The Bed o' Roses Handicap, Race 9
By Mike Beer
The Grade 3 Bed o' Roses drew a competitive field of 11 fillies and mares and, lacking a standout favorite in the field, may well be determined by who gets the seven furlongs most effectively (only four of the entrants have posted a prior win over this trip, and one of those, Flattering Bea (#3, 10-1 Morning Line), has done it only at Charles Town, where the seven-furlong races are contested around two-turns) and, more specifically, by the pace of the race.
Pace Projector indicates that the likeliest runners to be up front early on are Five Star Momma (#2, 5-1), Ultimate Shopper (#4, 12-1), and Lion D N A (#11, 6-1), and indeed, they are all speed-types who do their best running up on the pace, though Lion D N A appears more versatile than the other two and benefits from her outside draw. She actually exits a stakes win at Pimlico last month in which she was able to sit back in a perfect tracking trip as Flattering Bea got herself involved in a race-long duel. Still, she'll want to be forwardly placed in here, as will Flattering Bea, who emerges from her two most recent tries sporting a pair of new top speed figures, both earned with a new front-running style. It's hard to believe that her connections would be looking to revert to her closing ways of the past, considering recent results, so we'll expect her to show speed once again. Classic Point (#9, 8-1) is another who could add fuel to the early fire, as she has won, or even run reasonably well, only when able to be part of the pace, and she turns back after showing the way early in that strong edition of the Grade 1 Ogden Phipps.
With that group of horses all, perhaps, looking to be involved early, we think that there is a good chance that a strong pace develops in the Bed o' Roses, and for that reason, we are looking for off-the-pace types in this race. The first closer to catch the eye is Street Girl (#10, 7-2), who just finished second in the Grade 1 Humana Distaff behind the talented Midnight Lucky. Street Girl also ran quite well to be a close 4th in the Grade 1 Ballerina last summer, and did so as a 3yo against older fillies & mares. She doesn't sprint very often, but she has run some of the best races in the field over this distance and is difficult to leave out. We can't say we love her, especially if she winds up favored, as the ML suggests she might be, but we'll leave her in our mix.
The horse we are most interested in having our money on in this race is Table Three Ten (#1, 20-1). Table Three Ten figures to be one of the biggest prices in the field, and, while we can understand why when looking at her running lines, we think she may have more to offer than the bare form indicates. Clearly, as a 5yo mare with only eight career starts to this point, she has had some problems. But she began her career as a highly promising prospect, posted back-to-back impressive wins sprinting, and was purchased privately by Team Valor International after her blowout debut win (note that she put up a 104 TimeformUS Speed Figure for that effort, as a 2yo). Since those two wins, Table Three Ten has sprinted on dirt only three times. She won in the Parx mud in her return from a long layoff last September, and then ran much better than it may appear when trying to rally over a speed-favoring track down at Gulfstream in the Hollywood Beach Stakes.
Take the short comment in the chart for that race, "passed tired ones," with a grain of salt, as she did much more running than that through the stretch, and just missed getting up for 3rd while against the track in there. In her last start, she tried to come wide after a front-running winner back at Parx and could only be second best. The rail draw shouldn't be a huge obstacle for her to overcome, as we think she will be letting the speed go in front of her anyway, and if she can catch some pace to run into over a fair track, we think she may be good enough to get a big piece of this race, and to perhaps spring the upset.
We are also interested in using a little of Calistoga (#7, 12-1) in this race, as she is another who has flashed potential. She has some legitimate excuses for not having accomplished more to this point. She will need to break through with a top effort in order to contend in here, but she is versatile enough to pull the right trip and is a square number on the morning line, as well.
The Summertime Oaks, Race 8
By Justin Finch
Formerly the Hollywood Oaks, what is now the Grade 2 Summertime Oaks features a field of eight three-year-old fillies going a mile and 1/16th on dirt for a purse of $200,000, and this field is nothing if not contentious.
According to the TFUS Pace Projector, this race will unfold at a pace that is neither fast nor slow. The early leader is projected to be the talented sprinter Delta Flower (#4, 5-2 Morning Line) as she makes her first attempt around two turns. The Bob Baffert-trained filly Jojo Warrior (#1, 3-1) is projected to be a close second as she, too, makes her first route attempt. Then there's a gap back to Stop Smiling (#8, 5-1) and Front Range (#6, 6-1), and another gap back to Live for Now (#2, 12-1) and Fleet of Gold (#7, 10-1), La Mejor Fiesta (#5, 6-1) and Arethusa (#3, 7-2) are the deep closers.
At her morning line odds of 12-1, we believe that the maiden Live for Now represents nice value in the Summertime Oaks. She will be our key.
Live for Now has had very difficult trips in her last two starts. Two starts back, in a Maiden Special Weight at this distance, she broke off balance, got into a bad spot early, got out, then found herself in claustrophobic conditions for much of the backstretch. Then she started laboring. Then she got her legs under her and was going well at the end of the race. That effort, her first on dirt, earned her a speed figure of 82, a number that hardly did justice to her effort.
In her most recent race, a Maiden Special Weight at a mile, Live for Now entered the first turn five-wide, continued around the first turn four-wide, made an early run on the backstretch, took the second turn four-wide, and still made a late surge at the winner, falling short by less than a length. She earned a speed figure of 90 for this effort. That is a number that is competitive in today's race. And keep in mind that our speed figures are not adjusted for groundloss.
If Live for Now proves capable of repeating the quality of her last effort, and does so while getting a trip that is something other than ridiculous, she can run with these horses today in this Grade 2, her maiden status notwithstanding, and she can do it at a price.
Cut out to be a top horse, Live for Now (who is a half-sister to Point Given) has a strong Pedigree Rating of 84, and, being by Tiznow, it is not a big surprise that it took getting on real dirt for her to come into her own.
As far as the rest of this field is concerned...
Jojo Warrior has been facing strong competition (exiting races that received Race Ratings of 99 and 97) in sprints, and she has competitive speed figures. However, she might find herself compromised by Delta Flower's early speed.
Clicking on the breeding section of her PPs, we see that Delta Flower is stretching out with a Pedigree Rating that is higher for dirt sprints (66) than for dirt routes (53). (Click here for more information on our new expanded Breeding Ratings.) In her favor, however, is the likelihood that she will be able to clear off early against this field. Also in her favor is that her lifetime-top speed figure, a 98, was earned in her lone 7F race, and that this number is faster than any number her competition has ever run. And trainer Jerry Hollendorfer gets an excellent 88 rating with first-time routers.
Arethusa was not disgraced in her three Grade 1 attempts. But her speed figures have been declining of late, a pattern that continued as she split the field in the Black-Eyed Susan. But she sports what is by far the best Late Pace rating in the field, a 100. She figures to benefit the most if things get too hot early.
Front Range, also trained by Bob Baffert, was a disappointment in her lone turf effort but has competitive dirt numbers and is still lightly raced.
Fleet of Gold has one race that can play in here--the 88 that she ran while she was being decisively beaten in an allowance race that included older horses. Toss her 10F turf race and one can make some sort of a case here at morning line odds of 10-1.
Win bet on Live for Now. Protect in exotics under Delta Flower and Arethusa.