If likely favorite Miss J McKay (#11) has progressed at all since last year as she makes her sophomore debut, this field could be in real trouble. She nearly went undefeated on grass last season, with her only blemishes coming due to a disqualification when she took down the Colleen and an unlucky wide trip in the Steward Manor. She certainly has a right to become one of the best turf sprinters of her generation this year, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that today is the right time to bet her. Her one vulnerability is that this barn doesn’t have greats statistics off layoffs, going just 1 for 15 off layoffs of 180 days or more on turf over the past 5 years. Perhaps this gal is good enough to overcome that pattern, but she is facing some legitimate rivals in this race.
She’s My Type (#6) is also a stakes winner, having won the Ginger Brew at Gulfstream over the winter. However, she’s cutting back to a sprint for the first time, which is a major question mark. She probably has the turn of foot to handle going a bit shorter, but I’m concerned about the pace of this race. There doesn’t appear to be that much speed signed on and she’s a one-run closer.
Given that expected pace scenario, I think CHILI PETIN (#4) is very dangerous. This Wesley Ward trainee has made 3 starts, all on different surfaces, and her one loss came on the turf. However, they asked a lot of her in that grass start, shipping her over to Royal Ascot for the Albany Stakes last year. She returned from a lengthy layoff most recently at Turfway Park and was an easy winner on the synthetic surface there over her well-regarded stablemate Nayibeth. Now she’s getting back on what figures to be her preferred surface, and Wesley Ward has fantastic statistics with this move. Over the past 5 years, he is 7 for 14 (50%, $5.38 ROI) with last-out winners on synthetic heading into turf sprints. She has the speed to lead this field from gate to wire under Irad Ortiz.
Exacta Key Box: 4 with 1,3,6,11
Trifecta: 4,11 with 4,11 with 1,2,3,6,7