Robin Sparkles (#6) is obviously the horse to beat in this spot, but she’s been short prices against stakes company a few times this year and has yet to win a stakes on the turf. She did perhaps go a little too fast in the early going of that Caress, which helped set things up for the very talented Caravel. And she had a right not to like the yielding turf two back in the Smart N Fancy. She bounced back with a solid effort last time at Laurel and a repeat of that performance may be good enough here. Yet she has to deal with some other speed and there is a bit of rain in the forecast. I think she probably deserves to be favored, but I wouldn’t want to take too short a price on her.
I believe Too Sexy (#7) is dangerous. Is it possible that she’s just turned a corner at the end of her 4-year-old season? She’s pretty hard to support based on her form prior to the last race, but she took a huge step forward that day. She sat off a moderate pace and just rocketed home through the stretch. I would hardly be surprised if she stepped right up to beat stakes foes off that performance.
My top pick is INTRODUCED (#8). This mare’s form to start the year was a little spotty. She returned from the layoff with a good effort in the License Fee, finishing just a length behind Robin Sparkles. Although she then disappointed twice out of town, she appeared to get back on track this summer at Monmouth, winning her last two starts in gritty fashion. She is stepping up to face a tougher field this time, but Jorge Duarte is on a roll this year. Over the past 4 months, Duarte is 9 for 23 (39%, $5.27 ROI) with all of his turf starters, and he’s won with a couple of runners at NYRA during that time. Introduced also has the right running style, in that she can sit just off the pace but won’t be left with too much to do.
Exacta Key Box: 8 with 6,7,9
Trifecta: 8 with 6,7 with 1,4,6,7,9