I suppose the discussion has to start with the Adirondack winner—and lone stakes winner in the field—Nonna Mela (#3). There’s clearly plenty to like about this filly. Unlike some other Todd Pletcher two-year-olds, she was not a finished product when she made her debut. She extracted valuable seasoning from her first couple of starts. She put it all together in that Adirondack win last time, as she contested a fast pace (color-coded in red) and just widened her margin through the stretch in a visually impressive performance.
That said, you get the feeling that no one else did a step of running in that race. For instance, Libby’s Tail (#2), who actually went off as the Adirondack favorite, just did not appear to be the same horse we saw when she debuted in early July. Racing with front bandages, she had to be ridden into contention on the turn and came up completely empty in the stretch. However, her debut was such an impressive performance that I don’t want to completely dismiss her off one bad effort. Both of the Adirondack fillies are bred to handle this one-mile distance, since Libby’s Tail is a daughter of Tiz Wonderful and Nonna Mela is out of a full-sister to Bluegrass Cat. The Pletcher filly will be the much shorter price, and deservedly so, but I could use both of them.
Of the three debut winners, Colorful Charades appears to be overmatched as she comes out of a slow race against a decidedly weaker field than the other two encountered. However, the other two definitely interest me. Sky Gesture (#1) figures to play out as the controlling speed in this race. She and the runner-up, Cursor, really separated themselves from the rest of the field in the stretch of their debut, and that filly came back to win impressively earlier this week. My only knock against Sky Gesture is that there is a lot of sprint breeding on the dam’s side of her pedigree.
One filly that I can find no knocks against is YELLOW AGATE (#4).
Frankly, it almost seems too easy. This filly comes out of a very fast race—one of the fastest two-year-old maiden races run in New York so far this year. While she got a very good trip that day in a race that featured a quick pace, she showed plenty of professionalism and appears more than ready to make this step up into stakes company. She is supposed to get some solid stamina pedigree from her dam, so I’m not that concerned about the stretch-out in distance. The Pace Projector is predicting a fast pace, and she certainly has the right running style to capitalize on it. I don’t expect a huge price, but she’s the one that I’ll be keying on.
Exacta Key Box: 4 with 1,2,3
Trifecta: 4 with 1,2,3 with 1,2,3