Vinery Madison (Grade 1)- $300.000
KEE- For Fillies and Mares Four Years Old and Upward
Seven Furlongs on the Dirt
April 4, 2020
As a part of the undercard for the BG Stakes at KEE, a race that has recently been dominated by Mb Stables will be going to post. It is the 17th running of the Vinery Madison, a long sprint for older females on the main track. It is also a race that Mb Stables has had a recent stranglehold on, winning the last three editions. Those three winners were Lea, Natural Zone, and Are We Dreamin. Other greats have won this race, including Blonde Dynamite twice. This year, can Mb Stables extend his streak, or will the defending BC Distaff champion, Z Command, stop that run? There are three others here who also look to not only play a supporting role in the outcome of this race, so let’s meet our field of five!
#1- First Impression (Mb Stables, ridden by D Davis)- We get right to the horse that Mb Stables is hoping can continue that streak. My favorite part of First Impression here is that she is tailored for this type of race, specifically. Looking at Z Command, we know she is great, but seven furlongs is not the distance where she has been great. First Impression, meanwhile, will be expecting the finish line to come up when it does, habitually running this distance and having success in the process. Consistently able to hit the board, and win races in bigger fields, so she should like things here. I think she gets it done.
#2- Tommy Frazier (John Henry, ridden by K J Desormeaux)- This filly has had an interesting career in the private sales ring, bouncing around between trainers last summer before she eventually settled into the barn of a trainer that wanted her. Given the sale price, I figure she was a part of a larger transaction. Though not winning, she has run well for John Henry, and nearly won the La Brea, two starts ago. She was second there, one spot ahead of First Impression. They met again in the Santa Monica, where she was third to First Impression. Best two out of three?
#3- Z Command (Smokey Stover, ridden by S X Bridgmohan)- The reigning BC Distaff Champion highlights the field, but seven furlongs is not the distance where she has made her mark. Now, don’t get the wrong interpretation of my critique, as absolutely Z Command is going to run a great race here at this distance, as evidenced by the way she ran in winning the Bayakoa last month. She has not run under a mile in over a year. First Impression and Tommy Frazier have, so it’s like she’s playing a road game in a ball sport, going into the elements that favor the opposition. She can still come out on top, but they have “home advantage”.
#4- Anyone But Me (Patterson Stables, ridden by D E Centeno)- Her name could indicate what bettors choose on race day, because she doesn’t really have the accolades of her opposition. That speaks more of those horses, because Anyone But Me has been very good, finishing either first or second in her last six races, but none of them are at the graded level. She has earned this chance, and if she runs like she did two starts ago, in an optional claimer at GP, then she’ll be in the mix here. This seems like it may be her best distance, but has not had much experience in running it. Plenty capable, but with the others in here, I can’t make her my pick.
#5- Truly Deeply Madly (Jive Inc, ridden by Mario Gutierrez)- Lastly, we get to this filly that has done a lot of winning lately, and on that alone it is really tough not to pick her. She has won six of her last seven, and we can push that back a little further and say eight of her last 10. The competition was not always tough, and that run began with wins at PM before an upgrade to FP. In December, she was promoted to a big test, the Grade 3 Rampart at GP, and ran third, the one race of those seven that she did not win, but showed she could compete at that level. She has carried that momentum further with wins in her last two, each stakes, highlighted by the Grade 3 Hurricane Bertie three weeks ago. I have to say, she is really difficult for me to look past in my predictions here.