Updated to reflect scratches …
My sympathy to racing secretary Ben Huffman because it will be difficult to duplicate these large and top-quality fields again next year. Get ready for two star-studded days of racing.
Race 1 – 1. Modify, 2. Garden Goddess, 3. Linda Mimi. Comment: Modify has two near misses and gets her third jockey in three races, but she looks a couple steps above the others.
Race 2 – 1. Conquest Serenade, 2. Vickie Wins, 3. Blast. Comment: Conquest Serenade lost to Kentucky Oaks entrant Go Maggie Go in her debut and then ran her eyeballs out breaking her maiden at Keeneland. Excellent Chance in a tough field. Note: Going against Bold Quality here, despite her being graded stakes placed over this surface, because it’s her first out of the year — but her class is there. Waiting for her next out.
Race 3 – 1. Contrasting, 2. Paid Up Subscriber, 3. Gamblers Rose. Comment: Contrasting won at a huge price at Keeneland and could improve in second race off the layoff. Upside at 5-1 morning line odds.
Race 4 – 1. Family Tree, 2. Afleet Lady, 3. Firsthand Report. Comment: The multiple stakes placed Family Tree is working well and looks well placed.
Race 5 – 1. Commend, 2. Go Navy Go, 3. Pitch Count. Comment: War Front’s Commend looms large and can improve in third start.
Race 6 | Grade I LaTroienne Stakes | 1 1/16 miles
1. Sheer Drama
3. Angela Renee
Comment: With the impressive 2016 debut in the Grade I Madison Stakes at Keeneland, Sheer Drama hasn’t lost a step. Curlina is classy too, but this is her debut and that might give Sheer Drama an advantage. Angela Renee might be the best value in the race in her second race of the year after an optional claiming win at Aqueduct Racetrack in March.
Race 7 | Grade II Eight Belles Stakes | 7 furlongs
1. Carina Mia
3. Jade Princess
Comment: This is a stellar field where Carina Mia gets the edge on the turn back in distance and with the addition of an anti-bleeding medication. Nickname gets the slightest of edges for second, but Jade Princess and Stageplay deserve equal attention in exotics as they cut back in distance like the top pick.
Race 8 | Grade III Twin Spires Turf Sprint | 5 furlongs turf
1. Something Extra
2. Power Alert
3. Summation Time
Comment: Something Extra had the lead and got nailed just before the wire in the Shakertown at Keeneland and might benefit from the half-furlong cut in distance (and maybe a first quarter that’s not 20 3/5 seconds). Power Alert is the defending champ in this race and could repeat. Summation Time had a tough trip in the Shakertown and looms large.
Race 9 | Grade II Alysheba Stakes | 1 1/16 miles
1. Cat Burglar
2. Noble Bird
4. Majestic Affair
Comment: Cat Burglar looks to be in top form and gets the edge on his consistency so far this year. Noble Bird is a Grade I winner over the surface and can turn the tables on Eagle from their matchup in the Ben Ali at Keeneland in Noble Bird’s third start of the year.
Race 10 | Grade III Edgewood Stakes | 1 1/16 miles turf
1. Catch a Glimpse
2. Outsider Art
4. Outsider Art
Comment: The Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf winner Catch A Glimpse is on a five-win streak and has a great chance of notching a sixth. Outsider Art figures to improve in her second start of the year after a notable third in the Appalachian at Keeneland where Catch A Glimpse won. Harmonize also can improve in her second start of the year. Sky My Sky had a trouble trip in her last race at Gulfstream Park.
Race 11 | Grade I Longines Kentucky Oaks | 1 1/8 miles
1. Rachel’s Valentina
2. Cathryn Sophia
3. Land Over Sea
4. Royal Obsession
Comment: Rachel’s Valentina ran a huge effort in the Ashland just to get nailed at the wire in the first effort of the year for the daughter of the Horse of the Year. If she improves just a little, as many horses do in their second efforts, she could wear the lilies like her mother. Cathryn Sophia finished third in the Ashland and can’t be dismissed, although her connections initially weren’t going for this spot had the champion Songbird not gotten a fever. Land Over Sea had an outside post and raced several wide throughout the Fair Grounds Oaks, something she could see again coming from the 13 post. That hurts her chances for the win. Royal Obsession could add value to the exotics. Weep No More is a great story and made a finish in Keeneland’s short stretch that was unheard of to some observers. So why not again? Her Brisket speed ratings have improved in every start and I’m willing to bet she regresses at least slightly while still being a possibility for the exotics.
Race 12 – 1. Conquest Stormy, 2. Who’s Your Drama, 3. Classy O’Prado. Comment: Conquest Stormy is training well and gets a jockey who is off to a fast start at the spring meeting. Who’s Your Drama has been second three times and could snap that streak. Classy O’Prado has a race over Churchill Downs’ Matt Winn Turf Course and offers value.
Race 13 – 1. Kiss Limit, 2. Stonescape, 3. Rest Assured. Comment: Kiss Limit had a short run to the turn at Keeneand and a short stretch and managed to win. Stonescape is consistent and would be no surprise. Rest Assured stretches out to a mile on what likely will be a fast track, unlike when he finished fourth at the distance in March.