I’m not a fan of Frank’s Rockette (#7), who is clearly the class of this field after finishing second in a pair of graded stakes at Saratoga. She did have some trouble in the stretch of the Adirondack, but I didn’t think she stepped forward at all in the Spinaway last time. She had a good trip and it just seemed as if the added distance took its toll in the late stages. I’m skeptical about her stretching out an additional furlong, and I’m not sure what to make of the fact that Bill Mott worked her on turf last week.
Quality Response (#1) is the other runner with stakes experience, and I suppose she makes some sense. She won both of her California starts with ease, but the fact that Bob Baffert is shipping her out of town probably has more to do with the fact that he didn’t want to run her against Bast in the Chandelier than anything else. I prefer the recent maiden winners.
Wicked Whisper (#3) may go off as the favorite after easily taking down her debut during the penultimate week of the Saratoga meet. She broke on top and never looked back while Ricardo Santana, Jr. had her on cruise control in the stretch. She’s certainly bred to stretch out as a half-sister to graded stakes-winning router Point of Honor. The only concern is that there are some other potential speeds in this field.
I’m using her prominently, but my top pick is DAPHNE MOON (#2). I know she ran a bit slower than Wicked Whisper in her Saratoga debut, but I loved the way she looped the field at the quarter pole and drew off late. She overcame a slow start that day and rated professionally before overhauling that group. She acts like one who should have no trouble handling the added distance and she’s trained very well out of that first start. I love her running style for this race, since the Pace Projector is predicting that a fast pace will develop ahead of her.
The other runner who I would use in exotics is Slam Dunk (#4). She’s still a maiden after two starts, but she ran very well against a salty field at Saratoga last time. She’s always trained well and there may not be much separating her from those who have already won.
Exacta Key Box: 2 with 1,3,4,7
Trifecta: 2 with 1,3,4 with 1,3,4,6,7