RACE 3: WEYHILL FARM RD. (#6)
There is no shortage of turf pedigrees in this New York-bred maiden affair for two-year-olds. Christophe Clement could send out the favorite in #2 Disarmed, a son of Maclean’s Music, who does get 14% turf sprint winners despite being known more as a dirt sire. The dam produced one sibling to win on turf, the only one to try it. He appears to be working well for her debut, holding his own in company with a highly regarded open company stablemate in that July 8 turf drill. He also recorded a fast gate work last week and looks ready with Rosario climbing aboard. He’ll take the money, but other firsters are also bred to do well in this spot. #5 Noble Huntsman is out of a dam who won multiple turf races, including her debut. Both #1 Twenty Six Black and #7 Vince the Prince are by strong turf sprint influence War Dancer, and each have some grass breeding on the bottom of their pedigrees as well. Yet I’m most interested in the only runner with experience, who also hails from the Christophe Clement barn. #6 Weyhill Farm Rd. debuted on dirt last month at Belmont, but seemed like one that would be meant for turf down the line. Though his sire hasn’t had much success with his progeny on this surface, the dam was strictly a turf performer, winning 3 of 5 starts on this surface, including a stakes. She’s also produced two decent turf winners from 5 foals to try this surface. Christophe Clement is 5 for 18 (28%, $3.11 ROI) with maiden second time starters in turf sprints over the past 5 years, and this gelding figures to be a better price than his stablemate.
RACE 4: KIMARI (#4)
I fully acknowledge that #2 Bella Sofia is the most likely winner of this Grade 2 Honorable Miss, but she figures to be an awfully short price as she lines up against just three rivals. She arguably ran the best race of her 2021 campaign over this surface when taking down the Test last summer, and she’ll be tough to beat if reproducing that form. While she’s run reasonably well in both starts so far this year, I haven’t been blown away either time. She had to work awfully hard to fend off today’s rival #1 Frank’s Rockette in the Vagrancy two back. She did show some subtly improvement second off the layoff in the Bed O Roses, but Obligatory arguably ran the better race given Bella Sofia’s pace advantage. Bella Sofia figures to be sending to the front once again, but the speedy Ohio shipper drawn to her outside could be a thorn in her side. I’m looking for #4 Kimari to get the right setup from just off the pace. She needs to rebound after disappointing results in her last couple of starts, but I think her form is better than it looks. She got the wrong kind of ride in the Madison two back, when sent forward into a wicked early pace that ultimately fell apart. She actually did well to hang on for third, earning a strong 121 TimeformUS Speed Figure for her performance. She didn’t perform as well in the Derby City Distaff last time, but I thought Joel Rosario made the wrong decision to take her so far off the pace. She’s better when she can be somewhat engaged early, and I think they’ll make that adjustment here.
RACE 10: ALESSIA (#6)
The finale might be the most wide open race on the card. You can make a case for most of the 11 entrants, and there’s no clear favorite. I expect that #2 Adam’s Angel will attract some support as she returns from a layoff. This daughter of Into Mischief was a little cold on the board for her debut at Aqueduct last year, considering that she was a $1 million yearling. She actually ran pretty well to finish second, while no match for the impressive winner who hasn’t run back since. She can obviously win here with any kind of improvement, though Shug McGaughey’s stats off layoffs like this with dirt sprinters are just mediocre. Among the logical players, I’m more interested in #6 Alessia. This daughter of Jess’s Dream actually has some serious damside pedigree, as she’s a half-sister to G2 Pat Day Mile winner Rushie. She didn’t take any money in her Keeneland debut, which is understandable for a Nick Zito trainee. Yet she actually put in a very nice effort, making a premature move down the backstretch to reach contention after a slow start. She then had to alter course in the lane, but was still finishing late. That wasn’t the strongest maiden heat overall, but I think this filly has some ability, and she should be a square price due to the connections. I also want to use #9 Mattapoisett. She’s another second time starter who didn’t take any money in her debut, going off at 16-1. Yet she showed decent tactical speed before fading in a race that did fall apart in the late stages. I expect her to be fitter second time out for Bill Mott, who is 10 for 29 (34%, $3.48 ROI) with 3YO+ maiden second time starters in dirt sprints over the past 5 years.