Saturday, April 9, 2022
KEE Race #4 19:05 $500.000
4+ F&M 123 Lbs 7 Furlongs
Track Record-1:19.33 (Omni-2005)
Stakes Record-1:21.30 (Princess Isabella-2012)
The 19th running of the $500.000 G1 Vinery Madison has drawn a field of nine older fillies and mares going the sprint distance of 7-furlongs. The KEE mainstay will start the late DD and the punters will be scratching their heads as they try to size up the horses and the weather. Smokey Stover (two-time defending champ for this) and Mb Stables (2017, 2018, 2019) have won the last five of these with the latter holding the edge over everyone except 30west with his three victories. Mb and Smokey will be represented in here (at the time of this article) but jockey S.X. Bridgmohan, and his three prior wins in this event, will be sitting this one out.
This event has been won by some of the best females in the HRP annals and any of the nine would be boosted if they were able to take this down. The field has combined for 76 top two finishes from 144 total starts, so these ladies usually bring it when they arrive at the starting gate. We’re going to be optimistic and base this preview on what we expect if the track stays fast so let’s go ahead and meet the nine talented ladies who will load the gate for the G1 Vinery Madison!
#1 Last Lady (Lindeman Prairie/Ru. Gonzalez): 4yo has proven to be a very good $8.000 claim since February of ’21. She is a multiple G3 winner and G1 placed at distances ranging from 6f to 9f. Horses with that kind of speed, determination, and heart don’t come around too often so it’s good to see her get this chance. Gets the best draw she could hope for and should be able to make a very strong run for all of the money.
#2 Dialing (Angelos Stable/C.J. Hernandez): Another that was plucked from the claiming ranks, the future G2 winner was tagged for $37.500 last June. This elongated sprint game seems to be right up her alley as she is very tractible and usually gets her desired trip. Gets an advantageous draw for this G1 assignment and there’s not much to fault on her page; however, her worst career performance did come when racing over this strip. Still, that’s nit-picking to the extreme and she feels like a logical contender.
#3 Lady Narloff (TwinTowersRacing/J.R. Velazquez): 4yo was on a three-race winning streak (Listed, G1, G3) before just missing in March’s G1 Beholder Mile. She was only beaten a length when 4th that day, but she returns here having lost no luster. Seems to do her best running when she sits right behind a target, but she has shown the wheels and the heart to take good competition gate-to-wire. Has run this trip three times and though she lost her debut, she took the last two including the G1 La Brea (field included the 2 and 8 in here as well as Naples). She may be the key to the race: she could try to go to the lead but, if she attempts sit a trip, that could play havoc with some of these to her outside. Either way, she’s in with a major chance.
#4 Zero Twist (Smokey Stover/J.C. Ferrer): G2 Inside Information was her second straight win and proved to be enough to entice the new connections to plop down $424.000 to get her in their barn. Six straight times she has been ITM, and four of those were top prizes. She is another that likes to be forwardly placed, so how all of this plays out will be crucial in determining the outcome for this; however, conditioner has won the last two runnings of this event, so we know she’s in good hands. Yet another contender in a loaded G1.
#5 Hardliners Lady (TwinTowersRacing/T. Gaffalione): Was the bridesmaid six times in her first nine races before finally securing the prize on her tenth try. Interestingly, she was never offered up for a tag, so the conditioner had a clue that she had the talent. She gets a serious class test against this group. The only time she faced graded company she was 6th going 9f on a muddy surface, so maybe she’s better than that race suggests. Still, this is a salty, salty group to try to best and get her first stakes win. Not a bad horse at all but leaning in several other directions for this.
#6 Unspoken (London Racing/V. Espinoza): 5yo is going to be making only the 9th start of her career after just missing in the G3Fritchie. She rallied from off of the pace that day and that style may suit her well for this assignment as we’ve already discussed several that want to go forward. She could pass enough of these to possibly get a minor share, but it is hard to pass good horses at the G1 level. Difficult to back given the lack of sustained form at this level.
#7 Strawberry (Mb Stables/E. Jaramillo): Big barn is a 3x winner of this event and this lass is his only entry for this year’s race. That is enough to grab your attention in most years, but ’22 has been somewhat unkind at the pill pull in these events for this stable. Still, this is a quality runner (G2 winner) and she was only beaten a length in the G1 Beholder Mile last out when she was 5th. She is another that likes to be within striking range early and this post does her no favors from that standpoint. Going to take a stand against this one as this feels like a bit of a reach for a stable that probably has better options available for this spot. (Probably just assured a wet surface for Saturday.)
#8 Slckmoment Laga (Night Rider Stables/A. Cedillo): Female Sprint Division Champ of 2021 has gotten off to a bit of an uneven start for her 4yo campaign. In the G1 La Brea she trailed the field throughout after a poor break, but she was in perfect striking position in the G3 Fritchie and could only manage a fourth-place finish. Obviously, if the filly is ready to fire her best, she’s a major player anywhere she shows up. Punters will have to decide for themselves if this is one of those spots, but this feels like an excellent opportunity for her to get off of the schneid. Think she sits a bit wide, but think she’ll relish being in the open when the time is right for her to pounce. Possible underlay.
#9 Torrents Of Spring (Wood Duck Stables/M. Franco): Filly has gotten off to a good start in her 4yo campaign with an allowance score and a runner-up finish in a G3. Gets stuck with the outermost draw here and that doesn’t necessarily complement her favored running style, but it’s not a death sentence. If she can catch a flyer, she has demonstrated an ability to go to the front and just keep going. Been in fine form since the dud in the G1 Test and nothing wrong with backing a horse with speed and heart. This is a tough assignment, with the post and the company, but she feels like she is sitting on a performance that makes her very competitive at the least.
Final Analysis: 8-1-3 is how we’ll play them in an extremely competitive renewal of the G1 Vinery Madison that could go any number of ways. Good luck to all of the connections.