I’m highly skeptical of the favorites in this optional claimer. Misspell (#7) figures to attract support for Chad Brown as she drops out of a Grade 3 event at Woodbine. While she was compromised by a moderate pace in that spot, she really offered no punch through the lane after sitting a decent trip. I thought she was supposed to win two back when she just failed to hold off the late charge of Third Draft. She was flattered when that one returned to run well in the Riskaverse, but she always takes money and I think her form is pretty exposed at this point.
Messidor (#3) is a wild card as she drops out of the Saratoga Oaks and transfers into the Christophe Clement barn. The distance may have been too far for her last time, but it’s not as if she did any meaningful running in that spot. Her prior form is Europe is decent though unspectacular and it’s unclear to me where she truly fits from a class standpoint.
I’m even less optimistic about the chances of Clement’s other runner Sport Model (#6), who has been beating inferior competition in weak New York-bred stakes events.
I’m going in a different direction for my top pick with Chad Brown’s other runner LADY PETROL (#2). This filly made a few starts as a two-year-old for Mark Casse, earning slow speed figures before getting put on the shelf. She returned in June at Belmont, and ran better than it seems in her first start for the new barn. The pace of that race was very slow, and she did well to make up some ground through the lane. That was a deceptively strong field for the level as the second, third, and fourth place finishers all returned to win with improved efforts. Now she’s stretching out, and Chad Brown is 25 for 77 (32%, $2.25 ROI) with non-maidens going from sprints to routes on turf over 5 years.
Exacta Key Box: 2 with 3,7,8
Trifecta: 2 with 3,7 with 3,4,7,8