Must Be Nice To Be In The Gamely

Must Be Nice winning the GR-3 Valley View stakes at KEE last October

SA- For Fillies and Mares Three Years Old and Upward
One Mile and One Eighth on the Turf
May 27, 2017

What started as a field of eight is now down to a smaller field of six for the 12th running of the Gamely Stakes, a turf event of nine furlongs for females.  It is the fourth time that the race will be run at SA, having formerly been contested at HOL.  It was at that track where Dynark Stables and Miz Liz won this race in back to back years in 2010 and 2011.  She is the only horse to win this race more then once. Not surprisingly, the race has been won by three year olds the last two years, but this year everyone is four and up.   The race looks to be an interesting battle of capable horses at a similar stage in their career, but does not have the one bug headliner.  Let’s meet the field.

#1- Devil Wears Prada (Axeman, ridden by F Pennington)- Over the course of her career, Devil Wears Prada would have been that headliner, and if she wins this race, she reclaims that distinction.   About a year ago, she was sold by Maverick Racing to Axeman for $100.000 in private sales after a run of off-the-board finishes.  She responded well for her new trainer, and went on a four race winning streak, but three of them were in open allowances.  The most impressive race is the one that snapped the streak, actually, as she was second in a photo finish in the Grade 1 Wiley at KEE in April.   Definitely one of the favorites here.

#2- Cinis- Scratched

#3- Duracell (TwinTowesRacing, ridden by R Bejarano)- The Copper Bottom filly had a strong 2016, and the trainer has used that to try and elevate her career to the graded level.  Initially, things went great, and she won the Grade 2 Miss Revere at CD in November.  Since then, she would try a couple of the longer races on the card, and the results imply that they were not her strong suit.  In between the long runs, she has a race similar to this, the Santa Ana Stakes on this very race track in March.   She was far more competitive in that, and will need to at duplicate that run here today.  Duracell likes to come from behind, and this field could suit her well to do that again.

#4- Taking Liberties (Blushing Meadows,  ridden by D Moran)- Winner of four of 14 career races, but is just one for ten in stakes.  Following her lone stake win, an ungraded event, she would have an interesting day in private sales, where she thought she was going to John Henry for $100.000 but ended up with Blushing Meadows for $110.000.  Sounds like a trading deadline situation in one of the four major sports.  Once finally figuring out what color silks her jockeys would be riding, she’s run in four graded events, and has come up short.  The most competitive race was the last one, the Grade 2 Sheepshead Bay at BEL, so we will be hoping that she can build on that race here.  For me to pick her over others in here, she needs to show she can top a graded field.

#5- Viking Amy (Delta Farms, ridden by J R Velazquez)- She was the model of consistency early in her career, and still continues to be a factor every time she is out on the track, and on firm turf.   Viking Amy has three graded wins so far, all of which come in Grade 3’s , so this would be the biggest victory of her career if she pulled it off.   Seems to be running well in longer races, which was the case in her last outing, beating three others in the mile and a half Santa Barbara Stakes.  I would love to see her follow that up with a win here as this is a much better field then what she saw that day.

#6- Must Be Nice (John Henry, ridden by R J Albarado)- Like Taking Liberties, John Henry acquired her in private sales from Australia Wide for $100.000.  However, he did not ship her out to Blushing Meadows on the same day, and he should be glad that he kept her.  With the prior trainer, she won four in a row, but John Henry moved her up against better competitions right away, and was rewarded with a fifth straight win in the Grade 3 Valley View at KEE.  While she has not won since then, the trainer has been increasing the level of competition for her a little bit with every start, and Must Be Nice is still responding with top three finishes, showing that she is up for the challenge.  She has not quite run this distance yet, but that does not concern me in the slightest, as I believe if she runs like she has recently, the pace will be perfect for her.  She is the one to beat.

#7- In Z Balance (Diablo Diablo, ridden by L M Ocasio)- The five year old Z Cars mare is a winner of six out of 15 career starts, and has hit the board in 11 of those races.  She has consistently been running against company like this, including the last two editions of the Grade 1 Wiley.  Her last time on this track was two starts ago, where she topped Duracell and everyone else in the Santa Ana Stakes.  If you have a particularly good memory, you may remember her in the Gamely last year as well, but in that race she was fifth of five, and the only time she failed to hit the board in 2016.  Sounds like she is up for a little redemption here.  I like her to run well in this race, though can’t put her on top.

#8- Pip Kadabra- Scratched

Prediction: 6-1-7-5

— NS

Categories: Grade I, STAKES ARTICLES

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