It’s hard to know how the public will approach this perplexing maiden affair. I suppose horses like Voice of Spring (#5) and Highway Queen (#8) could attract some attention, but neither one interests me that much. The former will get her preferred fast track, but she never really panned out after a promising debut. While she finished second at this level last time, that was a relatively weak maiden event and I think she’d have to do better to beat this field. The other potential favorite Highway Queen has many questions to answer as she returns from a 10-month layoff, and it’s unclear if more distance is what she wants.
I prefer the runners drawn to the inside. A Bit o’Irish Sass (#2) has taken subtle steps forward with each start. She ran deceptively well in both starts as a two-year-old. She returned from the layoff last month with a solid effort, closing mildly for third going 6 furlongs. Now she stretches out for the first time, which should suit her. Her dam was a multiple route winner on synthetic, and this filly has the size to suggest a mile should be no problem.
My top pick is RAFFINITY (#3). This filly didn’t show much in her debut last summer, but woke up on the class drop when she made her 3-year-old debut last month, finishing a strong second in an unusually fast $40k maiden claimer. Now she’s moving back in class, but she earned a competitive 82 TimeformUS Speed Figure in that last start. She is also bred to appreciate more ground as a daughter of 20% dirt route sire Tonalist from a dam who has produced stakes-placed dirt router Bourbon Empire and 6-time dirt route winner Lutheran Miss. I would also expect this gal to be more forwardly placed on the stretch-out.
Exacta: 3 with 2,4,5
Trifecta: 2,3 with 2,3 with 4,5,6,8