Enter Sandwoman (#3), a $230k yearling purchase, was readily dropped in for this $40k claiming tag following a lackluster debut at Laurel. While she improved her TimeformUS Speed Figure to a 78 last time – the highest in this field – that’s a race that might be worth downgrading. It came up suspiciously fast (not uncommon at Aqueduct in the winter), and one horse to run back regressed significantly in her subsequent start. That’s not to say that this filly isn’t still a player here. She has a right to appreciate added distance as a half-sister to stakes-winning dirt router Ava K. and other capable routers. Plus, Jeremiah O’Dwyer is a decent 4 for 21 (19%, $4.82 ROI) with horses stretching out for the first time on dirt over 5 years. Nevertheless, I prefer some proven routers at better prices.
Stormi Cat Lady’s (#2) performance going this distance two back automatically makes her a top contender here. She did take advantage of a rail bias during the opening portions of that race before coming off the inside to rally in the lane. She just missed to next-out winner Teetolater, but that filly only ran a 67 TimeformUS Speed Figure in her victory. While she regressed last time behind runaway winner Coffee Bar, but that filly returned to finish second against open company in the Busanda. She’s a contender here, but I prefer a different rival out of that Jan. 10 affair.
QUIET TYPE (#4) has made little impact in her first three starts, but those all came at the maiden special weight level. She didn’t get to put forth a true effort on Dec. 20 due to her wide trip over a rail-biased surface. She had a fair chance last time and could only manage a distant 4th, but she was tentatively ridden through the opening stages of that race, allowed to drop far out of contention before commencing a rally. And even so, she finished ahead of today’s rival Stormi Cat Lady. She has worked well since and is likely to appreciate the class relief.
Exacta Key Box: 4 with 2,3,5,8