RACE 1: SAY MOI (#1)
Expected favorite Mrs. Danvers was rushed along following her return from the layoff this summer leading up to that failed Grade 1 attempt in the Test. She was fairly disappointing going this distance back on July 9, but keep in mind that she was running back just 19 days after her encouraging 3-year-old debut. She redeemed herself going the same trip last time, as she gamely rallied up the rail in deep stretch after finding traffic and having to alter course in mid-stretch. It’s interesting that Shug adds blinkers to a filly who already gets headstrong in her races. That said, it does feel like they’re slowly but surely figuring things out and she’s undoubtedly the horse to beat. However, I want to try to beat her with her main rival at a slightly better price. Say Moi has been a little disappointing in her last couple of starts at this level, twice failing to hit the board. However, some excuses can be offered. It’s possible that she just didn’t handle that demanding two-turn distance two back, and then last time she got a poor trip. She was shuffled back to last immediately after the start, saved ground on the turn, but then found herself stuck in traffic in upper stretch. She’s better than that and she figures to rebound here. A one-turn mile should be within her scope and she should be right on top of a moderate pace.
RACE 4: WINDFALL PROFIT (#1)
I suspected that Windfall Profit had turned a corner following her maiden victory at Saratoga, when she dominated an overmatched field with ease. While that race didn’t earn a gigantic speed figure, she just looked so much more powerful than in her prior starts, and she carried that momentum forward to her first start against winners. However, she was prevented from achieving back-to-back victories by a disadvantageous trip. The early pace was crawling, and her rider strangely elected to restrain her at the back of the pack. She was always out of position and therefore was forced to launch a 4-wide run around the far turn. She still almost got there, but that adventurous journey ultimately took its toll. Now she lands in a similar spot and notably gets Joel Rosario, who rode her to that maiden victory, back aboard. As long as she gets a smooth trip this time, I think she’s going to beat this field. Eye of Soldier also ran well in that September 18 race, but she had a slightly better trip and just wasn’t quick enough to accelerate past the leaders late. I’m using her underneath, along with Capital Structure, who was compromised by a very slow pace in her first start against winners last time.
RACE 9: SWEET BYE AND BYE (#6)
Save for the longshot Story Time, you can make a valid case for all of the other entrants in this Athenia. Perhaps then it’s unwise of me to land on the morning line favorite Sweet Bye and Bye, but I do think we’ll get every bit of that 3-1 price, if not more, given how wide open this race is. Sweet Bye and Bye has been in career form now as a 5-year-old for Tony Dutrow. While she’s only won once since returning from the layoff this summer, she’s run well in all three of her starts. That was especially true last time when she chased a very fast pace set by the talented Blowout before both of them were swallowed up by the perfect trip winner Viadera. A repeat of that performance will make her tough here, and she figures to get a more favorable trip tracking what should be a moderate pace set by Mitchell Road. Her main rival is probably Call Me Love, who gets significant class relief after facing some of the best turf horses in the country in the Diana. She does own a couple of speed figures that would make her pretty formidable against this field, but I haven’t been thrilled with most of her races in this country. I’m using her underneath, but I think others will offer better value. One of those is her stablemate Feel Glorious. She didn’t run well behind Sweet Bye and Bye in the Noble Damsel last time, but I thought the quick pace of that race took her and many other closers out of their comfort zones. She’s best when she can get held up behind a moderate tempo and burst through in the stretch. She also doesn’t mind a little give in the ground, which she could encounter on Sunday. Chad Brown has entered three fillies, but I’m not really that scared of any of them. Altea never wins, and She’s Got You and Tapit Today would both have to improve to upset the favorites.