GIII – Noble Damsel Handicap
$200.000 Graded Stake 1 Mile on Turf for Fillies & Mares Three & Up
2016 Champ: Skeleton Spy
A field of nine will load into the gate Saturday afternoon for the Noble Damsel Handicap. The high weight carrying 123lbs is Tropics thanks to her GI victory earlier in the year and over $1800.000 in career earnings. The rest of the field is full of up and coming, less experienced three and four year old fillies.
1- Conduit Boulevard (Trained by Mb Stables, Ridden by Gallardo A A)
It appears the connections of this one called a quick audible after a quick work on the turf last week leading them to try the turf. She is a tough one to get a read on with not a lot of turf experience to go off of and even her dirt racing is all over the place from low claimers to graded stakes in the past year. Couple be fun to throw a few bucks on and hope she does something at long odds.
2- Tropics (Trained by Smokey Stover, Ridden by Stevens G L)
The high weight and class of the field is Tropics. This four year old filly has had an impressive run since switching to the turf mid way through last year. She is a multiple grade one winner on the turf and hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down yet. She will likely go off as the heavy favorite and if she runs the race she can, will back that up.
3- Katori (Trained by D J C Racing Stables, Ridden by Moran D)
In her most recent race she attempted to stretch it out to a mile and an eighth with very little success so she will go back to the mile distance she had been running all year long before that. In those mile races she has hit the board every time including two wins, one a maiden breaking victory and another in a $100.000 ungraded stake. She will likely be a bit higher priced then the top few in the field but could be a good upset pick.
4- Ocean Reef (Trained by Chili King Stables, Ridden by Carmouche K)
Early in 2017 Ocean Reef struggled in low end claimers on the dirt but a switch to turf has awaken her and has earned $130.000 this year. She has shown some versatility coming from a stalking position to win and going wire to wire allowing her to have options early in the race depending how her and the rest of the field break.
5- Nightmare Scare (Trained by Winning Link Stables, Ridden by Bravo J)
A solid purchase out of the auction back in March has had some decent results since then. Back in July she put in a solid performance at this mile long distance in the GIII Wilshire Stakes at SA finishing third that day. She will hopefully be looking to sit a bit off the pace early on as she struggled to go wire to wire last time tiring off to a three length loss that day.
6- Track Star (Trained by John Henry, Ridden by Leparoux J R)
Looking to defend their title from last year the barn of John Henry will be sending out Track Star. She comes into the race off two solid victories which includes the $100.000 Perfect String at BEL. She has been a consistent runner all year long hitting the board in all five of her starts. She should be a contender as they turn for home.
7- Speed Squared (Trained by TwinTowersRacing, Ridden by Hernandez J J)
After a failed attempt on the dirt Speed Squared is back on the turf looking to get back into form. She was able to win her first race of the year in 2017 the GIII Suwannee River but has struggled since then, unable to hit the board in any of her last four starts. She will need to turn things around and show she is still a runner or may end up in a breeding shed very soon.
8- Love In The Mist (Trained by Mb Stables, Ridden by Hernandez B J Jr)
Likely the biggest competition in the field for Tropics. She is coming off a win in the GII Ballston Handicap where she was able to use her seven pound advantage over Tropics. She will have to carry four more pounds this time, closing that advantage to only three pounds this time. With the added weight and better post position for her counterpart I expect the tables to be turned on this one this time.
9- Ria Opusante (Trained by Williams9, Ridden by Velasquez C H)
Fresh out of the auction and into a Handicap for Ria Opusante. It might be a bit ambitious of a spot as this will be her first taste of stakes racing. She has finished in the top three in all of her seven career starts but will be making a big leap up in competition and will have to worry about her outside post as well.
My Selections: 2/8/6