The favorites are posted toward the outside in this one-mile maiden event. I suppose Romantic Pursuit (#7) is the horse to beat off her encouraging debut effort. She actually broke just fine that day, but she was very slow into stride thereafter, losing contact with the field in the run down the backstretch. Once this filly finally hit her best stride coming to the quarter pole, she did well to pass most of the field, nearly getting up for second on the wire.
Stonewalker (#6) has a similar profile to Romantic Pursuit, in that she’s stretching out off a third-place finish in a slow race. Given the way she ran in that debut, I think she’s likely to improve going a mile, but the jury’s still out regarding her overall ability.
In some ways, Always Shopping (#8) is more trustworthy given that she’s already handled the distance. She didn’t show much in her debut at Saratoga, but she took a big step forward last time, making a sustained outside run after getting off the rail. I tend to think that others can surpass if they improve with added distance, but I’m not going to be surprised when she wins.
I’m using all of these horses, but I want to get a bit more creative, so I’m taking a shot with MISS MARILYN (#4). Generally, I want to stay away from horses that made their debuts in off-the-turf races. However, I want to be somewhat forgiving of this one because I don’t think Miss Marilyn is really meant for the turf. She’s by dirt route sire Bellamy Road and she’s a half-sister to dirt sprinter Phi Beta Express. She didn’t run particularly fast in her debut, but I thought she needed the race. She was inside early and seemed to lose interest on the turn before angling to the center of the track. She’s a big, long-striding filly who probably will need to race into fitness, so I think we’re going to see an improved performance this time.
Exacta Key Box: 4 with 6,7,8