Post-Breeders’ Cup season begins with the Grade 2, $200,000 Mrs. Revere Stakes at Churchill Downs on Saturday, a 1 1/16-mile turf race for 3-year-old fillies. The seven-horse field is a competitive one, with each filly in the race a threat to win.
Assuming the rain holds off until Sunday, the three fillies with the best chance all exit the Valley View Stakes (G3) at Keeneland: Stunning Sky, Princess Grace and How Ironic. Stunning Sky is more recognizable than Princess Grace or How Ironic, but the difference between them based on their Valley View performances is not very significant.
From a value perspective, here is how to view their last-race efforts.
Stunning Sky won the Valley View by half a length. In her summer form, she also shows runner-up finishes in the lucrative Saratoga Oaks Invitational and Lake Placid Stakes (G2), making her a worthy favorite with proven class beforehand.
In the Valley View, she overcame a wide trip on both turns to close from second-to-last and mow down the leader Princess Grace.
Stunning Sky’s ability to sustain the rally is impressive, especially after Princess Grace briefly opens up. She took advantage of her own long legs to mow the front-runner down.
With that said, Stunning Sky did receive a pace setup. The public is not going to get a value price on Stunning Sky because this is not a strong field. Based on the recent win, she figures to start around 5/2.
Is 5/2 or 3/1 a good deal on Stunning Sky? The pace is less probable to set up
for closers this time. Also, she draws Post 3 now. The outside trip in
the Valley View possibly gave Stunning Sky room to stretch her legs, despite the ground
Value aside, Stunning Sky is the best horse in this race.
Princess Grace is also bettable. It depends on what tradeoff bettors are willing to make between ability and price, and she is not far off.
Consider that none of the speed horses in the Valley View stuck around at the finish, including Outburst, Walk in Marrakesh and the 3-1 co-favorite Duopoly. When none of the speed lasts, it suggests a fast pace.
When the front began to fold, Princess Grace made the first move after saving ground and tipping out on the turn. She just blew all her energy by midstretch, and lost because of a combination of that first move into a probable fast pace and Stunning Sky’s relentless late run.
In this spot, Princess Grace might sit closer to a softer pace. According to TimeformUS Pace Projector, Positive Danger is supposed to lead with Princess Grace alone in second through a pace scenario that TimeformUS labels as blue.
If Princess Grace makes the first move in a race that favors the front, she could reserve enough energy to hold off Stunning Sky this time at a higher price. The public is not going to favor trainer Michael Stidham over Michael Maker on turf.
Plus, Princess Grace makes her second graded stakes start and only her fourth career start. With more experience under her belt, she is capable of moving forward.
As for How Ironic, she lost by only one length to Stunning Sky in the Valley View and nearly caught Princess Grace for second, missing by half a length. The impressive part is how she began the top of the stretch in last and cut through traffic in the middle of the field to reach that point, which is not easy for any closer.
Blog followers might remember How Ironic as a longshot selection in the Dueling Grounds Oaks at Kentucky Downs, but unfortunately, she ran a dismal seventh. Since not every horse handles the unique European-style configuration of Kentucky Downs, cross the flop out.
How Ironic offers the highest odds out of the trio. The lone negative is that How Ironic projects to start farther back than even Stunning Sky through a slow pace. If the pace projection is wrong, though, watch out for How Ironic’s run late. In a normal pace scenario, she is the better value compared with Stunning Sky.
If your multi-race wager can handle three horses, Stunning Sky, Princess Grace and How Ironic are the ones to use, with How Ironic a possible B because of the slow pace working against her on paper.
From a win or place bet standpoint, Princess Grace is the right choice. With some luck, Princess Grace will get first jump on Stunning Sky and hold off the expected favorite this time.
|Rank||Silks||Horse / Sire||Rating||Trainer / Jockey||Last Start||Status|
B. Hernandez, Jr.
Declaration of War
R. Santana, Jr.
More Than Ready