#3 Fiftyshadesofhay (KY) – Her company line is all you need to read…she’s had to bang heads all winter/spring with Beholder! Beholder showed us her class once again in the Kentucky Oaks as she finished a solid second, and I expect Fiftyshadesofhay to flatter her in this one. It was a smart move to hold her out of the Oaks, and you have to like that last workout she had leading up this race. Also, you must note the jockey change…she’ll get the services of Joel Rosario for this one.
#7 Emollient (KY) – On paper this certainly looks like the horse to beat. After running poorly in the Gulfstream Oaks, she returned one week later to totally dominate in the Grade 1 Ashland Stakes at Keeneland. Obviously if that race can be repeated then the others will be running for second, but she’s going to be at a terribly low price and there is enough there to make a case against her. Maybe she loved the poly track last time out, and won’t like the Pimlico dirt. An inconsistent race record also adds to the concern, so I don’t see the logic in taking her at odds less than Even money.
#1 Manuka Honey (KY) – It’s a two-horse race in my opinion here, but Manuka Honey seems likely to round out the tri. Her last race at Oaklawn Park was a decent second to Rose to Gold who excels over the slop. A dry track and a realistic spot are positive signs that she could run well.
#5 Walkwithapurpose (MD) – She was coming into the Gazelle Stakes last time out on a five race win streak, and was able to finish a decent third in that race only beaten seven lengths. Little did we know that the second place finisher of that race, Princess of Sylmar, would come back to win the Kentucky Oaks. So obviously that flatters Walkwithapurpose quite a bit, but she still has proving to do class wise.
#6 Maracuya (KY) – We’ve only seen her run twice, but those two races were fairly impressive. She won both of those starts, with her last victory being a wire to wire win going one mile in an allowance at Gulfstream. It’s definitely time for her to try a Stakes, and this one hasn’t come up as strong as it usually does. Likely pace setter/Emollient presser who might get brave on the front end and pull the upset.
#2 Lady Banks (ON) – You can draw a line through that last one at Keeneland, but I still don’t think you can make a case for her in this one. Perhaps a small chance of hitting the board.
#4 Petit Trianon (KY) – Comes in on a three race win streak, and also owns a victory over this track. Still, the class test looks to be pretty steep for her in this one.
#8 Toasting (FL) – This was the first one I tossed out mainly based on her proven lack of success against stakes company that was less competitive with this group.
#9 Marathon Lady (FL) – I have liked this horse for most of the year, and out of all the throw outs I do believe she’ll have the best chance to surprise, but she may not quite be up to this level. This will be a class test and a proving ground for her.