There are a couple of intriguing first-time starters in this race: Julia’s Music (#1), a Stonestreet homebred that goes out for Kiaran McLaughlin, and Clair de Lune (#4), an expensive yearling purchase conditioned by Chad Brown. Both will have to be considered if they are taking significant money, but for now we’ll focus on those with experience.
Avendesora (#9) earned the highest last-out speed figure, recording an 89 when finishing a good fourth behind the promising Browse earlier this month. Christophe Clement gets a 94 trainer rating with second-time starters, so it’s reasonable to expect another good effort today. Army Brat (#7) has a right to move forward out of her debut for Linda Rice, who rarely wins first time out, but routinely improves her second-time starters. We may have already seen the best out of J R Star (#3), who makes her fourth start for Rudy Rodriguez, but she has every right to make an impact here, especially if a few of the others don’t step forward.
Yet we spot a higher-priced alternative that may get overlooked in the wagering.
MALIBU STACY (#5) recorded a field-best 97 speed figure in her second start at Keeneland when finishing behind subsequent stakes winner Carina Mia. Her last race looks disappointing on the surface, but a closer viewing of the replay reveals that she may have been discouraged by an under-aggressive ride. The pace was slow, but for whatever reason, her rider did not send her through to the lead despite having every opportunity to do so. She instead got trapped on the rail in behind a couple of tiring runners who ended up finishing second- and third-to-last. Today, as long as Manny Franco gets her out of the gate, she’s fast enough to go to the front and not look back.
Win bet on MALIBU STACY (#5)
Exacta key box using MALIBU STACY (#5) with Julia’s Music (#1), J R Star (#3), Army Brat (#7), and Avendesora (#9)