Three of the eight older fillies entered in today’s Laurel Park featured preliminary allowances at 1-1/16 miles have the best chance to earn the top prize, two of them–the first and second early choice–saddled Kieron Magee.
Artful Splatter (9-5) has won all for starts since claimed by Magee has excellent early speed and pole position and should lead stretching out a sixteenth around a second turn. (Fans of the favorite could secure value with Todd Pletcher shipping Team Win from NY and names Trevor).
The Magee second choice is Bird Traffic (5-2), claimed two back with a subsequent win and placing. In fact, she has the turn-turn dirt experience her mate lacks and broke maiden at this trip as a juvenile at Churchill Downs.
But we think that My Queen Michelle (6-1) could be a viable price shot for Claudio Gonzalez based on her fast track effort two starts back. Check out the Laurel Live Video on the HRI homepage, DEC 28, RACE 9.
A review of the tape shows that ‘Michelle’ never really was comfortable, pulling the rider out of the saddle while inside throughout the backstretch run. Remaining there, he was forced to briefly steady twice on the turn, dropping back to last, and never shifted outside until midstretch.
The slow pace really hurt her chances yet she made good ground late while never threatening. But to finish fourth beaten one length took a heck of a late run.
The pace should be fair here, the second turn has suited her in the past, and Gonzalez names apprentice Alberto Burgos, who has won three races in seven starts for this barn through Wednesday and the filly gets a significant 10 pounds from both her main rivals.
We’ll take a straight bet on My Queen Michelle at 4-1 or greater and key-boxing exactas with both Magee runners.