The Grade 1, $300,000 Starlet has a field of nine two-year-old fillies going a mile and 1/16 on the dirt. The only graded stakes winner in the field is Pretty N Cool, though the favorite on the morning line in this contentious field is Pacific Heat.
According to the TimeformUS Pace Projector, the Starlet will have a fast pace. Pretty N Cool is projected to be the early leader. Mama’s Sugar, Surfside Tiara, and Pacific Heat are shown in stalking positions.
The fastest Late Pace rating in the field belongs to Street Fancy.
Here is the field in post position order, with morning line odds in parentheses:
Treasuring (6-1): Baffert filly is one of four horses who are exiting the Desi Arnaz Stakes, which was run at Del Mar over seven furlongs in August. In that race she sat second, off a fast pace (note pace figure color-coded in red), and put in a nice run, coming up half a length shy of victory. She earned a lifetime top speed figure of 95 for that effort and draws well here. Her only previous try around two turns resulted in a disappointing effort, but she is certainly bred to handle the distance, and Baffert gets a 91 rating going sprint to route. She is proven over this track and is one of many contenders in this field.
Street Fancy (5-1): Another exiting the Desi Arnaz, she broke clumsily and made a strong late run to end up in a photo with Treasuring. Today she will be making the third start of her career and her first start around two turns. She, too, has strong distance breeding (breeding rating of 88). Trainer Phil D’Amato is dangerous every time he puts a horse on the racetrack, and he gets a rating of 100 when going sprint to route. Plenty of upside and, as mentioned, she has the fastest Late Pace rating in a race projected to have a fast pace.
Stays in Vegas (7-2): One of two Hollendorfer starters, she is 4 for 5 lifetime, and her last two races—both victories—have come on the grass. From her five starts, she has produced three speed figures of 96, two of them on dirt. That would seem to answer the dirt question satisfactorily, but the flatness of her pattern is a minor concern, since two-year-olds should be running new tops frequently, and this filly has yet to improve on her debut figure. Perhaps the return to dirt will do the trick. In any event, with four stakes victories under her belt, she is a strong contender, and Hollendorfer gets a 94 rating going turf to dirt.
Pacific Heat (3-1): Broke her maiden over this surface in her debut, winning by 13.5 lengths over Cal-breds at 5.5F and earning a speed figure of 97. Came right back to scuttle a field of Cal-Bred stakes fillies over 7F at Del Mar, while seeing her figure regress by two points. Daughter of Unusual Heat figures to have little trouble with the added distance. However, our Race Ratings show that she is making a significant jump in class—from a race rated 93 to a race rated 101. Also figures to be near a strong early pace.
Patriotic Diamond (12-1): Biancone filly is a little light on speed figures, but we’ll say in her defense that she lost much ground going four-wide around the turn while winning a bottom-level Cal-bred allowance in her most recent start. Our breeding ratings don’t particularly fancy her chances as she makes her route debut, and Biancone gets poor trainer ratings in the relevant categories.
Surfside Tiara (6-1): The “other” Hollendorfer, she is another who exits the Desi Arnaz, in which she closed well to finish a close fourth. She will be making her route debut today. Our breeding ratings indicate that she is reasonably well-suited to the task. She ran well enough on this racetrack in her debut. She has twice run triple-digit speed figures. Indeed, her best speed figures make her more than a match for all of her opponents except Pretty N Cool. Bejarano sticks, and she has been training regularly at Santa Anita.
Mama’s Sugar (15-1): Pete Miller second-time starter made a 3-4 wide move around the turn and drew off to beat maidens by over six lengths in her debut, which came at Del Mar over 6.5 furlongs. Her Lookin At Lucky breeding bodes well for the extra distance. Pete Miller gets an 87 rating with second-time starters and a 75 rating with first-time routers. She will need to improve today, but she is certainly eligible to do so, and the price figures to be appetizing.
Sutton’s Smile (10-1): The “other” D’Amato, her debut, back in July, was dull, and she was immediately switched to the grass, where she eventually earned figures in the mid 90s and got herself stakes placed. Bred to handle dirt as well as turf, she has a closing style that would be flattered by a fast pace. The surface is the biggest question mark here.
Pretty N Cool: (5-1):
Baffert filly is 3 for 5 lifetime—all sprints—and has a Grade 2 victory to her credit, making her the most accomplished filly in this field. As mentioned, she has the fastest speed figures in the field. However, her breeding is slightly slanted towards sprints, she draws a tough post, she was dull in her most recent start, and she may find herself compromised by the expected fast pace. But let’s not go overboard with the negativity. She does have a simple fact in her favor: Negatives notwithstanding, her best race would give her an excellent chance to win this race.
The Play: At ML odds of 5-1, Pretty N Cool would be our choice.