Saturday’s card at Betfair Hollywood Park includes the Grade 3 Native Diver Handicap over a mile and an eighth, which stars beaten Breeders’ Cup Classic favorite Game On Dude. A highly interesting race it’s sure to be, but there isn’t much to get excited about in betting terms, so we’ll instead focus our attention on Aqueduct.
Saturday’s feature at Aqueduct is the $75,000 Garland of Roses Stakes. Kid Kate is the 2/1 morning line favorite, but she looks none too attractive at that price: her Performance Figures have rather flatlined of late, and at a level which would make her vulnerable to a number of her rivals in this race. She also looks likely to suffer a difficult wide trip.
As far as betting goes, Delightful Quality makes a lot more appeal. This lightly-raced filly has been handled with typical patience by her connections (Tom Albertrani/Darley Stables) and she has improved her Performance Figure with every start. On her last outing, just her fourth overall, Delightful Quality posted a Performance Figure of 110, the best figure anything in the field has earned this year.
Delightful Quality has admittedly come up short on her last two starts, but they both represent strong efforts. On the first occasion at Saratoga, she was beaten only by My Miss Aurelia, keeping on willingly nonetheless. Her most recent run came at Belmont in late-September, when she was always close to the pace in a rapidly-run contest. Even so, she was able to split Ullapool and Willet, the latter of which has since won a $150k stakes race and finished second in the Grade 2 Go For Wand. Furthermore, fourth-placed Los Ojitos finished a competitive third in the Safely Kept last time out.
In terms of those you should consider for the exotics, Morrow Cove and Singlet are givens on the form book, but there’s also another a bit further down the betting. Curlina actually boasts the highest Performance Figure of any of these (a 118 at Belmont last June), but has struggled on both starts this year following a 15-month layoff. There have been excuses on both occasions, however, trapped three wide last time yet finishing only three and half lengths behind Kid Kate. We know Curlina is quick out of the gate and, from a rail draw, she could get herself an uncontested lead, one which may just help her outrun unflattering odds.
Recommendation: Back Delightful Quality; use Morrow Cove, Singlet and Curlina underneath