A couple interesting 3-year-old filly races on Saturday, including the 1-1/16 mile Busher Stakes at Aqueduct. Todd Pletcher sends out the Tapit filly Anchorage who may be forgiven for her stumble out of the gate in the Busanda last out, but needs to prove worthy of her $540k price tag with a win here. Her dam Cross Your Heart is a half-sister to sire Broken Vow, and everything in her breeding suggests she should get the distance—a jockey change to Fernando Jara and breaking from the rail could help. Ramon Preciado ships in Dazzling Deborah from Philadelphia, whose two victories last year came in the claiming ranks—just not sure she inspires great confidence. Steve Asmussen sends out Ontario-bred Speightful Affair who broke her maiden at Aqueduct going one mile last out, even after stumbling at the start. Embrace Change has twice won over this track for Bruce Brown, albeit against state-bred company. Still, she should be a factor. For a huge price, I’m willing to risk Roman Chestnut, a filly I pegged last summer in her maiden effort at Saratoga (where she failed miserably)—and she’s toiled in the claiming ranks. There’s absolutely nothing to recommend her, especially going around two turns, BUT...I have a gut feeling about her, what can I say? (Go ahead, call me a sap).
For Hello Race Fans’ Derby Prep Alert this week, I took on the Martha Washington Stakes which features an extremely competitive field of 12. You can read my comments on the other site by following the link above, but let me reemphasize my good feeling about longshot Bell’s Shoes. She may have taken quite awhile to break her maiden, but her second race did produce the highest dirt speed figure of any filly in this race, and even when racing on Polytrack, she just barely lost to dual G1-placed Amen Hallelujah who recently won the G2 Santa Ynez. She’s got a lot of history on her side: her dam Isabell's Shoes won this race in 2005, her second dam Pink Shoes won it in 1995, and her third dam Fun Flight won it in 1988—and all three raced for owner Patricia Blass who sends Bell's Shoes here. Call it karma.
The G1 Las Virgenes—rescheduled from last weekend—drew a small field of six, dominated by multiple G1 victress Blind Luck making her 3-year-old debut. She’s the real deal, so I’d be shocked if she lost. Both G1-placed La Nez and G3 Santa Ysabel runner-up Evening Jewel have form against Caracortado who runs in the G2 Robert B. Lewis Stakes two races later, while Santa Ysabel winner Crisp and G2 Santa Ynez third-place finisher Switch both go postward for John Sadler.
For those interested in racing Down Under, I've got a new post on several highly-regarded fillies to watch for in the prep races leading to the Australian 2-year-old Triple Crown over at Fillies First.