Chub Wagon won the Shine Again Stakes at Pimlico last Sunday to improve her record to seven wins in seven starts. One debatable question is whether she can take the next step forward and win graded-stakes races.
Based on speed figures, the answer is yes. If the connections do not mind the possibility of the streak ending at some point, the 4-year-old filly is fast enough on TimeformUS to win at higher levels. If she can avoid Gamine, she probably could pick up a few Grade 2 or Grade 3 races.
In Chub Wagon’s three starts before the Shine Again, she won an Aqueduct optional claiming race with a 112, the Unique Bella Stakes at Parx Racing with a 110 and the Skipat Stakes at Pimlico with a 106 on TimeformUS. As of this writing, the Shine Again TimeformUS figure is not entered in the system, but it is notable that Chub Wagon beat Hello Beautiful in second, who shows a 118 and 114 in her two prior starts.
Visually, the most impressive part about Chub Wagon’s win over Hello Beautiful is that she overcame a pace scenario that favored Hello Beautiful.
Hello Beautiful held an uncontested lead through a moderate pace.
Despite the flow of the race in Hello Beautiful’s favor, Chub Wagon ran her down.
Chub Wagon is not far off the best fillies in the division, or even the best filly. The top female sprinter, Gamine, shows surprisingly low speed figures of 112 and 114 this year. The latter figure came when winning the Derby City Distaff (G1) in early May. In all likelihood, those TimeformUS figures were a product of a slow pace, but it is hard to tell.
The scary part about Gamine is that she earned a 125 when romping by 18 3/4 lengths in the Acorn Stakes (G1) last year, as well as a 133 in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint, where she won by 6 1/4 lengths. When Gamine is at her best, she is a monster who other fillies cannot touch.
Beyond Gamine, though, the division is not very intimidating.
Sconsin earned a 116 for finishing second to Gamine in the Derby City Distaff at Churchill Downs, but then regressed to a 108 when capturing the Winning Colors Stakes (G3) on the same racetrack.
Estilo Talentoso earned a 113 for finishing third in the Derby City Distaff. She then won the Bed O Roses Stakes (G3) at Belmont, while regressing to a 112.
Speaking of the Bed O Roses, the favorite Victim of Love set the pace before finding the competition a little too stiff. She faded to fifth while earning a 107 on TimeformUS. One start prior to the Bed O Roses, though, Victim of Love won the Vagrancy Stakes (G3) over the same racetrack with a 110 on TimeformUS.
Chub Wagon certainly can fire a 110 or better with her current form. On her best day, she can match Estilo Talentoso’s range of 112 or 113.
There are other talented female sprinters not discussed yet, but none of them are capable of breaking 120 on TimeformUS at this point.
Kimari won the Madison Stakes (G1) in early April at Keeneland with a 117. One start prior to that race, she took the Spring Fever Stakes at Oaklawn with a 118.
Edgeway captured the Carousel Stakes at Oaklawn with a 115. The runner-up Frank’s Rockette lost by only 3/4 of a length with a matching 115. Two lengths behind Edgeway, Casual ran third with a mild move while earning a respectable 114.
Casual is an interesting barometer, as she also finished second to Kimari in the Spring Fever Stakes, losing by 4 1/4 lengths with a 112. In other words, Casual shows a 114 in the Carousel and 112 in the Spring Fever.
Chub Wagon beat Casual by two lengths in the Skipat, yet she shows only a 106 for the win – over a filly that ran a 112 and 114 in her previous two starts. Perhaps Casual ran a bit slower than usual in the Skipat, although it does make one wonder whether Chub Wagon’s TimeformUS figure “ceiling” is somewhere a little above Casual's 112-114 range.
After all, Chub Wagon beat Casual by two lengths, which matches the margin that Edgeway beat Casual by in the Carousel while earning a 115 on TimeformUS. Plus, Chub Wagon just beat Hello Beautiful in the Shine Again with an unknown figure, and Hello Beautiful ran a 118 and 114 in her previous starts. Hello Beautiful runs her best in Maryland too.
In all likelihood, Chub Wagon is capable of posting a 115 TimeformUS Speed Figure, or maybe a little higher if she continues to improve. If the connections wish to attempt higher levels, she can win Grade 2 or Grade 3 races with that kind of speed figure as long as they monitor the competition closely and pick spots that favor her upfront running style.
In terms of the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Sprint, though, that kind of race is probably a little too steep for her to make, let alone win. Then again, stranger things happen in horse racing.