I’m not trying to beat LADY ELI (#5) this time. I thought she might be a little vulnerable coming off the layoff last time, and just ended up picking the wrong long shot to beat her. However, I don’t even think I was necessarily right about her needing the race. In some ways, that Ballston Spa was the best race she ever ran. Never before had she been forced to chase a fast pace like that, and her task was made even more difficult when she inherited the lead so early in the stretch. I wouldn’t necessarily blame Irad Ortiz for that—it was all dictated by the race flow.
Today Lady Eli finds herself in a much more comfortable, and familiar, position. The pace is likely to be on the slow side, which plays right into her main strength: that lethal turn of foot over the last quarter mile. She’s already won at the distance over this course, and her return is a clear indication that she’s as good as she ever was. I don’t see how they beat her today.
That said, I don’t want to completely dismiss Sentiero Italia (#4). She ran a game race in the Ballston Spa in her own right, since she technically did make the first move into that blazing pace. She, too, can get a mile and a quarter, and she may find herself controlling the pace on the front end. She would need some luck to turn the tables on Lady Eli, but I could definitely be talked into using her on top as a backup given a fair price—likely upwards of 3/1.
Sea Calisi (#6) has done little wrong in this country, but she’s yet to meet the likes of the two aforementioned runners. I’d restrict her use to the bottom of exactas and trifectas. The same goes for shipper Ame Bleue (#1), who has actually kept some decent company in France. However, she rarely wins, and she finds herself in an especially deep Flower Bowl.
Trifecta: 4,5 with 4,5 with 1,2,6
Trifecta: 5 with 1,2,6 with 4