Saturday Stakes Preview: Hold Harmless can do some damage in the Herecomesthebride at Gulfstream

DontLetTheGamePassYouByfortfus

>>Go to the PPs for The Herecomesthebride Stakes | Post Time 2:25 EST Saturday

The Grade 3 Herecomesthebride Stakes drew an unusually deep field for a three-year-old turf contest in February. The main attraction is Catch a Glimpse, the winner of last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf. However, this race is no cakewalk, due in large part to the presence of Todd Pletcher’s undefeated Lira. The Pace Projector is predicting that Catch a Glimpse will take up her customary position on the early lead.

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Let’s break down the two main players:

#8, Catch a Glimpse (6/5): North America’s most accomplished juvenile turf filly kicks off her three-year-old campaign in this spot. In terms of speed figures, she’s a standout, having earned a 104 and 107 in her two stakes victories, while no other filly in this race has even broken into the triple-digit speed figure club. If you’re looking for chinks in the armor, one potential knock against her is the fact that both of her stakes wins have come over rain-softened turf courses, whereas she’ll be running over a firm course this time. Additionally, as is often a concern with two-year-old champions, we have to be open to the possibility that some members of her division may have caught up to her in their development during the three months she’s been away. The final consideration is value, since she is likely to go off at a very short price. While we’re certainly not against her, we’re also not interested in betting her at anything lower than her morning line price.

#4, Lira (2/1): This daughter of Giant’s Causeway has done little wrong through three career starts. The instant acceleration that’s been on display in each of her two stakes wins has justifiably turned some heads at this meet. While the quality of the fields she’s been facing is not quite up to par with the group that Catch a Glimpse defeated in the Breeders’ Cup, it’s not as if that Ginger Brew was a walk in the park (Pricedtoperfection has some talent). Her versatility and recency make her the biggest threat to the favorite. However, she’s so obviously the primary alternative that we doubt we’re going to get much in terms of value.

There’s quite a gap between the two aforementioned fillies and the rest of the field, but we do believe there are a couple of others that are worth highlighting: 

#1, Pulled the Goalie (6/1): This filly was no match for Catch a Glimpse in two starts at Woodbine last year. She kicked off her three-year-old campaign in a first-level allowance race in early January over a turf course rated good, but it was actually closer to soft. She was forced to race in traffic for much of the race and appeared to shake loose too late to get to the leaders. However, she unleashed an awesome stretch kick, making up over five lengths in the final furlong to get up for the win. The 99 speed figure she earned makes her the second fastest filly in the field, but we wonder whether she’ll be able to replicate that performance over a firmer course.

#2, Hold Harmless (10/1): 

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Of those with only a maiden win to their credit, this is the filly that interests us most. After an even debut in an off-the-turf race last November, she took a giant leap forward second time out when moved to her preferred surface. Breaking from post thirteen, she got a crafty ride from Joel Rosario, who was able to find his way down to the rail and work out a ground-saving trip. Hold Harmless was obviously loaded on the far turn, but Rosario was forced to wait for a hole to open. She found room along the rail at the top of the stretch and did what she was supposed to do, coming with a strong run to get up for the win before galloping out well ahead of the field. She’s been working strongly since then, and we’re encouraged by this confident placement by Shug McGaughey, who wastes no time stepping her up into stakes company. Her pedigree indicates that the sky is the limit, since she’s a full sister to turf stakes winner Onus and her dam is a half-sister to a slew of high-class runners, including the brilliant Ironicus. McGaughey has excellent trainer stats at Gulfstream Park and gets a 92 trainer rating when riding John Velazquez. She needs to run much faster than the 89 speed figure she earned last out, but we believe that the upside is there for her to do so, and the price should be fair.

THE PLAY

Win:  2

Exacta Key Box:  2 with 4,8

 

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