The 65th running of the Grade 3, $150,000 Gallorrette Handicap has not drawn any of the stars of this division, but it is a fascinating race, featuring a large field of runners converging from a variety of venues. Tiger Ride (#3) was made the tepid morning line favorite at 7/2, but there really is no one runner to be afraid of in this wide-open affair.
As is the case with all of the turf races carded for Saturday at Pimlico, it would be wise to keep a close eye on the weather forecasts throughout the day. Rain is expected at some point, which will inevitably have an effect on the turf course. It remains to be seen whether we’ll be dealing with a “good” course with a little give to it or a complete bog by the time this race goes off.
The Pace Projector is predicting that Monster Sleeping (#1) will lead this field early as she stretches out from a sprint. While she’s certainly fast enough to take the initiative early, we believe she’ll face early company from, and may even yield to, Mizz Money (#9), who is the only designated “Speed” runner in the field. Considering that so many of these fillies have similar running styles, the pack could be fairly bunched throughout, making trips of utmost importance.
Let’s go through the field:
#1, Monster Sleeping (15/1): This versatile admirable mare has won half a million dollars the hard way, picking up smaller checks over the years in minor stakes and starter allowance races. She comes into this race in some of the best form of her career, having won three of her last five starts while sweeping a couple of Maryland-bred stakes to close out her 2015 campaign. Her return victory came against a weaker group than the one she meets today, but she has a right to move forward off that effort. She’s equally as effective going five and a half furlongs as she is at a mile and an eighth, so the distance is no concern. She’s one of many possibilities in this wide-open race.
#2, Peace Prize (30/1): Her stateside debut came over a turf course that was much closer to soft than good. Nevertheless, we were not overly impressed with her finish and she’s taking a gigantic leap up in class today. We prefer others.
#3, Tiger Ride (7/2):
She was soundly defeated in the Grade 1 Jenny Wiley last time, but she was also facing the toughest field of her career—a much more ambitious placing than this spot. Tepin won that race comfortably by five lengths, so Tiger Ride only finished four lengths behind the runner-up that day—not a bad showing considering that she had to race three-wide around both turns. The 119 speed figure that she was assigned for the effort is the highest in the field. This filly has been the picture of consistency, showing up with solid performances regardless of surface or track condition, while at times taking on the best runners in her division. She is very much the horse to beat, but there isn’t that much room for error.
#4, Camille Claudel (20/1): If she stays in this race on turf, she’s one of the potential pace players, but that’s about it. She does not have much grass pedigree to speak of, so we’re leaving her out.
#5, Ol’ Fashion Gal (6/1): This filly showed some talent early on in her career, but her three-year-old season was cut short after she won the Selene Stakes over Woodbine’s synthetic surface. She’s returned this year with a pair of fine performances despite not winning on either occasion. Last time at Keeneland, it appeared as if she were going to finish off the board as the field entered the stretch, but she fought on gamely, turning back multiple challenges before finally getting nailed at the wire. This filly has some fight in her and should not be taken lightly. The only drawback is that she has no prior experience racing over turf courses rated less than firm. She’ll certainly be somewhere on our tickets, but we’ll be keying our wagers around others.
#6, Nisharora (12/1):
She has been plagued by layoffs recently, but is finally getting the chance to put back-to-back races together. This late runner was a little unlucky not to win last time after getting stymied in traffic at mid-stretch. She finished strongly once Karamanos was able to steer her out into the clear, and she certainly has a right to move forward off that race. Her best speed figures from last year suggest that she has a chance to take down the top prize today. Kelly Rubley has been having a rough go of it this year, but don’t be too turned off by that since she gets a 100 trainer overall trainer rating on the Maryland circuit. Nisharora would offer value at or around her morning line price of 12/1.
#7, Flying Tipat (15/1): While the speed figure came back at a respectable 111, she was beating a much weaker field last time out at Gulfstream. We respect Dale Romans for taking a shot, but we get the feeling that she’s still a cut below the top contenders.
