Rushing Fall enters Belmont Park's opening Wednesday feature, the Grade 3, $100,000 Beaugay Stakes, off a 242-day layoff and a poor effort to close out last year’s campaign. By default, though, the classy 5-year-old mare gets the nod in a difficult handicapping race for older fillies and mares on turf.
What makes this six-horse field so tough to narrow down? None of them are especially trustworthy, as the Beaugay contains two stars with questions, three entries with modest talent and a transfer from Italy.
To recap her 2019 season, Rushing Fall started out in excellent fashion by winning Keeneland's Jenny Wiley Stakes (G1) and Belmont's Just a Game Stakes (G1) in gate-to-wire fashion. At that point, she looked like one of the leading contenders for the female turf Eclipse Award.
But when Rushing Fall competed in the Diana Stakes (G1) at Saratoga, she failed to hold off Sistercharlie in the champion's season debut. Rushing Fall finished second by 1 ¾ lengths, which is a clear margin in turf racing.
Later in October, Rushing Fall regressed further in the First Lady Stakes (G1) at Keeneland, the same site of her Jenny Wiley score in April. Instead of showing speed, she came out of the gate flat-footed and lagged in eighth early.
At least Rushing Fall made a mild move on the far turn to get into position.
At the top of the stretch, Rushing Fall had a clear outside path. She let Uni pass without a fight as well as Vasilika later on.
The lack of interest shown is concerning, as fillies sometimes call it a career on their own. On the positive side, the connections brought bring her back. Trainer Chad Brown would tell the owners if she was done, and he has commented recently that Rushing Fall may have been short on fitness for the First Lady owing to a sickness over the summer.
Rushing Fall is 3: 2-1-0 at Wednesday's 1 1/16-mile distance. She won't face the strongest field either, as Got Stormy brings questions as well.
With some reservations, Rushing Fall is the top win pick.
As for Got Stormy, there is a slight concern she lost some interest in racing,, too. For one, she started off this season with a poor fourth-place finish in the Endeavour Stakes (G3) at Tampa Bay Downs. Perhaps she needed one race.
Next, Got Stormy finished second in the Frank E. Kilroe Mile (G1) at Santa Anita after pressing the pace and securing the lead at the top of the stretch. She received the best possible trip for her running style, and River Boyne still mowed her down.
To her credit, Got Stormy did finish second in a Grade 1 race against males. The third-place Next Shares went on to run a troubled second in the Shoemaker Mile (G1) next time.
However, it doesn't appear Got Stormy wants to run farther than one mile. Her poor race in the Endeavour came at 1 1/16 miles.
She also hung in the aforementioned Jenny Wiley last April, only holding third by a neck after making a threatening move.
In fact, Got Stormy is 4: 0-0-1 at 1 1/16 miles, making her a toss in this situation.
For the B or C slot or underneath in exotics, Fifty Five, Call Me Love and Xenobia all deserve a glance just in case Rushing Fall does not fire.
Fifty Five closed for fourth in the Ballston Spa (G1) at Saratoga last summer, only losing by half a length to Significant Form. She also finished 2019 with victories in the New York-bred restricted John Hettinger Stakes and Ticonderoga Stakes at Belmont.
Brown trains this 6-year-old mare, and Joel Rosario decides to hop on board. On her best day, she could upset the field.
Call Me Love comes from Italy, while the United Kingdom and France are generally regarded as the places with quality turf racing.
But she does enter the Christophe Clement barn and Junior Alvarado takes the call. According to TimeformUS, the Clement/Alvarado team hits at a high 25-perecent over the past year.
As for Xenobia, she won the Athenia Stakes (G3) at Belmont. If nothing else, at least she won at the Grade 3 level already.
Passing Out completes the field, but she is likely overmatched.
Clearly, Rushing Fall will not offer a great price. She is a low 6/5 on the morning line and not likely to drift any higher. But relying on Rushing Fall is unavoidable, as she owns the right class and loves the distance.
Use Rushing Fall on top and choose either Fifty Five, Call Me Love or Xenobia alongside the favorite or underneath.
|#||Silks||Horse / Sire||Rank||Rating||Trainer / Jockey||Last Start||HRN|
More Than Ready
Sea The Stars
|C. McGaughey III|