HARVEY’S LIL GOIL (#6) figures to go off as the favorite here, and I’m not trying to beat her. This daughter of American Pharoah ran deceptively well in her turf debut, closing belatedly into a moderate pace while racing wide over a track that was significantly favoring inside runners. It seemed a little curious that Bill Mott moved her immediately to dirt after such a promising start to her career, but it all made sense when she dominated that crew in a six-length romp. Her pedigree indicates that dirt probably should be her preferred surface, since her Tapit-sired dam is a half-sister to Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes winner I’ll Have Another as well as the multiple graded stakes-winning router Golden Award. Harvey’s Lil Goil showed improved tactical speed last time, and she should work out a good stalking trip going this nine-furlong distance.
Her main rival appears to be Water White (#1), who drops out of the Grade 2 Demoiselle. I didn’t think she got the best trip that day, as Manny Franco made the tactical error of not using her tactical speed leaving the gate. She actually broke a length ahead of the eventual winner, Lake Avenue, but he allowed that filly to rush past him early and Water White was subsequently forced to race wide around the clubhouse turn. All things considered, she stayed on well to be fifth and will be a major factor here if able to save more ground from today’s rail post position.
The other horse that I’d want to throw into exotics is Ankle Monitor (#2). This four-time winner ships in from Laurel after having run nearly as fast as her local counterparts. She’s a grinding type who should appreciate the stretch-out to two turns, and she’s going to be a square price.
Exacta Key Box: 6 with 1,2,4,7
Trifecta: 6 with 1,2 with 1,2,4,5,7