Face It (#4) is going to be the favorite here after trouncing a field of maidens by 10 lengths last time out in her first route attempt. The added ground clearly helped her, and she appears to be figuring the game out, as she showed vastly improved early speed in that win last time. On the other hand, she beat an absolute pitiful field. The margin of victory was totally a product of the competition, since the runner-up returned to run horribly as an odds-on favorite in a slow race on Thursday. Face It probably needs to improve her speed figures to win this race, and I never like picking favorites in that situation.
The problem with this field is that all of the alternatives have flaws. Out of Trouble (#2) and Best Performance (#1) are both better on turf, and the latter may want less ground. Harkness (#3) has some competitive speed figures in her past performances, but I’m not convinced that she wants to go this far and she usually settles for minor awards.
Therefore, I’m left with AIKENETTA (#5) as my top selection. I realize that she appears to be a bit cheaper than some of her rivals, but I cannot deny that her two races for Rudy Rodriguez are far and away the best efforts of her career. She made a decisive move off the far turn to win going away on Sept. 14, running a figure that makes her just as fast as Face It. Then last time, she actually ran much better than it appears on the turf behind the talented Competitionofideas. That race was dominated by closers and Aikenetta did well to hold on for second after carving out a legitimate pace. The low-percentage rider should ensure a generous price on this improving filly.
Exacta Key Box: 5 with 1,3,4
Trifecta: 4,5 with 4,5 with 1,2,3