As stated before, bettors face a risk in taking a short price on a favorite stretching out in distance for the first time. Although visual clues and pedigree provide hints, they are not perfect predictors of stamina.
In the case of Chocolate Gelato, she starts as the favorite in the Grade 1, $400,000 Frizette Stakes on Sunday at the Belmont at Big A meet. At this point, Chocolate Gelato only shows two maiden sprints on record and one first-place finish with a huge margin. Now she needs to prove herself in a one-turn mile in her Grade 1 debut on a possible wet track.
The unknown variables in play make accepting a low price harder.
To give credit to Chocolate Gelato, she dominated the field by 8 1/2 lengths in that Aug. 14 maiden race at Saratoga after setting an easy pace early on. Jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. only used mild encouragement at best on Chocolate Gelato in the stretch run, as she came home in a strong manner that suggests another huge effort if she handle the stretchout and rain.
For the maiden win, Chocolate Gelato earned a 106 TimeformUS Speed Figure, which TimeformUS adjusted down from a raw 109 because of the slow pace. For those who use Beyer Speed Figures, she also posted a 92 on that brand. Both numbers are the field-high speed figures.
From a pedigree standpoint, Chocolate Gelato is supposed to handle one mile, especially with a dam line that extends to Daydreaming and Get Lucky. Daydreaming competed as a dirt router who won multiple graded stakes races up to nine furlongs. She was one of many foals out of Get Lucky, who also produced Supercharger, the dam of 2010 Kentucky Derby champion Super Saver.
Odds and value aside, there many factors that make Chocolate Gelato likable. She might turn into one of the bright stars heading into the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies with another dominating win in this spot.
As shown by Echo Again in the Iroquois Stakes (G3) and Grand Love in the Pocahontas Stakes (G3) a couple of weeks ago though, a good routing pedigree does not guarantee success at stretching out. Chocolate Gelato needs to go from six to eight furlongs, which is not an easy task. With rain in the forecast, there is no guarantee she will handle the footing either.
Todd Pletcher trains Chocolate Gelato as well, which further hurts the odds on this filly as the public tends to love Pletcher 2-year-olds.
The race contains another eight-length maiden winner in The Great Maybe, who broke her maiden in a six-furlong sprint on Aug. 28 at Saratoga.
After pressing the pace, The Great Maybe took command of the lead by the half-mile point and drew clear in the stretch under mostly her own power. Similar to Ortiz on Chocolate Gelato, Javier Castellano gave minimal urging to The Great Maybe in a visually impressive effort.
The Great Maybe earned a 102 TimeformUS Speed Figure and 82 Beyer Speed Figure for the eight-length victory. Those speed figures are still lower than Chocolate Gelato’s 106 and 92. However, the difference is not insurmountable, especially with the stretchout and possible rain in play.
Pedigree-wise for The Great Maybe, there are mainly sprinter influences on the dam side of this pedigree. On the top side though, Upstart works fine as a route sire and could balance out the family. This year alone, Upstart’s top three progeny by earnings are routers. The list includes Blue Grass Stakes (G1) winner Zandon, Kathleen O. and Green Up.
At her morning-line odds of 7-2, The Great Maybe is playable. She could fall to 3-1 and still offer a more interesting deal than Chocolate Gelato, who will probably start at a little less than even money as the favorite.
Can Chocolate Gelato dominate again though at low odds? Maybe. Both fillies are usable in multi-race wagers, as even value bettors still need to protect their tickets with Chocolate Gelato, who is talented. If playing a simple win bet though, then The Great Maybe looks like the right choice.
Win: 6 (at 3-1 or higher)