Attraction Looks Attractive in Very Tough Diana

July 24, 2015

Some will say it is the Yellow Ribbon. Others will say it is the Beverly D. And a few might even suggest the Flower Bowl. But for my money, the most important race for fillies and mares on the turf, other than the BC F&M Turf at the end of the year, is the Grade I Diana and on Saturday at SAR, a truly amazing field of 10 will take to their turf course with a mammoth $500.000 prize on the line.

Miss Grillo, Busanda, Tempted, Gamely, Shuvee, Waya, Just A Game, De La Rose, Perfect Sting. Each has taken victory in the Diana, and each has a stakes race in their honour because of their accomplishments on the track because of this race. At HRP, the list of winners reads like a Hall Of Fame with Darling Harbour, Mark Me Special, Miz Liz and A Little Oblivion each past or close to $3,000.000 in earnings, with defending champion Hot Cop back to defend her crown with $1,000.000 within her sights. But in order for that to happen, she will have to best a trio of recent Grade I winners and a Juvenile Filly Champion from a few years ago who seems to have found a new life on the turf and could be sitting on a huge race.

1-End Times (Five-year-old bay mare / Owner-Sarah Stables)

One year ago, End Times came within a half-length of winning the Diana and followed that effort up with a few decent starts including a win in the Athenia at BEL but things have been tougher this year with only a single minor stakes win and she looks to be one of the middle shots this time around, despite her record. The extra furlong will certainly help her chances, as one-mile races are just a little too short for her, and she would not be a surprise in this field if she continues to round into form.

Analysis-Will appreciate the extra distance

Fair Odds-6/1

2-Le Fue de Quest (Four-year-old gray filly / Owner-D J C Racing Stables)

You have to go all the way back to the Grade III AP Oaks last July to find a win from Le Fue de Quest and while she has been in tough company all around, she seems to be a clunker for minor awards and will find it tough to do in this field, with the talent assembled. She has only raced on the turf a handful of times, and was recently an even but close third in the Grade II Santa Ana, so there is talent there but probably not enough to handle this group right now, with eyes on this prize one year from now within her grasp.

Analysis-Not at this level yet but possibly one day

Fair Odds-15/1

3-Flash For Cash (Four-year-old bay filly / Owner-Sanny Village)

It was easy to see how Flash For Cash would be an attractive claim for $45.000 but I don’t think that Sanny Village knew that she would become a Grade II winner of more than $750.000 and with two good efforts going shorter under her belt, she needs only to stretch out her abilities an extra furlong to become a $1,000.000 earner. Her speed ratings are consistently high and she knows how to handle the turf but in this field, it is really anyone’s race and she needs to get into a good spot around the tight SAR turf if she hopes to close in what is usually a short final stretch.

Analysis-Another who will be charging into the late fractions

Fair Odds-5/1

4-Girl Talk (Three-year-old black filly / Owner-Nolespan Racing)

Girl Talk was a powerful winner of both the Honeymoon and Gamely at SA in May and would probably be the favourite in the Diana, were it not for that huge debacle in the BEL Oaks against reachable foes, and now everything is thrown out of balance and she simply needs to regroup if she hopes of regaining that amazing form. Take out her three off-track efforts and you have a filly who is four of five in the win column so a firm course will completely change her racing style and with closers to her inside, she might get the best break and the ability to save ground at the rail and that could make all the difference in a desperate finish.

Analysis-Needs a firm turf and then, she is a contender

Fair Odds-4/1

5-Mentioned Honorably (Four-year-old bay filly / Owner-Mb Stables)

Second in the Just A Game, and a winner of the Sheepshead Bay going longer before that, Mentioned Honorably is a consistent Grade I performer who has had the misfortune of running into some very tough customers over the years and now, faces another powerful field that might make things incredibly tough for her. She loves to show speed and that might put her into a speed duel early but jockey J R Leparoux knows how to ride her and if she can get a decent run into the far turn, she looks to be one of many who will be right there in the final furlong.

Analysis-Cannot overlook her talent or current form

Fair Odds-5/1

6-Attraction (Four-year-old gray filly / Owner-Mm Racing)

Attraction seems to have the number of nearly every filly and mare in the Diana field and after a standout season, consisting of eight wins and more than $2,200.000 in earnings, she is looking to continue that form with a third consecutive win after scoring on KYD Day, and then in the Just A Game at BEL. Her only really bad faces have come at extended distances so this should suit her to a tee and some blistering workouts over the main track should help extend her stride on the turf, making her doubly tough in her prep for the Beverly D.

Analysis-The top contender with her current form

Fair Odds-2/1

7-Hot Cop (Five-year-old bay mare / Owner-Jerry Garcia Racing)

A trio of longshot wins including a 31-1 shocker in the Diana last year sent Hot Cop to the top of the standings in the F&M Turf division but she is winless in three much easier starts this year and unless she turns things around, she will be running for a midpack finish as the defending champion. Her usual jockey has abandoned her for another top rival and her speed ratings have fallen off dramatically, signaling what might be a decline that cannot be turned around right now, especially facing this salty group.

Analysis-Not the same mare as last year

Fair Odds-25/1

8-Short Dog (Four-year-old bay filly / Owner-Maverick Racing)

The first time Short Dog ever faced the turf, she won the SSM F/M Turf with the best speed rating of her career and since then, a second in the Santa Ana and a respectable fifth against males in the Turf Classic have not blemished that mark and she can go into the Diana proudly, with a firm turf and a victory within her grasp. The distance and class is not in question but her tactics might be and unless she can save some ground from the outside, she might be in a tough spot around the far turn and that could cost her precious inches in the final strides.

Analysis-Likes the turf but needs to prove that in this class

Fair Odds-6/1

9-In Dreams (Six-year-old gray mare / Owner-Night Mare Racing)

In Dreams will try to replicate her 26-1 upset in the Santa Ana on Saturday at SAR in the Diana but off her tiring effort in the Just A Game, the odds might be stacked against her and she will need to show more in the late stages if she hopes to hit the board. The turf has been good to her since she was claimed, with some of her best speed ratings to date, but the feeling is that she still might be a notch below this caliber and she will need to improve at this weight to be truly effective.

Analysis-Outside post and lackluster effort do not help her chances

Fair Odds-20/1

10-Fair Quest (Five-year-old bay mare / Owner-Glorify Stables)

It is safe to assume that Fair Quest is one of the last few Grade I winners not actually bred and as the foundation mare for Glorify Stables, she has certainly proven her worth with that big wins in the Hillsborough and the Wiley, and a good third in the Gamely last time out. The outside post will allow her to get into a good position just off the pace, and her closing ability at this distance will be first and foremost, so look for another huge effort as this filly marches to either a date with these types in the F&M Turf, or a cutback in distance to the BC Mile.

Analysis-Key to the race if she runs back to her KEE effort

Fair Odds-4/1

Overall

For my money, Attraction is the star of stars in a blockbuster renewal of the Grade I Diana Stakes and carrying a weight well within her scope, she should be able to work out the perfect trip on or near the lead and make a huge run into the lane over a course that should suit her perfectly. Girl Talk was a disaster in the BEL Oaks but give her a firm turf and she is one of the best so I will give her the benefit of the doubt, and six-pounds, and place her second while Fair Quest will try to continue her dream season from the outside stall and make things interesting for everyone involved, especially if she puts pressure on the leaders early.

Prediction

Win-Attraction (2/1)

Place-Girl Talk (4/1)

Show-Fair Quest (4/1)

Triple T Racing 🙂



Categories: Grade I

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