RACE 7- FIRST LADY (8f T, 3:35 PM CST)

In a race loaded with front-running speed types that appear difficult to separate, why not take a shot with a bit of a price horse to start off the Pick 3? Of the nine fillies and mares entered, we classify six as “pace” types, two “stalker” types and just one as a “closer” type. She is the longest shot in the field, but we believe the likely race shape points to KITTEN’S POINT as the top selection here. A daughter of (you guessed it) Kitten’s Joy, she comes off a five month layoff here for trainer Graham Motion, who hits the board 50% of the time off the lay. More than that angle, we’re drawn to her two races at this distance this winter, where she finished a hard closing 2nd to Centre Court in the Grade II Honey Fox at Gulfstream following a win over that course against optional claiming company, where she passed six horses in the stretch. The difference between those races and her last, a 7th place finish in the Grade I Jenny Wiley, still beaten only 2.75 lengths over this course? The pace. After sitting behind fractions of :47/ 1:10.2 in the earlier two races, she saw only :48.3/1:13.3 in her last. We find it likely that the fractions here will more closely resemble the former, and in those races, she posted BRIS speed figures of 99 and 97 respectively, which are highly competitive in this field. The only other runner that shows any desire to sit off the pace is last year’s winner BETTER LUCKY. Five year old seems to have lost a step this year but figures to improve as she switches back to turf from dirt and stretches from 7f to 8f, and looms an overlay at 6-1 morning line as she attempts to defend her title. FILIMBI got a bad setup when favored prohibitively last out in the Grade II Ballston Spa, running close to a slow pace. She does her best running when sitting back just off a quicker pace and she should get that here. Take your pick between the speed, with the primary contenders all Graded Stakes winners, including SOMALI LEMONADE, DAYATTHESPA, DISCREET MARQ and ISTANFORD. Gun to the head, we’d side with the former as she is the only one to have shown the ability to rate and win at this level, and acquitted herself well when 5th in the Beverly D just 2.25 from the winner in what was the best female turf race in America to date. Still, this just feels like a race where the speed could lock horns and cause a wild outcome, and with the accomplished speed horses difficult to separate we will take an equally wild but quite defendable stab here.


1) Kitten’s Point 15-1

2) Better Lucky 6-1

3) Filimbi 7-2


We meet some new faces as the two year old-season heats up in this event, and again it appears to be very heavy on speed types, with 7 of the 11 entered classified as “pace” (assuming Conquest Tsunami scratches to the Bourbon as reported; he’d be the speed of the speed if not). Many of these need-the-lead types will be stretching out to two turns and the 8.5f distance for the first time, and while the first time stretchout angle is a very playable one, we will side with stalker types given the perceived competition and inexperience up front. The class of the field appears to be BOLD CONQUEST, a son of Curlin out of a Distorted Humor mare that boasts the 2nd highest Tomlinson Figure in the field for this distance. He overcame a wide trip to take the lead in the 8.5f Iroquois in his last, but couldn’t quite hold that advantage as he settled for the place spot by a neck. Showing the highest BRIS Speed Last Race and at this distance to boot, in addition to an 83 Beyer for that effort, his third consecutive ascending one, he appears clearly the one to beat. MR. Z was sent off as a heavy, nearly even money favorite in the Iroquois, but suffered from a bad ride when he was forced into the early pace on the stretchout. This is a colt who does his best running from a bit off the pace, a style that should suit him here assuming jockey Jon Court learned a valuable lesson after fading to 6th in his last after taking the colt out of his element. Toss that race, and it’s hard to overlook his field high BRIS Speed Figure of 94 at the 6.5f distance, a race that also earned a 79 Beyer and looks competitive here. There’s nothing to dislike about the pedigree here being by Malibu Moon, sire of ’13 Derby winner Orb, and out of a Storm Cat mare. The feeling here is that he is being horribly overlooked off of one poor ride, and he fits on class, having beaten likely favorite HASHTAG BOURBON when breaking his maiden at 6f over the Churchill surface. That one was a length and a half back of the top selection when 3rd in the Iroquois, and we will play against him here at these odds as he draws wide and figures to be closer to a hot pace than the above selections, and also shows the lowest Tomlinson Figure at this distance. Of the unknown quantities, the Pletcher trained CARPE DIEM looks most appealing. A $1.6 million purchase by WinStar Farm, this Giant’s Causeway colt out of an Unbridled’s Song mare comes off a powerful front-running win in his lone start, a 5.5f maiden race at Saratoga, where he posted a field high 84 Beyer. The other Giant’s Causeway colt is TOUGH CUSTOMER, out of an Arch mare, who broke his maiden in style, winning by 5.5 lengths at 7f with slightly lower speed figures than CARPE DIEM. That was just eight days ago, so this could be asking a lot in his first route try, although trainer Wayne Catalano wins 25% of the time with first time routers. That highest Tomlinson Figure runner you’ve been wondering about is another Curlin colt out of an Awesome Again mare, and he’s also the only true closer in the field. That’s KEEN ICE, who broke his maiden going 8f in his last, closing an incredible 8 lengths in the final furlong for the win. The main knock against him is that the Beyer he earned doing it (69) doesn’t nearly stack up against these, but let’s just say that he’ll benefit from the added distance here.


1) Bold Conquest 9-2

2) Z 12-1

3) Carpe Diem 4-1


Two time Horse of the Year WISE DAN makes his second start off a layoff following a brief ailment, and should get a good pace to setup his stalking style. He stands to improve off his last, when he was all out to beat OPTIMIZER, who has never been a Grade I type. He hasn’t lost a turf race in while, a really long while, but at some point this old fighter will meet his match. While he can’t be excluded from any multi-race wagers, it bears mention that even before his health issues this summer he only narrowly held off two runners here, SEEK AGAIN and KAIGUN, at similar distances, and those two have improved their form over the summer. We’ll side with the former here as he comes off a stalking win at this distance in the Grade 2 Fourstardave. Four year old may have really found his niche at this distance and enters in top form. The latter has split decisions with the top selection in their two meetings this year, finishing ahead at the 10f distance. He’ll certainly be one to benefit from a hot expected pace but we believe he needs more ground than this; expect him to be picking up pieces late but run out of room, just as he did in the two races we supported him in this spring, and those were at 9f and 10f respectively. Speedster SILVER MAX won this contest last year when it was moved off the turf to the poly, which is now dirt, and figures to have company on the front end from longshot TWO NOTCH ROAD that could compromise his chances.


1) Seek Again 7-2

2) Wise Dan 4-5

3) Kaigun 10-1


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