Most will perceive this as a two-horse race between Jc’s Shooting Star and Bella Joy.
Jc’s Shooting Star (#2) has faced much tougher fields in recent starts (race ratings of 111 and 113), compared to today’s (95-rated) group of New York-bred allowance runners. Her recent dirt speed figures, ranging from 97 to 100, are good enough to win a race at this level and she’s proven that she’s effective around two turns. While she was totally overmatched in the Comely last time, her prior effort in the Empire Distaff was very strong, even if she was with the grain of a racetrack that was favoring outside paths.
Bella Joy (#3) turned in a breakout performance last time when winning at the N1X level. She’s put together some solid dirt efforts, but a closer examination of the fields she beat reveals that they were much weaker than what she faces today. (In other words, there were no Jc’s Shooting Stars in those races.)
We’re going to take a shot against both of them with IN SPITE OF MAMA (#6).
This filly ran well going two turns over the inner track a year ago before going badly off form over the summer. She’s been subtly improving in recent races. Two back, she set a supersonic pace going a mile before understandably fading late. The runner that was chasing the fast pace that day, Lady Luciano, has come back with a series of improved performances, so there’s reason to believe we can expect better out of In Spite of Mama as well. Last time she turned back to a sprint, but we feel that this stretch-out in distance should suit her better. She’s predicted to be up close stalking a pace that favors horses on or near the lead and her best speed figures put her right in line with the favorites.
EXACTA Key Box: #6 with 2,3