Bluegrass Jamboree (#1) figures to attract support following her visually impressive 8-length victory last time out, yet I’m skeptical that she can repeat that performance. The early pace of that race was quite slow – indicated by blue color-coded TimeformUS pace figures at every call – and Bluegrass Jamboree rode a golden rail for the first half-mile before angling into the clear. Her prior form still makes her a serious player here, but she’s likely to be an underlay. I prefer her two main rivals, D J’s Favorite and Pauseforthecause.
D J’s Favorite (#4) was incredibly gutsy in her Feb. 24 victory, as she refused to yield after getting passed in deep stretch. She obviously handles a wet track, and the turnback to 6 furlongs should not be a hindrance. Pauseforthecause (#8) has kept better company in her last two starts, and actually ran fairly well in those races despite losing at short prices. That was especially true last time when she chased 2 to 3 wide throughout against a strong rail bias. I’ll use both of these fillies prominently, but I prefer another rival at a much more enticing price.
PALLADIAN BRIDGE (#5) may be hard for some to endorse off her recent form, but I think we can make excuses for some of those efforts. Following her win over Bluegrass Jamboree last fall, she actually ran well to be third on Nov. 29, chasing home two subsequent stakes winners. However, trainer Ray Handal then made a rider switch to jockey Sheldon Russell for her next two races, and I was not a fan of the rides she received on either occasion. Russell made no use of her speed, riding her like a closer rather than the leader/stalker that she actually is. She did spend some time on the golden rail last time, but she angled outside for the last half of the race and was closing down the center of the track late. This mare has bounced back from poor efforts in the past, and I’m pleased to see Manny Franco back aboard, since he seems to have the best rapport with her.
Exacta Key Box: 5 with 1,4,8
Trifecta: 5 with 4,8 with 1,2,4,7,8