Her main competition will come from early line favorite Sharp Susan (2-1) and the rapidly improving Classic Neel (3-1). First, the favorite.
Sharp Susan is a proven commodity at nine furlongs, a strong variable here. She has good early speed, is undefeated in two starts at 3, and comes up to this 69 days fresh. Cornelio Velasquez rides her like he owns her and, for all his stakes victories on turf, this would be the first in this race for grass ace Bill Mott.
Classic Neel is interesting. While she might be untested at today’s distance, she’s certainly proven her grass prowess. She won her first two grass starts then was ambitiously placed in Keeneland’s Appalachian Stakes, where she was beaten a mere neck. She will try to become the fifth filly out of that stakes to win a subsequent start and the team of Kiaran McLaughlin and Alan Garcia have been on a tear locally.
Rutherienne has been impressive whenever I’ve seen her. After racing very wide and finishing strongly from far back in the aforementioned Appalachian, she won her Belmont debut last out with authority. Note that trainer Clement is 25 percent effective with repeaters. The filly never has taken a backward step in four career starts, is 1-for-1 at the route, and her recent performance figure was faster than anything on the page. Garrett Gomez in the boot seals the deal.
Taking Rutherienne to win at 8-5 or greater, and keying her first and second in trifectas and exactas with the other two fillies.
Running Totals: (33) 14-8-7 [do not reflect Friday's results]. Return: $78.90 (win selections only)