Race 1: Malibu Princess (#4) is the one they’re going to have to run down. She flashed her speed last time and led until deep stretch before just succumbing to the late run of Malibu Stacy. She earned a 104 speed figure for that effort, which would easily win most maiden races like this. However, can she repeat that effort second off the layoff, and can she withstand early pressure from Theatric (#1A)? This filly, out of champion Ashado, flashed good speed in her Saratoga debut last summer, but hasn’t been seen since. She gets Lasix for the first time today, but is unfortunately coupled with a stablemate that we don’t like. Our top pick is first-time starter MADCAP HEIRESS (#2). We don’t love to pick horses making their debuts, but Brad Cox gets a 90 trainer rating in this category. This filly is by top sire Speightstown and is out of a dam that won a few stakes as a precocious two-year-old. She figures to be quick.
Selections: 2 – 4 – 1A – 5
Race 2: We see three main players in this race. Iron Mizz (#2) was a little wide around the turn in her debut and finished up decently through the stretch. She finished about a length behind her stablemate Bahama Halo, who returned to win next time out. This filly figures to appreciate extra ground as a full-sister to Iron Power, and Todd Pletcher does well second time out (100 trainer rating). Christophe Clement, who gets a 92 trainer rating with first-time starters, sends out the well-bred Summer Sweet (#11). This filly is by turf influence More Than Ready and is a half-sister to five turf winners. We’ll use both of them, but our top pick is LADY JOAN (#5), who may offer the best value of the three. She was slow into stride in her debut and made a mild late run along the rail. However, we think that now she’s getting on the right surface, since Courageous Cat is a turf influence and her dam, Ladywell Court, was also a turf horse.
Selections: 5 – 11 – 2 – 10
Race 3: Aripeka (#1) is clearly the horse to beat even as he steps up slightly in class. However, we’re not in love with this barn change, since, unlike Danny Gargan, David Jacobson has struggled with his turf runners (53 overall trainer rating on that surface). He is the controlling speed and the Pace Projector predicts that the race flow will favor him, but we don’t want to take a very short price on this horse. Finding alternatives is not easy, but we’re mildly interested in TALE OF THE HEART (#3). Charlton Baker does very well off lengthy layoffs like this (93 trainer rating) and this horse ran pretty well against some decent fields at Gulfstream before being put on the shelf. He’s hardly the easiest horse to trust and his running style may not be suited to this race, but at least the price should be square.
Selections: 3 – 1 – 6 – 2
Race 4: She has some questions to answer as she makes her first start since February, but we’re not trying to beat HOT CITY GIRL (#4). While we have some knocks against her, the fact of the matter is that she doesn’t need to run her very best race in order to beat this field. Furthermore, she’s drawn well outside of the other speed types, so Luis Saez will have some options with her. Her main rival is Haveyougoneaway (#6), who ran very well in her debut against New York-bred company, earning a 112 speed figure while finishing a strong second to the talented Bar of Gold. Now she turns back to six furlongs, which appears to suit her better than the one-turn mile. We’ll include her, but we also want to give consideration to a longer price. Perfect Freud (#1) may not win the race, but we think she deserves a look for exactas and trifecta placings. This filly has handled sprint distances in the past, and got pretty good over the winter, earning some of the fastest speed figures not earned by Hot City Girl. If she can remember how to negotiate the shorter distance, she could sneak in there at a price.
Selections: 4 – 1 – 6 – 5
Race 5: Stormy Victoria (#5) is a deserving favorite, having run well in both of her North American starts. Two back she beat Neck of the Moon and Rumble Doll, who have both come back to place against stakes company, and then last time she may have left herself with too much to do while trying to negotiate a mile up at Woodbine. This cutback to seven furlongs suits her, but she will have to overcome dynamics that may not be in her favor. Of those exiting the Intercontinental, the one that interests us most is the last place finisher DISTORTED BEAUTY (#2). She may have needed the race off the layoff, but we would also contend that the performance is not quite as bad as it looks. She was shuffled back and pinned down towards the rail, and really was never put in a position to make an impact in a race that was dominated by horses that moved outside. She’s shown some tactical speed in the past and was running too well last year for us to let her beat us at a big price today.
