A maiden race for two-year-olds, and some promising colts here, including the ill-named Troy G., a Cape Canaveral colt who is a half-brother to G3 Hollywood Juvenile champ Crowned Dancer. Excellent works for Ken McPeek including a nice 5f gate work. Todd Pletcher sends out the Grand Slam colt Laver who’s worked well, and is a half to G2 Schuylerville place-finisher Miss Mary Apples. Causin’ Havoc is by Medalgia d’Oro out of the G1 Apple Blossom winner Degenerate Gal; she’s produced 7 winners from 10 starters, including G3 Gallant Bloom victress Positive Gal and Blacktie Bid, a stakeswinner at 2. In clocker’s notes, Steve Asmussen’s Downrigger worked evenly with Merkel on March 25, and that one won easily at first asking last Friday, so probably good chance here.
Talkin Indian looks like a live longshot here—in two turf races at the Fair Grounds this year, she broke her maiden at first asking, then closed from far back to get second next out. Distance should be no problem, and the turf is definitely in her blood—she’s a half-sister to BC Turf champ Better Talk Now, out of the Baldski mare Bendita. Holy Grace has been a significantly better filly since switching to grass; she lost by less than a length to I Lost My Choo last out, and that one recently defeated She’s All Eltish who won the Bonnie Miss. My Baby Baby comes in off a disappointing third as the favorite in Florida Oaks and looks to rebound while returning to turf; she narrowly lost in her maiden effort to I Lost My Choo on a yielding turf at Gulfstream in January. Her dull workouts since are a concern, though, so may look to more practical pick in Scolara with high % combo of Mott-Desormeaux.
Indian Chant looks primed here, third off a layoff and after two narrow losses, one in Hot Springs S. Not only has this Thomas Amoss-trained gelding finished in the money in 17 of 20 lifetime starts, but also he’s kept good company, beating and then losing by ½ length last year in two races against recent Dubai Golden Shaheen victor Benny the Bull. Nice bullet work leading to this. Undefeated (and very lightly raced) five-year-old Forest Blue should get some money, as should Elite Squadron who finished third to Commentator in the 7f G2 Richter Scale last out.
The G2 Madison Stakes offers an evenly matched field of fillies and mares going 7f. Since switching to the barn of John Sadler, Dawn After Dawn has enjoyed better success, running on artificial surfaces in California—last out she held second to Nashoba’s Key in the G1 Santa Margarita, before that she easily won the G2 La Canada, and she was running very strongly in the G2 El Encino went her saddle slipped early, losing by five lengths to monster Zenyatta. Carriage Trail loves the distance, and comes in with narrow ½ length loss first out after nearly 10 month break; working well for Shug McGaughey. Wild Gams comes in with three solid works after four month break; Ramon Dominguez rode her to victory here last October in G3 Thoroughbred Club of America S. over Sugar Swirl.
Alwajeeha finished just 1-1/2 lengths behind Bsharpsonata in the 8.5f Tropical Park Oaks over the Calder turf, and looks top choice here. However, Clouds in the Sky is a live longshot, especially if turf softened by expected rain; she crushed a field of 10 in breaking her maiden by 10 lengths on a yielding Fair Grounds surface at this distance (admittedly against state-bred competition). Also in the mix if the turf is soft would be Grape Cottage whose best performances are on that—she’s also by Street Cry out of a Theatrical mare. Otherwise, bet on Michael Matz-trained Born To Be to transition to turf after last seen finishing third in the G3 Mazarine BC at Woodbine.