There is no doubt that maidens often run big and can win graded stakes races for two -year-olds.
But it still feels like a bit of wiseguy play when I land on one.
Such is the case in the $100,000 Debutante Stakes (G3) at Churchill Downs on Saturday. Slated for 5:25 p.m. ET, the six-furlong dirt race drew a field of 10 two-year-old fillies. It is the 10th race on an 11-race card. For those of you looking to leverage an opinion in here, it is the third leg of the late pick 4.
Calling them like I see them, maidens or not....
1 Truthandknowledge: Ships down from "the River" with a very slow speed figure.
2 Quiet Success: Rallied from 8th up to 3rd after breaking roughly in the debut at Keeneland. Much quicker out of the gate when she tried dirt at Churchill. Ran down a 1-to-2 shot from the barn of two-year-old speed specialist Wesley Ward. Has shown she can finish from a stalking position. Win candidate.
3 Blueeyesintherein: Very impressive Churchill debut, in which she drew off under a hand ride. Top fig, and she ran fast from start to finish, looking good. Likely deserving favorite.
4 Neith: D. Wayne Lukas optimistically enters this maiden filly by Dynaformer out of a Carson City mare (the "Barbaro" cross) off a 5th-place debut. She put a rally in and tired. I thought it looked like she will move forward off that education. Closet Lukas fans will (and should) consider using this filly. "Use underneath" candidate for me.
5 Floral Sky: Very solid debut for this Sky Mesa filly. She broke slowly and rushed to engage. She showed some guts winning a stretch-long duel with yet another Ward speedster. 5th-place finisher came back to win a Churchill MSW by 5. Yet another win contender.
6 Shesakitty: She broke in the air in the debut vs. Blueeyesintherein and ran her first quarter in a slow 24-flat. Then, she put on a bit of a show with a 4-wide rally for second, still beaten 3 3/4 lengths. She ran her final 5/16 in 28-flat (smokin'). That's a serious turn of foot. She is a win contender and a potential key if the public shies from betting a maiden.
7 My Daughter's Song: Looks too slow.
8 Love Me Good: The third-place debut at Keeneland and the nice maiden win at Presque Isle Downs make me want to bet this one in a NW1 at Arlington, or later this fall at Keeneland. First-time dirt and she needs to improve in the speed figure department, so I'll look to catch her on the drop. Could maybe use underneath.
9 Dancing Elliebelle: She turned on the afterburners when asked for speed in the debut win at Canterbury (3 1/2 lengths faster than the split division). I like the pedigree (Pure Prize, out of a Smart Strike mare), but the class rise is huge, and she is stretching out from 3 1/2 furlongs. That barely even qualifies as a race in my book! However, I am in this one's corner if anyone wants a River Downs shipper (#1) vs Canterbury shipper (#9) side bet.
10 Richie'slilcowgirl: She's the co-top figure (along with Blueyeesintherein), but this one did it on Polytrack at Arlington. She showed smooth acceleration that day, improving her advantage at every call. Changes barns from Larry Rivelli to Steve Asmussen. Not sure if that's a lateral move in this spot or a move-up. For those who are not familiar with Chicago-based Rivelli, it's "game on" when he debuts a fast two-year-old.
Parimutuelly speaking... I rate #6 Shesakitty as good or better than anything in this field and likely to improve a little second out. Hence, at 5-1 on the morning line, I could consider pressing her in the pick 4. Otherwise I am 2-3-5-6-10 for comfortable multi-race coverage.
Intra-race, I would look to key Shesakitty to run 1st or 2nd as long as I get 5-1 (or maybe a tick below). None of my top five (2-3-5-6-10) should be double digit odds. If the public shuns one of them, I could get on board (with a value win bet or a part wheel with the other contenders).
Please share who you like this weekend and good luck!