Khuluq (#1) figures to be tough to beat as the heavy favorite. This Shadwell homebred took a big step forward in her second start, showing improved early speed before settling for second behind the talented A Mo Reay. The 95 TimeformUS Speed Figure she earned is significantly higher than the best numbers achieved by any of her rivals. She’s also bred to be a good one, since her dam is a half-sister to Grade 3 Gotham winner Shagaf. She figures to show speed from this rail draw as she goes out for a capable trainer. I’m not against her, but there are some alternatives to consider.
Oh Mrs. Maisel (#7) didn’t finish that far behind Khuluq on Nov. 7, but that rival obviously moved forward out of that race. Oh Mrs. Maisel has had a few chances already and has been somewhat of a disappointment. It’s also unclear if she’s really suited by the one-mile trip. Stretching back out should help Into Happiness (#5), who ran well to be second on Oct. 22 before meeting a tougher field last time. I could use her, but I’m more intrigued by another alternative.
MASABEEH (#3), another Shadwell-bred filly, was given up for a tag in her debut. She was curiously entered on turf by Chad Brown that day despite the fact that her pedigree is strongly geared towards dirt. She’s by solid dirt route sire (and poor turf influence) Union Rags and her dam is a half-sister to Grade 1 Del Mar Futurity winner Drill ($557k). She was claimed out of that race by Linda Rice, who is a remarkable 19 for 39 (49%, $2.67 ROI) first off the claim with maidens on dirt over the past 5 years. She as actually staying on well at the end of that turf debut despite not really getting over the surface, so distance should be no issue. I think she’s an intriguing upset possibility, though I acknowledge the favorite looks strong.
Exacta: 3 with 1,5