The Grade 1, $300,000 La Brea has a field of 10 three-year-old fillies going seven furlongs on the dirt. Two shippers, Cavorting and Hot City Girl, figure to take a lot of money, as does Ben’s Duchess.
According to the TimeformUS Pace Projector, the La Brea will have a pace that favors speed horses. Hot City Girl is shown on a clear early lead. She is followed by Lily Pod, Pleasant Tales, and Finest City, who are stalking side by side.
The fastest Late Pace rating, a 118, belongs to Rattataptap.
Here is the field in post position order, with morning line odds in parentheses:
Birdatthewire (6-1): Shipper is primarily a router, though she has been effective in both of her sprints. Draws the rail and figures to be coming from well behind against a pace conducive to speed. Her top speed figure from 10 starts is a 109, which leaves this two-time Grade 2 winner a little short against the best of these.
Hot City Girl (3-1):
Linda Rice filly comes in off the best performance of her career: a romping win in a minor stake at Laurel over this distance, an effort that earned her a lifetime top speed figure of 118. Put in a fast work over the surface a week ago. Has shipped rather well previously. May be able to control the pace today. Has previously shown the ability to come from just off the pace. Rice gets a 90 rating with circuit switchers. A repeat of that 118 would make her hard to handle today.
Cavorting (5-2): In the hunt for an Eclipse Award, she is a Grade 1 winner who comes in off a rough-trip fourth in the BCFM Sprint. Looking past that race (which was hardly a disgrace in any event), her recent speed figures were 111 112 116. She is taking a healthy drop in class according to our Race Ratings. She may have the pace against her today, but on her best she packs quite a wallop. Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin gets a 92 rating with this spacing, a 98 with this rider, and a 96 when switching circuits. Classy, fast, and in superb hands, she gives us plenty to like, but SA can be a hard track to close on even when the pace does not favor frontrunners. Tough call at unexciting odds.
Maybellene (15-1): Baffert router returns from a layoff at 7F. She has proven herself at the Grade 1 level and gets Bejarano (93 rating with Baffert). Baffert gets a 99 rating off comparable layoffs and a 100 going route to sprint. But Maybellene figures to be coming from well behind and she’ll probably need a lifetime top in what could prove uninviting circumstances.
Lily Pod (20-1): Was soundly beaten in an optional claimer (in which she was claimproof). Returns on short rest for a very sharp trainer, but we’d need to see more before supporting her against the likes of these.
Ben’s Duchess (3-1): Co-second choice on the morning line is 3 for 5 lifetime on this surface. Lacked stretch punch in her lone try at a distance this far. Her best speed figures are reasonably competitive. Enters off a romping win in a Grade 3, and according to our Race Ratings, it was a strong Grade 3. But she received a perfect setup from a pace standpoint. (Note pace figures and race fractions color-coded in red, denoting a fast pace.) Seems the most likely winner of the local fillies, and may be able to keep up early, but the odds don’t figure to be all that enticing for a filly who seems a trifle less talented than the two most talented shippers.
Rattataptap (12-1): On the cutback today for a super-sharp trainer. Has run some grass figures that could play in here. Her dirt numbers are a cut below. Has had no success against graded company. Pace Projector shows her in last place early. Hard to see her winning from there, but a late run into exotics, at a big price, is not out of the question.
Pleasant Tales (20-1): The most heavily raced filly in the field, she seems too slow for this kind of assignment.
Moyo Honey (20-1): Much too slow.
Finest City (8-1): Draws a friendly post given her stalking style. Proved overmatched in her lone stakes try. Speed figures are strong but headed in the wrong direction. There is talent here, but we want to see her turn things around before playing her to run the sort of number she’ll need against these.
We’re going to proceed based on the assumption that Cavorting will be the solid favorite in the wagering. Then we’re going to make Hot City Girl our top choice—on the grounds that she has the fastest last-out speed figure in the field by a considerable margin and is favored by the Pace Projector.