RACE 7: SHE’S GOT YOU (#8)
This is a high-quality allowance race with a very European flavor. The five major players all began their careers overseas, and one of those is making her North American debut in this spot. The two runners likely to vie for favoritism are Stone Tornado and Madita. The former was part of an entry with winner Clara Peeters when she made her U.S. debut in June and she arguably ran the best race in that spot. She could never really get cover breaking from an outside post and ultimately made an early push to take the lead at the quarter pole in a race where the horse making the final move got the money. Stone Tornado was successful going a flat mile over in Europe, so she figures to appreciate the stretch-out in distance. Madita has been a bit of an enigma since coming to this country. She ran pretty well at Saratoga last year but then completely fell apart in her 2019 finale. Yet she looked like a completely different horse in her 5-year-old debut last time, destroying a field a the N1X level. This is a tougher spot, but she had shown class in Germany last year and may have just turned the corner. I’m using both of these prominently, but there are others to consider. Both fillies drawn towards the outside, She’s Got You and Chaleur, actually faced off in a pair of stakes in England in late 2019. Chaleur has the benefit of having made a start in this country, but I’m not sure how strong that effort was given that the race was won by a massive longshot. She also could appreciate the slight cutback in distance since the 1 1/8 miles off the layoff may have really tested her stamina. I’m using her, but my top pick is her rival She’s Got You. This filly is now in the barn of Chad Brown and certainly possesses the class to beat a field like this based on her British form. In my opinion, she ran better than Chaleur in Europe and she’s certainly bred to have a nice future. By top sire Kingman, she’s a half-sister to Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile winner Tamarkuz and Group 1 winning turfer Without Parole. She seems to be training well for her stateside debut and I think she’s going to put forth a strong effort.
RACE 9: DELAWARE (#2)
This is a stakes-quality allowance race, as most of the main contenders have actually been competitive in graded stakes in the past. The horse to beat is Front Run the Fed, but you have to wonder if he’s come back as the same horse as a 4-year-old after he disappointed as the 6-5 favorite in his 2020 debut at Churchill Downs. You could argue that he was a little out of position in the early going in a race where few runners made up ground, but he was still pretty dull through the stretch. Perhaps getting back to Belmont will help him, as he ran well going one-turn last year and he had already earned speed figures fast enough to beat this field when he was a 3-year-old. I’m using him prominently, but I wouldn’t want to accept a short price on him. Majestic Dunhill is perfectly logical as he returns at the same distance at which he nearly pulled off an upset in the First Defence last time. This horse is a 7-furlong specialist and doesn’t seem to mind whether he’s racing over turf or dirt. He just needs a little pace to close into and there doesn’t appear to be much of that in this field. That could also hinder Chewing Gum, who is a one-run deep closer. He got the setup he needed going 6 furlongs last time and beat a good horse in Sayyaaf at the N1X level. He’s stepping up in class off that race, but he has faced some classy horses on dirt in the past and should fit here. All of these horses will be on my tickets, but my top pick is the other Chad Brown runner Delaware. He didn’t run that well in his U.S. debut behind Majestic Dunhill, but I thought this trip didn’t quite work that day. He was a bit farther back in the early stages that you would have expected based on his European form, and then he could never quite get into the clear to build momentum through the stretch. Now he’s getting Lasix and adding blinkers, so it just feels like Chad Brown is acknowledging that this one probably needed that return race and now he’s getting serious. I liked this horse’s efforts in France at the end of last year and I think he’ll be dangerous here if he returns that more aggressive style.
RACE 10: MAJESTIC VIEW (#11)
Striking Causeway is the horse to beat based on his return performance last time. That was his turf debut and he clearly took to the surface, as he was just narrowly defeated after contesting a fast pace against a stronger field than he’s meeting here. I know that some others have earned comparable speed figures, but I thought Striking Causeway distinguished himself as a runner that’s ready to break through at this level. If he can shake loose from the other speeds early, I think he’ll be tough to run down. Sanctuary City looks like a logical rival for that foe based on his speed figures from last year, but I don’t think he was meeting a particularly strong field in his career debut. He will appreciate turning back off the layoff, but he’s a runner that probably looks better on paper than he actually is. I also could make a case for a horse like More Like It, who did have some traffic trouble in the late stages last time. He’s definitely on my tickets, but I wanted to get a bit more creative with a first time turfer. Majestic View doesn’t have conventional turf pedigree in the sense that his dam’s family hasn’t really produced any turf runners. Yet he’s a son of new sire Majestic City, who himself is sired by good turf influence City Zip. We haven’t seen too many of Majestic City’s progeny try the turf, but one of them, The Important One, absolutely loved the grass in her turf debut earlier this meet despite not having any damside pedigree either. Majestic View showed good speed first time out on dirt, contesting a fast pace that collapsed. He’s worked well since then and I think it’s interesting that Kimmel goes directly to turf. This horse did move a bit more like a turf horse in his work over the synthetic surface at OBS April last year (where he was an RNA for $95,000). I expect him to move forward with the surface switch.