The seven furlongs Grade 1 Ballerina Stakes could prove to be a harbinger for the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint at Santa Anita later this year. 2007 winner Maryfield would go on to take the inaugural running of the Filly & Mare Sprint. This year’s field is as scrappy as any in recent memory.
Island Bound (Speightstown x Indy Mood For Luv by AP Indy): Less than a year ago this girl was racing in a $30k non winners of two lifetime claiming race. Since then, she has won the Grade 3 Winning Colors Stakes and finished second beaten a neck in the Grade 2 Honorable Miss Handicap. Quite a move up in class, but it is class that could prove to be a problem. As much as she has improved, these Grade 1 foes look too tough for her to handle. We can’t blame the connections for trying though. Ian Wilkes trains and Julien Leparoux will ride.
All Due Respect (Value Plus x Aunt Due by Devil His Due): This lass is better than she appears at first glance. Not sure what the connections were thinking by trying her on turf, but you can toss those races. Her form before that saw her finish behind top horses like R Holiday Mood, Lovely Lil and Blind Luck. Today’s distance figures to suit her very well. It’s good to see a strong jockey with a good clock in his head like Joel Rosario listed to ride. Don’t be surprised if Rick Dutrow’s filly wins this race.
It’s Tricky (Mineshaft x Catboat by Tale of the Cat): Has finished worse than second only once in her career and has won three races in a row. One of her two Grade 1 victories came at Saratoga as she took last year’s edition of the CCA Oaks. While she is an effective router, it is clear that she does her best work around a single turn. Her works are sharp and trainer Kiaran McLaughlin owns favorable numbers with horses racing on 46-90 days of rest. Her chance is better than most in this race, but don’t expect a very good price.
Belle Of The Hall (Graeme Hall x Vines of Justice by Judge T C): Came home quick while chasing a torrid pace in the Honorable Miss last out, finishing fourth beaten two lengths after being as many as 12 lengths behind. She probably needs a drop in class to do her best work. Thomas Albertrani trains and Irad Ortiz gets the call to ride.
Nicole H (Mr. Greeley x Hot Chipotle by Victory Gallop): Back in New York after a good try to be second by a ½ length in the Grade 1 Princess Rooney Stakes when last seen. She is a Grade 2 winner at the distance. The dark bay is 5-3-2-0 with jockey Ramon Dominguez in the irons. There is a lot to like about the Michael Hushion pupil.
Turbulent Descent (Congrats x Roger’s Sue by Forestry): The vaunted favorite will be making her first start for Todd Pletcher. Although she is a phenomenal runner on the west coast, she is no stranger to winning on the east coast. Former trainer Mike Puype and jockey David Flores guided to her to a win in the Grade 1 Test Stakes over this track last year. Her form appears to be as strong as ever and it would make sense if she improved while in the hands of a guy like Pletcher. If she does, there is very little chance she loses. John Velazquez will play the role of pilot.
Derwin’s Star (Wildcat Heir x Powerful Package by Star De Naskra): She rocks at the seven furlongs distance as proved by a 4-3-0-0 record. Two races back she was an easy winner of the Grade 3 Bed o’ Roses Handicap. Steve Klesaris could be sitting on the best long shot possibility in the race as she figures to be overlooked after a poor effort in the Grade 2 Molly Pitcher. David Cohen picks up the mount.