The $400,000 First Lady (G1) at Keeneland on Saturday attracted a huge field of 14 fillies and mares going one-mile on the turf. The “Win and You’re In” affair will give the winner of the grassy test a direct berth into the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf (G1) at Santa Anita on November 2. A talented and well-matched field awaits in one of the better betting options of the weekend.
First Lady Stakes Analysis
There is a good measure of early pace in the First Lady and it could set things up nicely for a winning rally from off the early tempo. #1 Conquest Hardcandy (50-1), #2 Awesometank (15-1), #3 Juliet Foxtrot (8-1), #5 Marina’s Legacy (50-1), #8 Mitchell Road (12-1) and #11 Rushing Fall (9-5) and #12 Ms Bad Behavior (12-1), all possesses an affinity for running on or close to the early pace.
A trio of top closing types, #4 Uni (4-1), #6 Vasilika (5-1) and Euro import #13 Just Wonderful (12-1), should each benefit from the expected contested early proceedings. I think whichever of this accomplished trio gets the cleanest trip will come out on top in the First Lady. I will give a slight edge to the latter for value purposes.
First Lady Stakes Wagers
- $10 Win and Place: #13 Just Wonderful = $20
- $1 Exacta Box: 3,4,6,11,13 = $20
First Lady S. Contenders
#1 CONQUEST HARDCANDY (50-1) — Candy Ride mare was a close fifth in the Ballston Spa (G2) most recently and makes her first run since arriving in the Michelle Nevin barn. Five-year-old faces a daunting task from the rail and will need a lifetime best to challenge for a share late.
#2 AWESOMETANK (15-1) — Beverly D. S. (G1) runner-up was through early in the Woodbine Mile (Can-G1) against the boys, and the European lands in another demanding field on Saturday. Intense Focus filly needs marked improvement off her latest to contend with a superb cast. James Doyle comes in for the voyage.
#3 JULIET FOXTROT (8-1) — Brad Cox trainee is a nose shy of being unblemished since arriving in the U. S. Juddmonte homebred continues to train strongly this campaign and Dansili filly has upset potential for Brad Cox. Florent Geroux will be in the stirrups.
#4 UNI (4-1) — Likely post-time favorite was a solid third in the Fourstardave S. (G1) against the boys at Saratoga in her most recent venture. Chestnut dons a fine 6-5-0-1 mark at a mile and has room for improvement in a third race of 2019. Regular rider Joel Rosario will be on board.
#5 MARINA’S LEGACY (50-1) — Aaron West pupil was runner-up with state-bred foes at Indiana Grand most recently and takes a massive class hike in here. Divine Park mare will be part of the early action, but the five-year-old looks hard to back against this superb cast.
#6 VASILIKA (5-1) — Win machine makes her first run outside of the Golden State since joining the Jerry Hollendorfer barn. Classy daughter of Skipshot is consistently excellent and the five-year-old should receive a nice pace to run at in the lane today. Flavien Prat rides the obvious contender.
#7 INDIAN BLESSING (12-1) — European lass was a close second in the Ballston Spa (G2) last time out and also finished third in this race in 2018. Ed Walker trainee has consistency and rates a top-three chance with a peak performance. Jamie Spencer comes in to guide the five-year-old.
#8 MITCHELL ROAD (12-1) — Half-sister to Kentucky Derby (G1) victor Country House was second in the Ladies Turf S. (G3) at Kentucky Downs in preparation of her Grade 1 bow. Talented daughter of English Channel will need to get faster to challenge in the latter stages today under Leparoux.
#9 SIMPLY BREATHLESS (20-1) – Neil Drysdale trainee has finished in the top three in each of her four assignments since coming stateside. Bated Breath four-year-old had a useful prep for this affair when third at Kentucky Downs last time out. Grade 3 heroine could make the frame with a step forward from off the pace beneath Brian Hernandez, Jr.
#10 STORM THE HILL (20-1) — Multiple Grade 3 vixen from the Phil d’Amato shedrow has been consistent in 2019, but she will need a lifetime best to be a factor inside the final furlong against this bunch. The Get Stormy mare will be seen tracking the pace early on under Beschizza.
#11 RUSHING FALL (9-5) — Standout filly is four-for-four at Keeneland, and she also sports the same lifetime mark when going the distance of one-mile. One of two live contenders in the field for Chad Brown was a brave second to Mysistercharlie in the Diana (G1) in her most recent endeavor, and the More Than Ready filly will appreciate the cut back in distance. Regular pilot Castellano stays in the silks.
#12 MS BAD BEHAVIOR (15-1) — Recent Grade 3 queen has won or placed in 11 of 13 career races on turf to this stage of her development. Four-year-old daughter of Blame has big early speed and could be dangerous at a big price with a sensible trip. Jose Ortiz riding is a benefit.
#13 JUST WONDERFUL (12-1) — Dangerous contender was an excellent third in the recent Matron S. (Ire-G1) going a mile at Leopardstown most recently. Dansili sophomore was runner-up in the Belmont Oaks Invitational S. (G1) in the summer and could run them down late with any improvement off of her latest. Wayne Lordan will take the reins.
#14 HANALEI MOON (30-1) – Mark Casse trainee is a question mark at the Grade 1 level, and the filly also draws widest in the 14-horse contingent. The likely longshot will need a lot of things to go right to get a piece of the pie under Tyler Gaffalione.