There are some very intriguing first-time starters in this maiden event. The one that is likely to attract the most support is Katama Moonlight (#1), who goes out for Chad Brown. While this filly has the pedigree to be a nice horse, as the $400,000 purchase price would suggest, it’s really more of a route pedigree. Her full brother Noble Moon was best around two turns on the dirt, winning the Grade 2 Jerome a few years ago. I’m definitely using her, but there are others that have a right to do well on first asking, and you’re not getting any value with this one.
Perhaps the most intriguing new face is Birdy Num (#8), a $1 million yearling purchase who makes her debut for Tom Albertrani. While this barn isn’t renowned for its success on debut, Albertrani has gotten firsters to win for these owners on several occasions over the past few seasons. This filly has loads of pedigree, as her dam won the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks, and she is a full sister to stakes winner Believe in Royalty. She’s trained well in the morning, so I would take this one very seriously.
I could also give a look to horses like Moon and Stars (#7) or Cover Photo (#9), but the board will be my guide with the firsters.
My top pick is one of the few fillies with experience. I have to bet back CARIBA (#3) off her debut effort. I had liked her quite a bit that day, but she took very little play, going off at 7-1. They paid a lot of money for this daughter of Cairo Prince, and it’s easy to see why. Her dam is a half-sister to Hello Liberty, who won the Grade 2 Nassau County and was second in the Grade 1 Acorn, as well as dirt sprint stakes winner Pious Ashley. I had watched a few of this filly’s morning workouts prior to her debut, and while they weren’t fast drills, I loved the way she moved over the ground. Her debut effort was a disappointment, but she was also very green, trying to lug in throughout the stretch run under a frustrated Junior Alvarado. She’s bred to sprint, and I think we’ll see a more professional effort this time.
Exacta Key Box: 3 with 1,4,7,8
Trifecta: 3 with 1,8 with 1,4,7,8,9