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Sunday, October 21, 2007

Filly and Mare Turf

- Some relatively easy throwouts here. Argentina doesn't seem to want to go over nine furlongs. Arravale is off form this year. Danzon is untried at the distance and just seems a cut below. Lahudood is perhaps not as simple as the above, and has been quite consistent other than a disappointment over that soft Arlington turf on Million day; but I attribute her Flower Bowl win to a patient, ground-saving ride by the improving Alan Garcia; more power to him if he can duplicate that next week. The Aga Khan's Timarwa comes off a Group 3 win, and will have to step up based on her Group 1 efforts earlier in the year. Simply Perfect has done all of her good running at a mile and shorter.

One of the big keys to figuring this one is Wait A While (Maria's Mon). With one smashing exception, her Ballston Spa at Saratoga, she just hasn't been the same filly as the one who won an Eclipse last year. She had little apparent excuse running third in the Flower Bowl, except for the notion that she didn't like the course. Garrett Gomez said: "Both times I rode her on this turf course, she ran sub-par.” [NYRA] That actually entails both Belmont grass courses. I fell for Wait A While in last year's BC, and it cost me a boatload of money. Whatsmore, Jay Privman reports in the Form that she appeared uncomfortable going five furlongs in 1:04.32 on a soft course which she doesn't like at Belmont Sunday morning. That doesn't sound like ideal preparation. I'm leaning towards standing against her. (And note the rain now in the forecast this week.)

Assuming, and even if, Panty Raid goes in the Distaff, her first preference (she actually may not run at all), that leaves Nashoba's Key as the top prospect amongst the U.S. runners. The undefeated four-year old daughter of Silver Hawk demonstrated her will to win in the Clement Hirsch, when she was cleverly boxed in by Espinoza on Balance until the stretch, and then flew home with fierce determination to win going away. A loose on the lead Citronnade was no problem in the Yellow Ribbon, as she rallied past that one in 23.42 seconds. The extra eighth of a mile would seem to be no problem at all. She looks really tough here.

Honey Ryder (Lasting Approval) also gets a pass for a poor effort on the bog at Arlington on Million day, and returns to her favorite distance. At a mile and three-eighths this year, she has close seconds in Grade 1's against the boys, and a win in the Sheepshead Bay.

Passage of Time (Dansili) appears to be the best of the Euros, but still seems a bit of a question mark after being discovered to have a throat abscess after being favored in the English Oaks. She does come off a close third in the G1 Prix Vermeille however, her only effort since then, and trainer Henry Cecil, who rarely ships over here, chose this spot over the Champion Stakes.