Let’s get this all-graded stakes Pick-4 off to a nice start with a price.
Carrumba (#6) figures to go off as the heavy favorite. While we were encouraged to see her return in good form, we’re a little skeptical of the “question mark” 120 speed figure assigned to her last race, since it seems pretty high for many of the runners involved. If Carrumba repeats that figure, she will probably win, but we believe she doesn’t have that great of an edge on this field and will be an underlay.
Many will regard Cavorting (#1) as her main rival. One could argue that she had excuses in her two tries at today’s one-mile distance, but we are also concerned about her current form. She just doesn’t appear to possess the same spark that she had last summer. Paulassilverlining has obviously gotten very good, but Cavorting was supposed to offer up more of a challenge last time.
Calamity Kate (#4) faced the best fillies in her division during the second half of last year and actually gave a good account of herself in a deep edition of the Grade 1 Cotillion. We can forgive her Breeders’ Cup effort, and she may have been feeling the effects from a hard campaign when she lost as the 3/5 favorite at Zia Park last November. She’s the controlling speed, but she must prove she’s ready to win off the layoff.
Given these questions, we want to take a shot with SPELLING AGAIN (#3).
She had been in great form through last fall, and we feel she has been compromised in her two most recent starts. She raced towards the inside on November 27, a day at Aqueduct that was strongly favoring horses that avoided the rail. Then, in the Grade 1 Madison last time out, Spelling Again had a valid excuse, since she was steadied hard around the far turn.
Bad Cox, who gets a decent enough 75 trainer rating with runners coming off layoffs, gets a 100 trainer rating when those horses make their second starts back from a break. Her tactical speed should have her well-positioned just off Calamity Kate in the early going.