This intriguing maiden special weight event for fillies features a slew of 3-year-olds with upside. Yet the horse to beat is arguably the 4-year-old Phipps homebred Harlem Heights (#5). This half-sister to Point of Entry took to the turf last fall after disappointing at short prices in a few dirt races during the summer. She finished well in her initial start on this surface going this same 9-furlong distance. Yet she also got a favorable pace setup that day. That was not the case last time when she chased a quicker pace going 1 3/8 miles, which may be pushing her beyond her limit from a stamina perspective. She makes sense, but others seem more likely to move forward.
Miss Bonnie T (#3) could be a threat to wire this field as she returns after just missing in a maiden event here last December. She made a bold move on the far turn to open up on the field before getting cut down late. I’m certainly using her, and she could go off at a decent price given the presence of two Chad Brown fillies.
Gabby Squared (#2) makes some sense for that barn, but I feel she may get overbet based on some slight trouble at Gulfstream last time in a race where she otherwise had a good trip.
I prefer ZOIKES (#7), who returns from a layoff after making one start last year at Keeneland. She was off very slowly that day and lagged at the back of the pack early before making a mild late run into third. She must do better to beat this field, but I think she’s likely to take a step forward. Chad Brown is an excellent 11 for 34 (32%, $2.98 ROI) with maidens returning from 150 to 300 day layoffs in turf routes over 5 years. She was a slightly built horse last year, and it seems like she’s grown up over the winter based on her recent works. She’s bred to appreciate added ground as a daughter of Dubawi out of a Group 1-placed dam who produced a European Group 3 winner at 10 furlongs.
Exacta Key Box: 7 with 2,3,5,6,8
Trifecta: 7 with 2,3,5 with 2,3,5,6,8