#8, Josdesanimaux (4/1): Not counting the race at Belmont in which she lost her rider at the start, this filly was bringing a four-race winning streak into her 2016 seasonal debut. Though she was defeated as the favorite, she still put in an encouraging effort, making a minor late impact to get up for second while earning a career-best 113 speed figure. The trainer change to Mark Casse doesn’t seem to have fazed her. She’s working very strongly coming into this race and her versatile running style should give Jose Lezcano options. Furthermore, she’s handled wet turf courses in the past—note the boggy going when she won on September 5 at Gulfstream. She’s not one to be taken lightly.
#9, Mizz Money (9/2): She twice dueled with Cash Control in a pair of stakes at Fair Grounds this winter, and that one came back to finish third behind the almighty Tepin in the Distaff Mile on Kentucky Derby day. However, it must be noted that once you got past the champion, that was not the deepest field in the world, so we don’t want to overemphasize Mizz Money’s company lines. Most of those Fair Grounds races did not register too favorably on the speed figure scale and we question the overall quality of the races once you get beyond the top two finishers. A rain-softened turf course also remains a question for this one. We understand why some might gravitate towards her, but we feel that she’s one of the most likely candidates to be an underlay, especially with Javier Castellano named aboard.
#10, Ginger N Rye (12/1): While Nisharora was stuck in traffic last time, this filly came running on late for second while racing out in the clear. She did have to go slightly wider around the turns than Nisharora, but that often comes with the territory. That Dahlia performance was by far the best race of her career. If she continues to move forward she could have a say in the outcome, but that’s a big ‘if’ considering that her wins as a three-year-old came against decidedly weaker company. She’s got an outside chance, but we prefer others.
#11, Vielsalm (30/1):
This mare could be helped most of all by significant rainfall. She’s won over courses rated from good to soft and appears to prefer those conditions to firm going. We really liked the run she put in to take down her 2015 finale, rallying between horses while weaving her way through traffic, stopping and starting at a couple of points. She was never a factor in her sprint return, but Forrest Boyce also never asked her for anything close to her best that day, clearly looking forward to a goal down the road. We’re not crazy about the post position, but we still think this is one of the more interesting contenders in the race, especially since she’s likely to get overlooked in the wagering. A small win bet may be in order if the price is large enough, but we’ll primarily use her underneath in exotics.
#12, Heath (6/1): She came closest to beating Lady Eli during that filly’s abbreviated 2015 campaign, finishing just a half-length short of her in the Wonder Again at Belmont. She couldn’t quite keep pace with Sentiero Italia or Miss Temple City in the Lake Placid last summer, but either one of those fillies would be heavy favorites in this spot. There’s obviously talent here and we were especially encouraged by her return effort at Keeneland last time. The course had taken quite a bit of rain and she showed a new dimension, rating off the pace before making a visually impressive four-wide sweep to the lead off the far turn. It’s fair to be turned off by the post position, but she’s fast enough to compete for top honors and her newfound versatility should help Florent Geroux work out the right trip.
We believe the most intriguing runners in this are Tiger Ride (#3), Nisharora (#6), Josdesanimaux (#8), Vielsalm (#11), and Heath (#12). Tiger Ride and Josdesanimaux are probably not going to offer significant value and we’re concerned enough about the post position for Heath to keep her out of the running for our top selection.
Therefore, we want to key on Nisharora (#6), whom we will certainly be betting to win, and long shot Vielsalm (#11), whom we’ll primarily work into our exotic wagers.
Win: #6, Nisharora, at odds of 8/1 or higher
Win/Place: #11, Vielsalm
Exacta Key Box:
6,11 with 3,5,6,8,9,11,12
6 with 3,8,11,12 with 1,3,5,8,9,10,11,12
3,8,11,12 with 6 with 1,3,5,8,9,10,11,12