With morning line favorite Satisfy scratching, Pauseforthecause (#10) becomes the likely public choice. This filly has just been in fantastic form recently and would be formidable if she merely repeats either of her last two efforts. She had to break from the rail in both of those races, which is not ideal for a horse that tends to need a couple of strides to reach top speed. Her versatile running style helped her work out the right trip last time despite giving up ground in the opening furlong. While I acknowledge that she offers plenty of appeal, this is a very competitive field and I don’t think she has a significant edge over her main rivals. Those include Satisfy, who ran no worse than Pauseforthecause despite losing to that foe by a length last time.
Whereas the winner got the jump on her with an outside run to the quarter pole, Byself (#8) had to wait briefly and alter course in the lane. All things considered, I thought she put in a pretty game effort, which has become the standard for this consistent filly. Others may possess more natural ability, but you know you’re going to get an honest run from her.
I’m using both of these, but I’m intrigued by the pair of Chad Brown fillies. Sunset Ridge (#7) has a lot to prove after two subpar efforts since returning from the layoff this past fall. It’s possible that the slight turnback to 7 furlongs will work in her favor, but I need to see her run a faster speed figure before supporting her in a race like this.
I’m much more interested in KATHRYN THE WISE (#3), who is my top pick. While there are a number of fillies with tactical styles in this race, Kathryn the Wise is the only true front-runner, and the Pace Projector reflects that. She is predicted to be clearly in front of this group early, and I think such a trip may help her get the 7-furlong distance. Some may view her 2018 campaign as similar to that of her stablemate, but I thought her last effort on Nov. 29 was actually pretty encouraging. I don’t want to fault her for losing as the favorite, since Dawn the Destroyer put in a fantastic winning effort that day and looks bound for open stakes company. Kathryn the Wise was allowed to set a fairly moderate pace, but I liked the way she kicked home and put some distance on the rest of the field. It was a massive improvement on her first start off the layoff and she has a right to take another step forward now. Furthermore, there is plenty of rain in the forecast and a wet track may help her.
Exacta Key Box: 3 with 6,8,10
Trifecta: 3 with 8,10 with 5,6,7,8,10