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Friday, February 10, 2006

Lotsa Lotsa Value on Itty Bitty Pretty

- The Grade 1 Las Virgenes for three-year old fillies will be run on Saturday at Santa Anita, and this is the moment for which I’ve been waiting for some time now – to bet against Wild Fit (Wild Wonder) at a short price. I had her in the Breeders’ Cup, and she might very well have been the best filly in the race, but that of course was the Belmont one turn route. Even as I made that bet, I was already plotting to oppose her once she went back to two turns. Her one such effort was an extremely disappointing second at 1-2 to Diamond Omi, the last place finisher in the Juvenile Fillies. Wild Fit stalked a slow pace that day and came up empty in slow closing fractions, earning a mediocre Beyer of 79.

However, none of that may even matter here, because the fact is that figure-wise she’s amongst the slowest fillies in this race; and her spot in the outside eight post at this distance is not ideal. The problem is that with four other stakes winners in the field, and another who missed being one by a nose, she may not even be favored. In fact, she’s didn’t make the top three in the Form’s consensus box. but I’m hoping that the Juv Fillies line in her pp’s will indeed attract a lot of money and create value elsewhere.

And I believe that value can be had on Itty Bitty Pretty (El Corredor). This is not a filly that seems bred to stretch out much, but this is just a mile and she’s already proven she can get a bit longer. She made a big move forward in the mile and a sixteenth San Ysebel, her first race around two turns. With Pat Valenzuela, with whom she’s shown big improvement since he got back on, she was able to sit just a few lengths off a very slow pace, and she zipped home in :31 1/5 for the last 2 1⁄2 furlongs as Valenzuela just held on for the ride after taking her wide around both turns.

This will be a vastly different race than the San Ysebel, but it could set up for her just the same. I don’t think that Victor Espinoza and Corey Nakatani, on Balance (Thunder Gulch) and Meetmeinthewoods (General Meeting) respectively, will allow Diplomat Lady, 39-1 in the Hollywood Starlet, to lead throughout again; so there should be an honest pace up front. It’s entirely possible too that either Balance or Meetmeinthewoods will step up big time and put the field away; these are two fillies with a world of potential. But Itty Bitty Pretty could be 4th choice here, especially if Dance Daily and Talullah Lula, both of whom have shown a marked preference for sprinting, get overbet. Also note the similar workout pattern from prior to her last - the six furlong breeze a week before the race.

If one of the others is to jump up and steal the race up front, I think it will be Balance (Thunder Gulch), who has shown the versatility to lead or stalk. Though Meetmeinthewoods (General Meeting) may ultimately prove to be the best of these, I think she’s in a tough spot on the rail with speed outside of her; and remember this is only her third career race. Of course, a fast pace could also set things up for Wild Fit; her new trainer Patrick Biancone is excellent with layoffs in this range.

Picks: Itty Bitty Pretty, Balance, Wild Fit

- Achilles of Troy looks like a cinch in the Whirlaway at Aqueduct tomorrow if the card goes – there’s a blizzard warning for the area tomorrow afternoon and boy, what a shame it would be to be stuck inside all weekend with my Formulator and races from warmer climes. Ramon Dominguez takes over from Alan Garcia, and owner Ernie Paragallo didn’t beat around the bush in explaining why. "Ramon's got ice water in his veins….Alan is a good rider but he's still just a kid." [NY Daily News]

4 Comments:

Walter said...

...i gotta disagree with your assessment of Itty Bitty Pretty, Alan...she was run ragged by Diplomat Lady in that allowance race, and in the Santa Ysabel she encountered a speedless field...i was VERY surprised they opted to take her off the pace that day, because she had an obvious early-pace advantage against that crew, but it certainly worked to perfection as she stormed home pretty much in hand to win by open lengths...i must point out however that the pace of that race was excruciatingly slow, and though she finished out well, the final time was nothing to get excited about either...i really don't think she showed a whole lot that day, other than the fact that she's a nice filly and is capable of running a nice race...things will be far, far different this time around with Diplomat Lady back in the mix, and horses like Balance and Meetmeinthewoods to deal with...the pace will be much faster early, and the last time she was forced to chase hot fractions Diplomat Lady simply blew her off the track...even if she's improved to the point where she can outlast that one, i can't see her out-finishing Balance...i just think she's overmatched in here, Alan...Meetmeinthewoods is a wild-card, could go either way, but i'm 80% certain Balance beats her...just the way i see the race...

alan said...

Well, it wouldn't be any fun if we agreed on everything! I get your point. I just like her improvement with Valenzeula and, especially, around two turns. And, as usual, looking for some value.

Walter said...

...just picked up tomorrow's Form...and damn, there's a big picture of Wild Fit, with a quote from her trainer (Pat Biancone) saying she "needs the race"...this won't help Balance's price any...

...incidentally, i'll be out looking for matchups on the race tomorrow...i'll let you know what i find, if anything...

Handride said...

alan isn't there a place where i can get the video for free? i remember you talking about it at some point, but i don't have the patience to search, a repost of the link would be much appreciated.