It has drawn a limit field and four females loom largest in here, from the inside out; Meribel, Fantastic Shirl, Redaspen and Jade Queen. Here’s a look:
Meribel is the likely post time favorite and most probable winner. She made her four-year-old debut in an ungraded Breeders’ Cup event at Calder and finished strongly between horses late for fourth, beaten just over a length. The effort represented a new lifetime top, but not a dramatic one, making a pair-up today highly likely. That effort would be good enough to handle the group and trainer Christophe Clement retains regular rider Garrett Gomez.
Fantastic Shirl is highly likely to improve off her last. While not as fast as Meribel, she was toughened up in the recent Grade 2 Jenny Wiley on Polytrack, now returns to her preferred surface with sufficient rest for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin, white hot in New York the last few weeks. Coming off a mini-layup for her latest, she usually runs better second time off a break. Edgar Prado rides her back.
Redaspen has some excellent back-figures and could upset the group at generous odds. Making her second start off a layup, she has proven to be somewhat of a specialist, having gone 3-for-5 on turf at this distance and 3-for-14 trying anything else. Regular rider Victor Molina ships up with the Maryland-based filly for the ride.
Jade Queen might hold a class edge on the group. She has a good record in tough company and a versatile running style. The fresh Todd Pletcher trainee should be part of the pace throughout beneath stable rider John Velazquez. Her figures are competitive and with the maturity gained as a four-year-old this year, she can take her game to the next level. A terrific horserace.
Taking Meribel to win at 2-1 or greater and keying her first and second in trifectas with Fantastic Shirl, Redaspen and Jade Queen. (At 10-1 or more, we will have a small saver wager to win on longshot Redaspen).
Running Totals: (21) 8-6-5 [does not reflect Wednesday’s results]. ROI: (win selections only) $52.60.