Both Mashnee Girl (#2) and Cazilda Fortytales (#8) move up in class off visually impressive victories in which they earned superior speed figures. However, I’m highly skeptical that either one of them will be able to reproduce that form. Both were riding strong track biases that enhanced their performances. That’s especially true of Mashnee Girl, who defeated the heavily favored Shalimar Gardens while racing on the best part of the track before the other riders had figured out that the rail was such an edge. That 110 TimeformUS Speed Figure towers over this field, but I expect her to regress significantly if the track is fair. Cazilda Fortytales didn’t run quite as fast in her last victory, but also rode a gold rail and is a question mark going this mile distance.
I want horses who are proven at this level and distance. One of those is Ifihadachance (#4). While she lost both prior attempts for this N2X condition last fall, she figures to appreciate stretching back out to a mile here. She seemed to improve with added ground for Rob Falcone when claimed by these connections last summer, and is a win candidate in her return from the layoff.
I’m also interested in runners exiting the Jan. 20 race at this level. That was another day that featured a rail bias, and neither Frost Me nor Epona’s Dream spent much time inside. Frost Me (#1) probably got the better trip since she was stalking a slow pace that held together.
I was most impressed by the performance of EPONA’S DREAM (#6). She was wide every step of the way, racing against the track, yet still made a strong late push to just miss. That wasn’t the strongest field for the level, but I don’t think this one is as tough as it might seem at first glance. Aside from a perplexing poor effort two back, Epona’s Dream has been on an upward trajectory while racing on dirt, and I think she’s found a suitable spot to break through with another win.
Exacta Key Box: 6 with 1,3,4,7
Trifecta: 6 with 1,4 with 1,3,4,5,7