I’m not particularly fond of either potential favorite in this Empire Distaff. Brattle House (#7) and Let Her Inspire U (#8) have been pretty popular with the bettors lately and could vie for favoritism here. The former seems especially dubious to me as she stretches out around two turns for the first time in her career. I’ve never thought added distance helps Brattle House, and she didn’t have any excuse to lose at a short price last time. She has met some solid open company rivals lately, but she’s failed to step forward since registering two runaway victories at Belmont earlier this year.
Let Her Inspire U did handle the 9-furlong distance when she was a close second in the Fleet Indian, but I still don’t think this longer trip is a natural fit for her. She had to work harder than expected to win an allowance race at a short price last time, and I think the added ground works more to the advantage of the two fillies who finished just behind her.
Caragate (#3) was third that day, and was arguably staying on best of all at the end of the race. She’s won going this distance before and seems like one of the few in here who is really suited to the 1 1/8 miles. She just has to get a little faster, and I think the horse who finished between these two in that Sep. 24 affair has a bit more upside.
SUNSET LOUISE (#2) hasn’t ever gone 9 furlongs, but she strikes me as one that will handle it. A daughter of Tonalist, she’s a full-sister to solid allowance performer The Reds, who has run well going this far. I loved her effort at Saratoga two back when she drew off impressively in a commanding performance. She found herself in an unfamiliar position on the lead last time after a surprisingly alert break, and she hung on well after setting some honest fractions. I like her stretching out and think she’s one of the few in this field who still might have a step forward in her.
I would also use Ice Princess (#5), since she arguably has the most and best experience going this trip. However, I do wonder if her best days are behind her now.
WIN: #2 Sunset Louise, at 9-2 or greater