Daria’s Angel (#5) will probably go favored here as she makes her first start off the claim for Rudy Rodriguez. She won going a mile last time, but she’s handled sprint distances in the past, and obviously has the back class to prove tough against this field of $20,000 claimers. My issue is that I still have some questions about her current form. That performance on Aug. 7 at Saratoga has not held up over time, as multiple horses have come back out of that race to run poorly. She appeared to get back on track last time, but I felt that she benefited from a speed-favoring surface on Nov. 27. Rudy has strong numbers in this situation, but I nevertheless prefer her main rival.
I’m not sure why FLAT AWESOME JENNY (#9) ran so poorly in her first start off the claim for Rob Atras in October at Belmont, but she looked like her old self last time, charging down the center of the track to run away from an overmatched group of rivals. Now she’s moving up in class off that victory, something that Atras does vey well. Over the past 5 years, he is 20 for 54 (37%, $2.46 ROI) with last-out winners in dirt sprints.
She’s my top pick, and I’ll use her with the filly she defeated last time, Rude Awaking (#2). While getting claimed away from Linda Rice isn’t ideal, Richard Metivier does a decent job, and this filly’s tactical speed should play well in a race that isn’t projected to feature much early pace.
Exacta Key Box: 9 with 2,4,5
Trifecta: 9 with 2,5 with 1,2,4,5,7