This is the time of year for the really good three-year-olds to step up and prove to their elders that they can account well for themselves no matter the competition, and if it happens to come in a grade 1 race, all the better. One such sophomore with a great opportunity to do just that is In Lingerie, as she takes on a full field tomorrow in the Grade 1 Juddmonte Spinster at Keeneland. A win would not only be her first grade 1 win, but it would also earn her a trip to California for the Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic.
In Lingerie has been nothing if not consistent in her brief career for Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and Gary Barber. The regally-bred daughter of Empire Maker sports a solid record of 6-3-2-1 since making her career debut this January at Turfway Park. Graded stakes wins came in only her third and fourth lifetime starts in the Grade 3 Bourbonette Oaks, also at Turfway, and the Grade 2 Black-Eyed Susan at Pimlico. The good looking bay filly has only started twice since then, and both times she ran into the buzzsaw speed and talent of Questing. Although collecting a 3rd, and then second in the pair of prestigious grade 1 races at Saratoga, truth be told she simply was no match to the winner in either the Coaching Club American Oaks or the Alabama.
Things could prove different in grade 1 attempt #3 though, as first off, there will be no Questing to worry about, but also she not only returns to the state where she boasts a perfect 2-for-2 record, but she will be reunited with a synthetic surface, in which she is also unbeaten in two tries. John Velazquez will be in the saddle in the historic $500,000 race, and In Lingerie will break from post 5. The Todd Pletcher charge has drawn well and should be able to gain a good early position with her tactical speed. From there it will just come down to whether or not she is good enough to beat the big girls. Gaining her first grade 1 victory will be anything but simple, however; as this edition of the Spinster is littered with graded stakes winning older females.
If you are looking for the horse to beat in the 2012 Spinster, look no further than last year’s winner, Aruna. A late-running and impressive winner of the 2011 edition for trainer Graham Motion, Aruna will be looking to become only the fourth ever horse to score in consecutive runnings of the important race for older fillies and mares. A very solid turf performer, the five-year-old daughter of Mr. Greeley hopes to return to her best form after a disappointing run in the Grade 1 Beverly D. last time out. In fairness, she had a very rough trip that day in what was one of the only poor races of her career, so it would be no surprise to see her return to her best form. After last year, we already know that she can handle the Polytrack.
If you think Aruna is the horse to beat, you have to also give a long look to Mystical Star, who has run consistently well in three straight grass races against Aruna, and before that completed a solid win over the Keeneland Polytrack in an April allowance race.
Another to be strongly considered is Tiz Miz Sue. The daughter of Tiznow has been keeping company with only the best of late, including giving champion Royal Delta everything she wanted in the Delaware Handicap two starts back. It’s been awhile, but trainer Steve Hobby expects no problem for her on the return to a synthetic surface, where she finished first or second in all three starts as a juvenile at Arlington Park. Like In Lingerie, a solid performance in the Spinster would send the five-year-old mare to the Breeders’ Cup Ladies Classic next.