#1 Yahilwa looks tough in the Santa Maria off of her previous TimeformUS Speed Figures.
We aren’t enamored of #2 Thegirlinthatsong at 5-2 on the ML either. She has a similar profile to Warren’s Veneda. She’s a journeyman closer who has won 5 of 19 career starts and is coming in off a top speed figure of 104, which makes her only marginally competitive. Not for us.
#1 Yahilwa (5-1 ML) makes sense coming off a dull effort with a nice 70-day freshening. Her races two and three back make her very competitive in here. Yahilwa has a nice combination of tactical speed (105 early pace rating) and finishing ability (68 late pace rating) to make her dangerous in this spot. It’s easy to see her biding her time on the inside and getting first run on the closers if and when the speed folds. Should the morning line hold up, we intend to “come on down” to the betting windows (or punch in a large wager on our iPads) because the price is right.
Of the others, #8 Awesome Baby is one of several Bob Baffert-trained horses entered in the Santa Maria and the one we like best. Unlike most of the other contenders in this race, she comes in fresh, running her second race off a 280-day layoff. This lightly raced filly appears to want two turns, as she is two-for-three at 8.5F. Her most recent comeback race was at 6.5 furlongs, and she got used up on the lead. Awesome Baby (strong 84 breeding rating) is sired by Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Awesome Again and has long-winded Irish steed Running Stag on her dam-side. There’s some question if she can withstand the expected early pace pressure and finish strongly enough, but the 8-1 morning line offers good value.
The Play: #1 Yahilwa to win at 4-1+. #1 Yahilwa in an Exacta box with #8 Awesome Baby. Use both in horizontal wagers. Straight Exacta #1 Yahilwa over #6 Warren’s Veneda.