Photo: Churchill Downs/Reed Palmer Photography
The facts are that our memories of the
highest-profile route races for 2-year-old fillies this year haven't
been the best. Most recently, She's A Tiger was DQ'd in the Juvenile
Fillies (the same race marred by the breakdown of Secret Compass) and
Stopchargingmaria prevailed in an unremarkable renewal of the
Demoiselle at Aqueduct.
This Saturday's Grade I Hollywood Starlet, though, looks like one of the most interesting races of the
year in that division. From a betting standpoint, it's pretty
wide-open, with Rosalind the lukewarm 3-1 choice on the morning line
in the field of eight.
There are plenty of different ways you
can go from a handicapping standpoint, and in this post, I'll try and
go down as many avenues as possible. Here now are the pros and cons
of each horse in the field, beginning with...
1) Concave (15-1)
Pros: The Doug
O'Neill trainee returns to a synthetic surface after two tries on
dirt. She broke her maiden at first asking over the cushion track at
Betfair Hollywood Park, and her third-place finish in the Grade III
Delta Princess last month showed her dud in the Juvenile Fillies was
the exception rather than the rule.
Cons: It's not like the
Delta Princess featured a cast of world-beaters, and the field she
faces today includes several sharp fillies. Additionally, this will
be Concave's third race in five weeks.
2) Taste Like Candy (7-2)
Pros: Jerry Hollendorfer's entrant couldn't have been
much more impressive in her October debut at Santa Anita. She drew
off to win by more than six lengths in 1:03 and change for the 5
1/2-furlong distance, and her pedigree (by Candy Ride, out of an A.P.
Indy mare) indicates that two turns shouldn't be a problem.
She isn't tested over the Hollywood Park surface, nor has she ever
gone two turns. At second asking, there's also the risk of a bounce,
especially against company much better than what she beat at first
3) Be Proud (12-1)
Pros: The longer-priced of
two Bob Baffert trainees in this field, Be Proud ran second over this
surface in the Sharp Cat last month. A hard-knocker by Proud Citizen,
she's finished first or second in five of her six career starts to
Cons: Martin Garcia gets off to ride Streaming
(the other Baffert entrant), and in the Sharp Cat, she was beaten
soundly by Arethusa, who also shows up in this spot.
4) Bajan (5-1)
Pros: You can make the argument that she seems to be
getting better with every start. She's won two stakes races in a row,
including the Moccasin earlier in the Hollywood Park meeting, and
while her lone off-the-board finish came in the Del Mar Debutante at
this level, she may not have had the best of trips that day.
While she went from last to first in the Moccasin, the final time
(1:24.26 for the seven-furlong distance) wasn't anything special, and
she bested just four others that day, none of whom show up in the
5) Untapable (4-1)
Pros: You can forget about the
Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies, as she was one of the horses who
checked hard behind the fallen Secret Compass. Draw a line through
that race, and you're left with a 2-for-2 graded stakes-winner from
the Steven Asmussen barn, one that's attracted the services of Joe
Talamo Saturday afternoon.
Cons: Both of those victories came
at Churchill Downs, and she is untested over the Hollywood Park
cushion track. Her works, while solid, have come over the dirt track
at Santa Anita, and 4-1 isn't a great price on a horse trying a
synthetic surface for the first time.
6) Arethusa (4-1)
The regally-bred daughter of A.P. Indy came to life on the cushion
track last out with a smashing win in the Sharp Cat. She rallied from
last to first and hit the wire clear by more than eight lengths at
this route, and as a result, you know she can handle the distance and
Cons: That was her first-ever victory, and much like
with Taste Like Candy, the risk of a bounce is there. That day,
even-money favorite Georgia didn't run a step, checking out early to
be fifth, and this is a pretty significant jump in class.
7) Streaming (8-1)
Pros: The second Bob Baffert trainee looked
solid in winning at first asking over the cushion track. She moved
four-wide that day while stalking fast fractions, and while she
needed to work harder than most odds-on favorites to win, she showed
she could handle some adversity. She has every reason to improve at
second asking, and Garcia picked her over the stakes-placed Be Proud.
Cons: Despite strong two-turn
breeding, the stretch-out from six furlongs to a mile and one
sixteenth is significant. There doesn't seem to be much early speed
in this race, and she may very well be the early pace-setter from her
outside post. Can she handle the extra five-sixteenths of a mile
against some pretty talented closers?
8) Rosalind (3-1)
For my money, Rosalind had one of the more underrated runs on
Breeders' Cup weekend in the Juvenile Fillies. She was one of the few
horses to make up significant ground on the main track before the
speed bias lessened, and with a few more strides, she may very well
have found herself in the winner's circle. Ken McPeek won this race
last year with Pure Fun, and top rider Joel Rosario stays on.
Will there be enough early pace here to set up her customary late
run? Additionally, the post isn't great, and she still hasn't beaten