#1 – SOMEDAY SOON (Jose Lezcano/William B. Van Meter FTS)
Horse has that good-bad pattern going in her last six starts, have to note this one is an Ohio-bred. In both graded stakes attempts she took serious steps backward. Showed solid speed figures in the Honeybee, but faltered badly past the half and receded.
I would expect him to a significant part of the pace scenario in this spot as well. He is in the spot in his pattern of races where he will improve to run a big pace number in this spot, but I question his class and ability to win at the distance. His sires average winning distance was 6.92furlong and his Damsire was a tad bit higher.
OUTLOOK: The lack of true speed in this race makes it very interesting on paper and it’s going to have good betting opportunities from top to bottom. I think that this is the perfect spot to improve back to that career high number two back and I think Mark Casse will haver her primed to win. Her biggest question mark is where will she be positioned after the first quarter mile. That is going to make or break whether I cash on this race.
#2 – ELATE (Jose Ortiz/Bill Mott 28% 32 starts)
Love, love, love the breeding with this horse. This daughter of Medaglia d’Oro has shown the ability get forwardly placed and has also shown the ability to close from dead last. Her pace figures are right where you would want them to see a big improvement in this race. After a troubled last race, I would expect this one to be a little bit better. Her early and mid speed numbers two back were good enough to contend for the early lead if they want it. If they do go for the front, they will have to contend with other rivals.
OUTLOOK: There is no reason this horse can’t improve, but it comes down to how much do you trust Bill Mot to get him in condition to win at this distance. Pedigree is strong, but it’s the first time at Churchill and I am not the biggest fan of Bill Mott so I am going to pass.
#3 – PRETTY CITY DANCER (Joel Rosario/Mark Casse 31% 13 starts)
Mark Casse was pushing all the right buttons with this filly last Summer. Shoot she won G1-Spinaway by tracking the speed after 3w/4w along the backstretch and moved 5wide on the far turn to draw off and win by nearly six lengths. It was very impressive after the poor break and I immediately put her on my list of Oaks contenders. Her 3-year-old season doesn’t have nearly the numbers she was putting up last Summer and she has receded in both starts.
OUTLOOK: It’s really hard for me to gauge where this one is at. They are going to take the blinkers off which possibly will allow her to calm down out there. She is a G1 winner so I would be willing to take a shot at the right price, but her pace numbers overall are a bit on the low side. This time I will watch and wait for the right opportunity. Unless she is a ridiculous price I am going to pass today.
#4 – MEANIE IRENIE (Julien Leparoux/Richard Baltas FTS)
Has only won as a maiden at Santa Anita against a group that wasn’t elite. Tried one time at the first level allowance class and split rivals but never made up ground on the winner. It’s hard to see Richard Baltas sending this one in for no reason and throwing up Julien. I am not sure exactly what the plan is with this horse or how good she is, but she is not bred to win running this far that’s for sure.
OUTLOOK: Just not fast enough. Could throw up early speed and effect the pace, but I don’t see it coming down to the wire on Saturday. I am going to pass on MEANIE IRENIE but keep a close eye on when she ships back home.
#5 – SUMMER LUCK (Florent Geroux/Mark Casse 29% 78 Starts)
Casse’s second entry debuted at a mile at Churchill in November. Took back early and showed a lot of guts making up multiple lengths in the stretch and drove right past and looked like she wanted to keep going. She seemed to manage her energy well and put up good pace numbers doing it. Started in the Old Hat Stakes at Gulfstream in January as a 3-year-old and ran into a slow pace in that sprint, still made up good ground to hit the board. Followed that up with two G2 Stakes efforts that were complete opposites of each other. The first the 7f Forward Gal again was pretty quick up front and she closed well but got caught widest of all and was forced to go back inside when her rival kept drifting out into her lane. It was pretty evident that SUMMER LUCK is not a sprinter. The G2 Davona Dale was extremely interesting, there was a decent pace battle up front and SUMMER LUCK stalked in the about 5 lengths off the lead throughout, saved ground on the inside, waited until just after the furlong marker to tip outside and found her best stride late and had the race been 5 yards longer, she would have won. She galloped out very well and looked to want more.
OUTLOOK: It’s hard not to like Summer Luck’s chances the further she goes. She ran a fantastic race in the Davona Dale and just came up a little bit short. I think Florent Geroux will remember how close he came last out. Hopefully, he doesn’t pull the trigger too early because we have learned she is definitely going to come running. If there is a hot pace up front, which may be a problem in this race because I don’t see a whole lot of speed. I think this is the best CLOSER in the bunch and this horse definitely deserves consideration at the KY Oaks distance, but they are not going that far on Saturday. Depends on the odds but I do like SUMMER LUCK, I just haven’t decide where she falls on the ticket.
#6 – DADDYS LIL DARLING (Robby Albarado/Kenneth McPeek 20% 15 starts)
Broke maiden on a race scratched off the turf but ran on a fast track at Ellis back in July. It was her second start and a huge improvement on her first start. She tracked the pace and forced her way through and opened up on the field to win by eight. Followed that up on a muddy Churchill surface with a similar effort in the G2-Pochontas as far as pace numbers are concerned, but it was different as far as running style. She sat well back and swung 5wide, grabbed the lead midstretch and held on. Since then it has been a series of unsuccessful graded stakes efforts. She ran a great 2nd in the Alcibiades when she closed from far back, but was just a bit late and couldn’t catch the leader.
OUTLOOK: Has a legitimate chance to improve coming out of the Florida Oaks which was on the turf. Ran a career high number and likely will relish the return to the dirt. This horse has a lot of class with the Grade 2 victory and just missing to Dancing Rags in the Alcibiades. I like her chances to pull the upset.
#7 – SAILOR’S VALENTINE (Corey Lanerie/Eddie Kenneally 19% 100 starts)
Showed good early speed in his three starts as a 2-year-old, but racing changes the older horses get and it’s not all based on whoever gets out first wins like it can at the youngest level. With only a maiden win on paper, the latest start going 8.5 on turf was her best effort of late and it came off a bit of a layoff. She has been the beaten favorite in 3 of her last 4 starts, but she most likely won’t be in this spot.
OUTLOOK: There are just too many negatives right now to play this one. It’s not unrealistic that she can hit the board at a price. She has early foot which isn’t prevalent among this ground, so if she decides to go hard early and see how far it takes her, I won’t blame Lanerie it gives him and her the best chance of ending up in the winning circle. I am watching in this one. Not likely.
#8 – TAPPED (David R. Flores/Jerry Hollendorfer 100% 1 start)
Money Mike Smith was riding her early in her career. They won by a nose in the debut, then followed it up wit a 1/5 second place effort at Golden Gate, Mike Smith came up North for the ride which means something. She was highly thought of at the time. The next start was the Grade 1 – Starlet at Los Alamitos Racecourse and Desormeaux got up and took her straight to the lead out of the gate, it looks like she had some trouble in the stretch drifting in, possibly was a little leg weary.
OUTLOOK: If Mike Smith was riding I might look at this one a bit differently. Every time he has been up she has done well. Most recently in the California Oaks at Golden Gate she battled but couldn’t go by rival late.
MY TOP PICKS:
#1 - Someday Soon #6 - Daddys Lil Darling #2 - Elate #5 - Summer Luck
I have not decided how I am going to play this race until I see how the track is running and whether or not it is speed favoring. That makes a big difference.
Right now, I’m doing this…
$1 tri wheel – 1/2,5,6/2,5,6 and 2,5,6/1/2,5,6 and 2,5,6/2,5,6/1
$0.10 super box 1,2,5,6