It drew a well matched field of sprinters at varying stages of development. The four we’ll look at are, from the rail, out: Cherokee Jewel (6-1), Fast Deal (6-1), Cuaba (2-1) and Sugar Swirl (5-2).
Cherokee Jewel seems to love it here. She ran lights out to win the Capote Belle last year, earning the fastest performance figure in the field. That’s the good news. The bad is that she never has run back to it. But making her third start off the long layup here, and shipping back to Saratoga, might prove the wakeup tonic. Meet leader Cornelio Velasquez gets the call.
Fast Deal’s best race also came over this track at three and she reaffirmed her preference for the Spa when she placed gamely to today’s favorite in her return in a slight breakthrough performance. That’s a good harbinger for another forward move here. Wayne Lukas makes a switch to Julien Leparoux here.
Cuaba was an impressive winner in her Spa debut Aug. 1, earning a career best figure. Ridden with confidence by Kent Desormeaux, who’s taking a return call here from Bill Mott, the Smoke Glacken filly has had two very sharp works since, indicating she’s held that good form. She fits the race shape well, a pace presser that can kick, and might be ready to jump to a higher level in the future. But right now she can handle this level and looms a deserving favorite.
Sugar Swirl, meanwhile, has been working like a tigress. She’s fresh for Bobby Frankel, always a good thing, and boasts a series of bullet workouts for a return to what might be her favorite surface. She earned a career best figure here at three and she matched that figure in her last race, the Alyssum at Belmont Park going today’s hybrid distance. Garrett Gomez takes the return call. Of the two most probable winners, she and Cuaba, Sugar Swirl likely will prove the value here.
Taking Sugar Swirl to win at 2-1 or greater, and exacta box with Cuaba, and a trifecta key first and second with the major contenders here.
Running Totals: (90) 38-19-11. Dollar Return: $225.00 [win selections only]