Selections: 2 – 5 – 6 – 3
Race 6: The last time they met, Ducasa (#1) got the better of Buckskin Doll, but the latter may have run the better race that day. Ducasa was racing up close to a slow pace (color-coded in blue) and had no excuse to finish so poorly. Meanwhile, Buckskin Doll was shuffled back on the turn and had to close into fast closing fractions through the stretch. Since then, BUCKSKIN DOLL (#4) has changed hands a couple of times, but now lands in the barn of Jason Servis. He gets a stellar 100 trainer rating first off the claim and does well with runners coming off layoffs of this type. She moves up in class slightly and appears to be the horse to beat. We’re skeptical of many of the speed types in this race and could see long shot Love You Babe (#5) running along late to be part of the exacta or trifecta. She won against weaker company two back but appears to be steadily improving for Emron Ibrahim. Stone Supplier (#8) has run fast enough to win this race on a few occasions, but the two-month layoff and lack of workouts since her last start, combined with the fact that she was a vet scratch in mid-May, make us leery of her chances to bounce back.
Selections: 4 – 5 – 1 – 8
Race 7: Horses like Wild Chatter (#3) and Carta Regia (#4) have to be considered major players in this race, but we’re not in love with the idea of putting either one on top. Wild Chatter did have some trouble last time, having to wait for room past the eighth pole before angling out. She did close well through the final sixteenth, but she appeared to hang a bit right at the wire, which has been a bad habit of hers. We could say the same of Carta Regia, who got within striking distance in each of her last two starts and just did not display much finishing power. We want someone else and have landed on the dropdown ROYAL TEMPTRESS (#2). We don’t want to be too hard on her for her last race because she might not be a six furlong horse. If she repeats her effort two back, in which she set a fast pace (color-coded in red) before succumbing to some horses that are far superior to these, she could be a threat. The Pace Projector is predicting that she will be on the lead early in a situation favoring the frontrunner.
Selections: 2 – 3 – 4 – 8
Race 8: This race could easily be a Grade 3 stakes. There are just so many talented runners signed on to participate. Almasty (#8) has to be considered one of the top contenders after his encouraging return effort last time. He’s a bit better going a mile, but he handled the seven furlongs last time while only losing to a very talented runner in Full Mast. He’s proven capable of rating, which should serve him well as he faces off against the speedy Macagone. That one set a very fast pace in the Kingston last time, which should have set things up for Kharafa (#5), who failed to capitalize. We felt Kharafa should have been second that day and we wonder if he’s losing a step at age 7. Our top pick is BLACKTYPE (#3). He’s coming out of a similarly deep allowance race, and he ran well that day despite getting rank under Irad Ortiz down the backstretch and around the turn. He’s been a little keen in his recent starts, so it’s probably a good move by Christophe Clement to take the blinkers off. This one-mile distance should be perfect for him. At a huge price, we also could throw in High Noon Rider (#11). He has been a little inconsistent, but he was part of a pace that collapsed in his 2015 finale and has run some of his best races at a mile.
Selections: 3 – 8 – 11 – 5
Race 9: Jet Black (#6) should be tough to beat if he merely repeats his maiden score, in which he defeated a strong field of 13 runners, earning a field-best 105 speed figure. He’s spent most of his career sprinting, but he did handle a mile two back, while being involved in a solid pace the entire way. The extra sixteenth is a minor concern, but he has to be on your tickets. That said, we’re going to take a small shot against him with CHARMING INDY (#7). We’ll just assume that this last race sprinting was a prep for this stretch-out in distance. He ran well enough going two turns at Aqueduct, so this one-turn route should be right up his alley. We’ve always felt that this horse was a little unfocused, running in spots in many of his races, so the blinkers may prove to be a valuable addition.
Selections: 7 – 6 – 2 – 5
Race 10: The fifth race on June 12 is worth watching, since two horses had serious trouble. Flying K C (#5) left the gate about a second after the rest of the field, spotting them all some 8 to 10 lengths, while Satin Frost (#2) was squeezed back at the start. Flying K C ultimately ran the stronger race, finishing some six lengths ahead of Satin Frost. However, they’re both coming out of a very weak race and we don’t want either one here. We prefer Jennifer’s Legacy (#8), who ran well in her turf debut after making a wide move on the far turn, and did so against a stronger field. The winner, Baronet, returned to run admirably against stakes company. We’ll use her, but our top pick is HYDE PARK EXPRESS (#1). This filly only ran on turf once, at five furlongs against open company. Many horses have come back out of that race to significantly improve their speed figures, and she didn’t have a fair chance after a wide trip. She has a ton of turf pedigree as a daughter of Hat Trick, and is out of a dam that has produced four turf winners.
Selections: 1 – 8 – 5 – 10