Sunday TimeformUS Highlight Horse: Star Devine turns back to appropriate distance in the Galway

Saratoga | Race 9 | Post Time 5:39 p.m. (ET) | Go to the TimeformUS PPs | Not already a TimeformUS member? Sign up 

This is a highly competitive race that appears to go beyond the likely favorite Goin’ Good (#7). I have no major knocks on this Brad Cox trainee, as she seems to show up every time regardless of surface. However, she doesn’t have a significant ability edge over this field and she’s going to take money due to all of the victories she’s compiled. It appears likely that the early pace will be quick, since Wink (#3), Dr B (#4), and Mischiefful (#5) all do their best running from the front end. I respect both Goin’ Good and Illegal Smile (#6), who she beat in that June allowance at Churchill, but I think there are some local fillies to consider. 

Tuscan Queen (#2) was an impressive maiden winner over this course and distance but she gets a class test here. I prefer two fillies coming out of the Soaring Softly at Belmont. Bye Bye (#8) won that race after making an early move in upper stretch. She didn’t handle a mile last time, but I like her cutting back to a true sprint distance given how well she ran going 5 furlongs at Gulfstream to break her maiden. She’s part of the play, but my top pick is the fourth-place finisher from the Soaring Softly.

STAR DEVINE (#10) has progressively stretched out in distance since winning her 6-furlong debut at Aqueduct in April. She was dazzling in that initial victory, overcoming a slow start to take control with an impressive burst of speed in upper stretch. She subsequently didn’t run badly when getting an aggressive ride in the Soaring Softly, but she then couldn’t handle a further stretch-out to 1 1/16 miles last time. She got way too rank rating off a slower pace that day and had nothing left for the stretch drive. I love her cutting back to a sprint, and I think she’s going to get the right pace setup. Jorge Abreu’s runners have been performing well at the meet, and this filly looked like one with stakes potential first time out.

THE PLAY

Win: 10

Exacta Key Box: 10 with 2,6,7,8

Trifecta: 10 with 7,8 with 2,5,6,7,8

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