by Tim Holland
Trainer Donald Hunt has been known to win with longshots and saddles newcomer #2 The Velvet Beast (20-1). Filly has a speedy pedigree, being by The Big Beast and out of a mare by Montbrook, and works include a sharp 4-furlong move in :48 earlier this month. Bay could spring an upset in the opener with Lebron riding.
Some well-bred maidens here include #3 Pop a Choc (7-2), a daughter of Bernardini who is a half-sister to Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) runner-up Airoforce. Gray finished a good fourth despite trouble on the first turn from a wide post in her debut over the course and distance last month. Trainer Casse wins with 16% of his second time starters and filly can be in good early position from a better draw with Zayas up.
#3 Bareeqa (9-5) has not been seen since rallying from just off the pace to win a small stakes here in mid-February. Daughter of Girolamo has now won 4-of-9 starts on this turf and trainer Gargan wins with 25% of runners that have not raced for 46-90 days and has won with 32% of starters at this meet. Mare can be in good position throughout under Saez, who has won with two of last four rides for this stable.
An interesting allowance on grass includes #8 Patrol (6-1). $350K yearling purchase has not been seen since winning his debut on the main track at Aqueduct in mid-February. Filly should take to the surface being by promising young sire Liam’s Map and out of a mare who earned over $460K on turf. Recent works include a sharp 4-furlong move in :47 4/5 for trainer Casse, who wins with 16% of runners that have not raced for 46-90 days. Colt can be near the front from the start with Davis in the irons.
#4 Seranitsa (9-2) makes her first start for trainer Walsh and has not been seen since fading to finish unplaced at Del Mar in September. Four-year-old finished a good third in the Honeymoon (G3) three starts back and has been working well for Walsh, who wins with 21% of his runners that have not raced for 90 days or more. Daughter of Dialed In has tactical speed and can be near the front early with Juarez riding.
Trainer Motion wins with a solid 20% of his second time starters and saddles #8 Bright Street (15-1), who was not a threat while making late progress in her debut over the course and distance last month. Daughter of Medgalia d’Oro is out of Raven Run (G2) winner Madam Cactus, and Motion has won with 20% of runners this meet. Bay can show more here with Lebron in the saddle.
Newcomer #11 Rocket Strike (8-1) owns a good win early pedigree being by 13% first out sire Lookin at Lucky and out of a mare by Stormy Atlantic, whose offspring win 11% of their first outings. Half -brother to two winners cost $105K as a yearling and has been working well here for trainer Cox, who wins with 23% of runners making their debut in a maiden claiming event. Gelding appears ready to win at first asking under Talamo, who has won with 21% of rides for the barn in the last 60 days.
Maidens go 6-furlongs in the finale with 18% first-out trainer Asmussen saddling #8 It’s Mine (9-2), a debuting daughter of Medaglia d’Oro who is out of a stakes-winning mare who has produced Majestic River, winner of the Molly Pitcher (G2). Three-year-old cost $410K as a yearling and recent works at Keeneland include a 5-furlong move in :59 from the gate for Asmussen, who wins with 21% of his runners in maiden special weight events. Filly is likely ready to win at first asking with Santana up.
#5 Tilsa (4-1) debuts for trainer Thomas, who wins with 15% of his first-time starters and at a 27% clip on turf. Daughter of Flatter is out of a stakes-placed mare from a good family and has been working well. Three-year-old can win her debut under Centeno, who has won with four of last eight rides for this barn.
Trainer Potts has been winning with 38% of his first-time starters and sends out newcomer #2 Ridgelysredhot (12-1), a debuting daughter of Friesan Fire who is out of a stakes-placed mare. Chestnut posted a decent 4-furlong work in :49 4/5 from the gate two weeks ago and is worth a look with Garcia in the irons.