Likely favorite Maracuja (#5) was understandably bet down to 4-5 last time in a race that appeared to be particularly weak for this level. However, she never looked to be traveling that well and had no punch in the stretch. She’s a little hard to like here off that effort, but it has to be noted that she ran so much better in her career debut. She was very green in the early going of that Dec. 20 debut and was running strongly down the center of the track late on a day when you were better off racing inside. If she could build upon that effort, she’ll be tough for this field to handle. Though, she figures to be a short price and there’s not much pace to close into once again.
I prefer runners to the inside. Becca’s Wish (#1) was away from the gate very awkwardly in her debut, lunging at the start before rushing up into fourth on the backstretch. She never really made an impact thereafter, but nevertheless earned a solid speed figure in what turned out to be a fast race. However, runbacks from that event have been a mixed bag. The top two finishers returned to do very poorly, though third-place finisher Mo Desserts won her next start by 15 lengths. Jeremiah Englehart is 15 for 75 (20%, $2.38 ROI) with maiden second time starters in dirt sprints over the past 5 years.
My top pick is CAUSE TO DREAM (#2). This filly didn’t look fully prepared for that debut, as she showed brief speed before fading badly. It was a completely different story last time, as she took a big step forward. While she faded to finish fourth beaten 7 lengths, that effort was a lot stronger than the result indicates. Jan. 31 was a day when the rail was dead, and this filly was inside throughout and driven down to that rail path in the lane. The fact that she was able to achieve an 85 TimeformUS Speed Figure given that trip is fairly remarkable. She certainly ran better than today’s rival Despeight All Odds. Some may hesitate due to the low-profile human connections, but this filly can run.
Exacta Key Box: 2 with 1,5,7
Trifecta: 2 with 1,5 with 1,5,6,7