On paper, it’s very difficult to get away from the two early favorites; Dunbar Road (8-5) and Point of Honor (5-2).
When last seen, Dunbar Road was a most impressive the Grade 2 Mother Goose at Belmont Park and Chad Brown–who has kept this filly away from his other divisional star, Guarana–she’s going to Parx’s Cotillion.
Dunbar Road is 3-for-4 lifetime and has all the pedigree needed to handle the 10 furlongs of the storied Spa Grade 1 for 3-year-old fillies. The rail position, moderating speed signed on and Jose Ortiz fits the dynamics well.
Meanwhile, Point of Honor, who has pointed to this all spring and summer, was a very good second to the aforementioned Guarana in the G1 Coaching Club American Oaks at the Spa after racing wide virtually throughout.
While these two loom as the most probable winners, there are some interesting sophomores that make this more than a two-filly affair.
Champagne Anyone (10-1) chased the CCAO pace throughout–not her best go–coming off a short break and likely was too fresh. She beat both favorites in Gulfstreams G2 Oaks, She should revert to a patient tack here.
Fast working Street Band (10-1) is coming off a fast open-lengths score in the G3 Indiana Oaks, a race that produced a next out winner from two starters. Another short-range stalker, her chances are also trip dependent.
Steve Asmussen and Brian Cox also has two sharp fillies who are capable–if they raise their game; Lady Apple (6-1) and Ulele (8-1), respectively.
Even if 10 furlongs generally is enough to separate contenders from pretenders, tactics of many of the best riders in the game will determine the outcome.
We’ll take the filly with a race over the track, G2 winner Point of Honor for George Weaver, profitable in LAY-2 scenarios, who should benefit from a more contested pace. Javier Castellano will make the last run a winning one.
Taking her to win, needed close to 2-1 to wager, will box the exacta with Dunbar Road and fill out super-exotics with Champagne Anyone and Street Band.
YESTERDAY: Montauk Daddy was used too hard early and stopped late in the Skidmore, third; ridiculous price saved win-bet money. Other two keys, including the maiden, combined for a decent TRI in small field with two favorites on the board.