Lamontagne (#1) has run well in both of her starts since returning from the layoff, leading to the eighth pole against better allowance company two back before finishing a good second in a 14-horse field at Pimlico. She now finds herself dropping back down into starter company and is the deserving favorite. However, her hand may be forced from the rail given her early foot, and she will have to deal with the speedy Magsamelia to her outside.
Magsamelia (#3) ran well despite not making the lead two back, and then really got back on track last time, assuming her customary position on the front end and just hanging on for the dead heat. We respect any horse in good form, but she steps up in class again today and has to deal with Lamontagne to her inside. We’re slightly against her.
The wild card in this race is Tizanillusion (#5), who has been steadily improving for Brian Lynch and steps up to face older horses for the first time after an encouraging run in the Crank It Up Stakes at Monmouth. She wasn’t facing the toughest field that day, but we don’t want to ignore her here.
Our top selection is ESTHER THE QUEEN (#8).
While she has only been facing New York-bred company, she is coming out of two unusually deep allowance races (note the high race ratings). Two back she may have moved too soon into a fast pace (color-coded in red) and then last time she got caught up chasing the very quick Animal Appeal, who ran them all off their feet. If she’s more patiently ridden today, she is good enough to pull off the minor upset, and we believe those will be the tactics that her connections employ given that they’re removing blinkers.
Exacta Key Box: 8 with 1,5
Trifecta: 8 with 1,5 with 1,3,4,5,6