Goldwood (#6) is expected to start here after getting scratched out of a stakes at Keeneland on Friday, and she’s likely to be a strong favorite. This mare has really come to hand as a 5-year-old, and is now seeking her sixth consecutive stakes victory. While she is clearly in top form right now, Goldwood does have to handle the slight stretch-out to 6 furlongs, which is a minor hurdle. Furthermore, it’s not as if her recent set of speed figures give her some massive edge over this field, as a couple of her rivals have run just as fast in recent starts.
I respect her, but I think we can look elsewhere for better value. Fire Key (#1) is a perfectly logical alternative after falling just a half-length shy of reeling in the favorite in the Sensible Lady at Laurel last time. Fire Key loves this 6-furlong distance, having finished in the exacta in 10 for 11 starts over this trip. Furthermore, she has a versatile running style that should allow her to adapt to any pace scenario.
Fire Key is clearly a strong contender, but my top pick is Fear No Evil, who figures to be a much better price.
FEAR NO EVIL (#3) has finished behind Fire Key a number of times over the past two seasons, but she hasn’t always gotten ideal trips in their matchups. That was certainly true last time when Fear No Evil was shuffled back on the far turn then steadied and forced to alter course when attempting to rally in the stretch. She’s clearly better than that effort, as she displayed in this very race last year. Overall, her 2019 form has been fairly strong, so I don’t believe she’s lost a step. Furthermore, she’s finally getting a rider switch to Joel Rosario, who just seems like a perfect fit for this mare’s running style.
Exacta Key Box: 3 with 1,6,7
Trifecta: 3 with 1,6 with ALL