All Eyes Ahead May Get Long Overdue Graded Win In Wilshire Stakes

Wilshire Stakes (Grade 3)- $100.000 Purse
SA- For Fillies and Mares Three Years Old and Upward
One Mile on the Turf
July 1, 2017

The gate will be rather full for the 11th running of the Wilshire Stakes, a smaller Grade 3 event for females on the turf. When it first appeared on the schedule, the stake was for three year olds only, and it would be in 2008 when the stake became for older horses. It was held at HOL until 2013, and became relocated to SA with the demise of that track. The field consists of horses on the rise and horses looking for a reboot, and it should make for a competitive field. Let’s look at them!

#1- Love Runs Deep (Axeman, ridden by C S Nakatani)- Winner of 11 out of 29 career starts, but I am more impressed by the fact that she has been part of the exacta in 23 of those races. Sure, she might not always go up against big fields, but when she has, she still has been able to get the job done. She’s run in graded events before, but it has been over a year, and does have a second place finish in one of them. Also, she’s mostly been a sprinter, but we can see longer races in her past, and her results have been strong. Seems to be a versatile mare, and figures to be a threat here again.

#2- Real Wild Thing (Allinthegate, ridden by S Elliot)- Handled the TUP circuit very well, which has put her on a three race winning streak coming into this race. Overall, she has won five out of her last six. There’s plenty to like there, but they are small fields, and the speed figures, while decent, might not be enough here. I like that the trainer is taking the shot here, though, she’s earned it. She is a past stake winner, taking the $75.000 Rasperry for LA-breds last September.

#3- Dawl And Bath (TwinTowersRacing, ridden by Mar Garcia)- A winner of two out of fifteen races, Dawl And Bath was acquired by TwinTowers for a $50.000 claiming tag in December when it looked like the prior trainer gave up on her. She had run in some good races, including the Grade 3 AP Oaks where she finished 3rd, not too long before the claimer. TwinTowers has put her back into stakes, though made her true turf debut two races ago (excluding her debut turf start at MNR). She runs well, but has to prove she can win at this level, too.

#4- Fusion Call (Delta Farms, ridden by T C Baze)- This five year old mare comes into the race having won seven of 23 and was running particularly well early this year. A second place finish in the Grade 2 Royal Heroine Stakes earned her a 101 SRF, and she seemed poised to have her season take off from there. That has not happened, yet, as she didn’t like the soft turf in the CD Distaff Turf Mile (Grade 2), then with her distance shortened, she seemed to want more ground in a good, but disappointing at the same time fifth place run. She goes back to the Royal Heroine conditions here, and I like that. There is no rain in sight for Saturday.

#5- Laff It Up (Our Athletes, ridden by F Prat)- The Keyed Up filly has been entered in some big races, including the Grade 1 BEL Oaks, but as good as those races look in the past performances, the actual result does look like it was an ambitious placement. That does show that she has potential, and maybe right now she is beginning to fulfill what the trainer has seen for awhile now. She’s won her last two starts, which is always a good thing, but I like the way that she won her last outing, with a career high SRF while carrying the most weight that she has had to carry to date. She’s an intriguing play in here.

#6- Get The Girl (John Henry, ridden by N Arroyo Jr)- A strong 2016 saw her win four of her seven career starts, and that would include a start in the BC Fillies and Mares Turf. That race did not go as well, and a month after that race, Get The Girl was sold in private sales from prior owner Downwind Stables to John Henry for $100.000. While running in the John Henry silks, Get The Girl as a pair of third place showings in Grade 3’s, in three starts. She is 2-for-2 when going exactly a mile on the grass.

#7- Nightmare Scare (Winning Link Stables, ridden by B Blanc)- The third of three Cheerleading Captain foals to find her way into a graded stake, and she has done so much like her siblings, and her dam, running about a mile on the grass. I’m partial to that mare, obviously, and it makes Nightmare Scare one that I will be rooting for in this race. She was acquired in the March auction for $69.200 by Winning Link, and they won their first race, a $75.000 ungraded stake, together. I’m very confident with her running this distance, and feel she can be a spoiler in this field.

#8- Pink Beauty (Gdp Inc, ridden by D Van Dyke)- A lightly raced three year old filly that will enjoy a three pound weight allowance on most of her rivals here. She fared decently in a couple of prep races for the KYO, including a second place showing at the Grade 3 Santa Ysabel right here at SA. It was not enough to get her into the Oaks, and now the trainer is changing things up and putting her on the turf for the first time. We’ll see how it goes, and its worth the try based on works.

#9- All Eyes Ahead (Mb Stables, ridden by A A Gallardo)- A very consistent horse that is looking for her first graded victory. She’s done just about everything but that, with wins on the dirt and on the turf, and an ungraded win. All Eyes Ahead has seven graded races in her career, and she has been very close in some big ones, including barely missing in the headbob at the Grade 1, $400.000 First Lady at KEE last October. There can be two schools of thought with a horse like this, the first being that it will happen eventually, and the second being that she just can’t get it done at this level. Given the trainer, I strongly believe that she is in that first category, and think that this race is absolutely perfectly placement for her to get it done. Look for it to happen, finally, for All Eyes Ahead.

#10- Classic Duet (Williams9, ridden by E Maldonado)- Williams9 has been going at it for a long time now, and it is truly admirable how he keeps giving it his best shot, even though the results are not always there. I’d love to be the one to finally report on his first graded victory, but I just don’t think that’s going to happen with Classic Duet here. It’s a good looking filly, and a stake win is a stake win, free track or not. She ran a 94 SRF in winning the PEN Oaks. That’s a good number, but not a number that wins this race. Classic Duet will have to improve a little more off of that race to have a shot here.

Prediction: 9-6-5-4

— NS

Categories: Grade III, STAKES ARTICLES

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