The Victory Ride is only a Grade 3 event, but it would not be surprising to see many of these fillies return in next month’s Grade 1 Test at Saratoga. The deserving favorite is Mia Mischief (#5), who has earned speed figures that make her significantly faster than all of her rivals. Talk Veuve to Me flattered the form of the Eight Belles last time when she returned to finish a strong second to Monomoy Girl in the Acorn. The only minor concern for Mia Mischief is that she may have to rate off the speedy Sower, but she did that successfully at Oaklawn two back. I’m not against her, but the price does figure to be short.
Separationofpowers (#3) was a very talented 2-year-old last year, winning her debut at Saratoga in very fast time before defeating eventual champion Caledonia Road in the Grade 1 Frizette. She actually ran a creditable race in the Breeders’ Cup, as she had to rush up to contest the pace after breaking slowly from the outside post. THIS filly is talented, but over the past five years, Chad Brown is 0 for 9 with horses turning back to sprints on dirt off layoffs of 120 to 240 days.
Sower (#4) was impressive in winning the Jersey Girl last time out, but that came against vastly inferior foes, so she gets a serious class test here. She may also have to deal with the speedy Classy Act (#10) on the front end.
My top pick is SPECTATOR (#8). This filly was entered to run under Phil D’Amato in the Acorn a month ago, but they instead elected to cut her back in distance while keeping her in New York with Michelle Nevin. Over the past five years, Nevin is 15 for 57 (26 percent, $4.09 ROI) off trainer switches in dirt sprints. Spectator has run very well in both of her starts as a 3-year-old. She defeated some solid older horses when winning off the layoff going this distance in March, and she followed that up with a game second to Midnight Bisou in the Santa Anita Oaks. I think shorter is better for this filly, and she projects to sit a great stalking trip.
Exacta Key Box: 8 with 3,4,5,10
Trifecta: 5,8 with 5,8 with 3,4,6,10