Eight Belles Will Be a Wide Open Affair

Eight Belles (G3)- $200.000 Purse
CD- For Fillies Three Years Old
Seven Furlongs on The Dirt
May 1, 2015

The Oaks will not be the only graded event on the CD dirt for the three year old fillies on Friday, as we also have the Eight Belles for those who want to go two furlongs less.  It will be the 12th time the race has been run, and is the first time that a $200.000 purse is associated with it.  In the early days, it was run for half that, but over the last two editions it has gradually progressed to this level it is currently at.  You have to go all the way back to 2007 to find the race’s most prolific winner, that being Higher for trainer Eastern Equine.  Last year’s winner, Danzig Ghost is still going strong though has not been in the winners circle again.  No trainer has won the race more the once, but jockey J Velazquez has a two-race winning streak on the line!  He will be on the rail, so let’s meet his mount and the nine others that will go to the gate!

#1- Lass of Nebraska (D J C Racing Stables, ridden by J Velazquez)- Velazquez puts his winning streak on the line riding for the trainer who got him his last win aboard the aforementioned Danzing Ghost.   This filly figures to be more of a longshot though, despite having the hot jockey aboard.   She only has won two races, and while that alone would never disqualify her chances, you have to take notice that they were a state bred at FL and then a small allowance field at TAM last month.  She’s got the speed she needs, and with a couple of her rivals that are more accomplished actually cutting on their distance, it’s not out of the question that she could light up the board and surprise this field.

#2- Amazing Discovery (Mb Stables, ridden by R Bejarano)- Heads into the race off the best race of her career, based on SRF figures, in the GP Oaks where she earned a 97 figure.  That is the highest such figure that anyone in this field is coming off of in their prior race.    She knows how to be near the front, having won three of her seven career races, and only placing outside the top three in the Grade 2 Demoiselle, where she was fourth and only missed by a length.  That ability to be in the mix will help her here in a field that doesn’t have a clear cut favorite but has many good contenders.   Since there are several making the cut in their distance, I am not really concerned by the fact that she has only raced under a mile in her debut race.

#3- Hot Trick (Wynnewood, ridden by J L Castanon)- This will be the first race for Hot Trick while running for Wynnewood, having been purchased last month from Downwind Stables for $100.000.    Hot Trick is an interesting entry in this race, because it does indeed look like that she was not liking running more then a mile that her prior trainer kept giving her a steady dose of.   Running this distance earlier in her career, she seemed to be more in her comfort zone.  Now, the filly races for a trainer who excels at handling sprinters, and she has put her back to seven furlongs.  I would like her more, though, if she was showing a little more speed in her SRF figures.   Those low 90’s, which is what she scored when she last ran this distance in January are probably not enough to win here.  Careful in dismissing her though, because if Hot Trick has responded to a little bit of fine tuning by her trainer and got a little more speed, then that can be all it will take.

#4- Danzing Logic (Riggins Racing, ridden by B J Hernandez Jr)- If you want to apply logic to Danzing Logic, then the filly is due for a win here.  In her last five starts, she has rotated bad starts and victories back and forth.  That inconsistency, well, if you’ve read enough of my previews now you know how much I shy away from horses that show that.   One thing I really like was her workout at SA last week, which shows that she is ready to go and that we should not be concerned by the fact that she hasn’t run since February.  More then likely, Danzing Logic needed that time off to rejuvenate.   She has two graded stake wins to her credit, most recently the Grade 2 Golden Rod here at CD back around Thanksgiving.

#5- Shakira (Alydar Stables, ridden by C J Lanerie)-   Shakira is just beginning to get into her best form right now, after scoring a respectable third in the G1 SA Oaks.  It was only the fifth career race for the third quarter two year old, but it was also her fastest SRF recorded, which is something that she should be able to duplicate.  Also, I think cutting back on her distance will suit her well.  Workout times had been showing improvement until her last effort, and I wouldn’t be concerned over that.   Shakira is a very appealing play if none of the others cutting back in their distance are appealing to you, especially if her odds start climbing on race day.  She deserves strong consideration.

#6- Plucky Biscayne (Red Square Stables, ridden R J Albarado)- Fittingly, Plucky Biscayne will be right next to Shakira in the starting gate, because the two of them have not been able to get away from each other in their last two races.  For both, the last two races they have been are the G1 SA Oaks and G3 Santa Ysabel; and each time Plucky Biscayne has been one or two lengths behind Shakira, and Shakira only got third.   Although this filly scored a nice win in the G3 DED Princess in November, she is going to have to show she can beat Shakira first.  Even if she does, Shakira’s not the likely favorite in here, either.

#7- Pink Cajun Panther (Sanny Village, ridden by J R Leparoux)- She has won three of her four career starts, but none of them have been anywhere near this level of competition.  Purchased by Sanny Village from Jediminds Stable last June for $100.00, Pink Cajun Panther has a nice allowance win and optional claiming win, but nothing more.  She has been away for a little while, and obviously in that time, Sanny Village has improving his filly in order to have the confidence to enter her here.   It will be a good test, and she should be able to beat a few, but is a longshot to win.

#8- Princess O Princess (Oval Express Farms, ridden J L Ortiz)- The trainer thinks very highly of his filly to put her right back here after losing her last two graded efforts by a combined seventeen lengths.  The Princess might have just not liked the mud in the Grade 3 Alexandra, and she did run more competitively in the FG Oaks.  Here the trainer cuts back on her distance, which is needed, but based on work times, I wonder if that should be cut even further.   Only has the one maiden win at TP to her credit.  I will pass.

#9- Eva The Diva (Hawaiian Shirt Guy, ridden by M Mena)- This filly got off to a great start in her career, winning three of her first five career starts, one of which was the $350.000 My Dear of the FL Stallion Stakes at GP in October.  After a couple of disappointing finishes, her name began to slip off the radar, though recent form looks as though she is rebounding quite nicely.  She ran a competitive second in the $200.000 SUN Oaks in March, which was the last time we saw her.   On Sunday, she worked very impressively right here at CD.  Look for Eva The Diva to be a major challenger in this race.

#10- Chocolatini (Chili King Stables, ridden by S X Bridgmohan)- While Chocolatini has only won once, she made it count.  In her first nine races, she ran very competitively in small field maiden races, but kept finishing second or third.  While many would keep plugging away at MSW’s, Chili King sent her to the $200.000 Evening Jewel Stakes for CA-breds, where she finally won.  Evidently, racing against a bunch of non-winners kept cramping her style and she wanted to win when it mattered.   With that win, the distance of the Eight Belles is very good for her, but she will not be used to running against a field of this size, which can make starting from the 10-hole more of a challenge for her then it would be for others.   I would love her chances as one of the speed horses here if she had a better starting post.

Prediction: 2-9-5-4


— NS (Nynl Stables)

Categories: Grade III

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