G2 La Prevoyante (Calder)
Communique has had a very good year, placing in six of seven races including second to Mauralakana in the G1 Beverly D and most recently to Dynaforce in the G1 Flower Bowl. She’s also two for two lifetime in placing at 12 furlongs, including a win in the G3 Bewitch at Keeneland back in April.
Herboriste holds the distance advantage, with five placings in six tries at 12 furlongs, including a win in the non-graded Dowager at Keeneland last out with Julien Leparoux up. She did finish fifth in this race last year coming in off a similar layoff, but she has improved with age, finishing in the money in six of seven races this year.
Palmilla looks just a notch below both Communique and Herboriste who have had her number of late. J’ray is the horse-for-the-course, with four placings in four tries, including two wins.
Longshot Flyer: The Niagara Queen makes her first start for Todd Pletcher after being sold at the November Keeneland sale for $350,000. She failed terribly last out over a yielding course in G2 Canadian behind J’ray, but her recent workouts suggest she could overthrow her stablemate on the front end with Chris DeCarlo up.
LA Champions Day Turf (Fair Grounds)
With Tortuga Flats (class rating, speed last race) and Autobeacat (best distance speed) scratched, Desert Wheat and Lee’s Spirit look to be the primary challengers. Bill Mott-trained Desert Wheat won the off-turf Mr. Sulu Stakes last out, and stakes up well against state-bred competition. Lee’s Spirit is riding a three-race win streak. Last year’s victor Willist is back, but has had a tough time finding the line this year with his last turf placing all the way back on January 5.
Longshot Flyer: Eddie Martin Jr. has a habit of riding big upset horses, so I’m taking a hard look at Brendyn Jo who has never finished far back on turf, including three placing (two wins) in four attempts. Could be ready for Bret Calhoun here.
LA Champions Day Sprint (Fair Grounds)
After scratching from the Classic, Star Guitar goes here looking to follow-up his win in last year’s LA Juvenile; he’s undefeated in three sprints at Fair Grounds and gets Robbie Albarado up. Tortuga Straits finished second in last year’s Sprint, but his last two races were on turf; two strong works leading to this. It would be a miracle if eight-year-old Meteor Impact came back to win two years after taking this race; after 21 months off, he’s failed to place in two outings, yet his last workout was extremely good and third time could be a charm.
Longshot Flyer: Captain Buddy narrowly lost to Tortuga Straits in the Cajun Stakes two back, but followed that up with a dominating win in the Zydeco Stakes at Delta Downs last out.
G1 Hollywood Starlet (Hollywood Park)
Can Laragh wire this race? Her turf numbers are good, but I’m not sold on her over Pro-Ride, especially at a short price. It’s the other gray, Alpha Kitten, who looks the danger for the potent John Sadler-Mike Smith combo. Her breeding indicates she should handle the step up in distance. Darley send Pamona Ball with hot Rafael Bejarano up; she comes in with a two-race win streak, and both at this distance. Major threat.
Longshot Flyer: Wynning Ride was closing well late in the Moccasin last out; with Joe Talamo up for Bob Baffert, this daughter of Candy Ride could pull a big upset.