Bob Baffert's fleet filly Contested looks like the one to catch in Friday's Grade 3 Eight Belles at Churchill Downs.
Contested just missed as the favorite in her long ago Del Mar bow before graduating in style at Santa Anita Park second time out. She cruised versus three rivals as the heavy favorite in her sharp April comeback at the Great Race Place and might not look back if she shakes loose early under Martin Garcia.
Small Kitchen faded in the G2 Fair Grounds Oaks but she cuts back in distance and is 2-for-2 sprinting. She reunites with winning pilot Napravnik and could rebound at this shorter seven panel trip.
Good Deed owns a pair of minor sprint stakes tallies and looms a pace factor at the very least.
Trainer Dale Romans has a shot in here with Xunlei. The daughter of D'wildcat relaxed nicely in a smart seven furlong tally against Florida-bred stakes rivals at Tampa Bay last time. Romans also trains outside pace player My Due Process.
The 8-horse field is completed by Always Here Too, Volcat, and Livi Makenzie.