she basically ran her normal race in the Kentucky Oaks to finish a strong third. I could see a similar fate for her today in this spot. Certainly is in with a big chance, but at a short price I’m not sure I want to bet her on top.
#7 Lightstream – It’s hard to make an argument against perfection, and that is exactly what Lightstream is so far in her career. A perfect three for three, and she’s done it at three different race tracks and on both dirt and turf. She never wins a by a large margin, but does win in a way where you seem to think she has more left in the tank. That could be a very good thing today with this being her first race over seven furlongs. In fact all three of her races have come at seven furlongs so this really will be a nice test to see how she stretches out. Certainly might have the talent to compete with these today, but unsure about the distance.
#4 Mo d’Amour – Looks to be a very solid mid-level stake type, but against the top fillies in the crop she hasn’t been much of a factor. There is a slight possibility she could jump up and hit the board, but its just not logical to bet on it other than the fact her price will be decent.
#3 Mom’s On Strike – Lightly raced horse does look like she has some talent, but is just up against it today. Was fifth last time out in the Black Eyed Susan which may have had more depth than this race, but it didn’t have the star power that she’ll see today. Too tough…
#1 Linda Mimi – Late entry to the race and just doesn’t match up with any of these on paper. Would be a big time surprise.