Increased Purse Makes Eight Belles One of KYO Day Highlights

Eight Belles (Grade 2)- $500.000 Purse
CD- For Fillies Three Years Old
Seven Furlongs on the Dirt
May 6, 2022

When it first appeared on the schedule, the Eight Belles was not one of those races that generated a ton of excitement. It was a smaller Grade 3, running for a $100.000 purse. It stayed there for many years, but even when it did increase, the intervals were small. In 2020, it would be jump to $300.000, and now look it at today. For the first time, the Eight Belles runs with a $500.000 Purse! It’s seven furlong distance makes it a good landing spot for horses that tried to be racing in the KYO here instead, as well as horses moving up the ladder that might not want to fully stretch out. This will make it a very exciting part of the KYO undercard. Trainer wise, the race has been good to Mb Stables, as he has won it Eight Belles in three of the last four years. Not A Big Deal won it for him last year, and she would settle in to the seven furlong distance for most of the year afterwards. Let’s look at those hoping to make it a big deal this year and get a win!

#1- Lassitude (TwinTowersRacing, ridden by J R Velazquez)- A strong juvenile season that saw her run third in the Grade 1 Frizette, then place fifth in the BC Juvenile Fillies suggested that she would be one to watch on the KYO trail. But after a trio of finishes in the middle of the field, close enough to think about cashing at least part of a purse and then failing too, Lassitude is still looking to get a positive result this year. This is a good race for her to try as she looks to score her second career win.

#2- Moment To Dream (Alydar Stables, ridden by A Cedillo)- Like Lassitude in that after a great two year old season, Moment To Dream looked like a great KYO contender. She would finish third in the BC Juvenile Fillies and was sold to Alydar Stables for $450.000 in Feburary. She has not clicked with her new trainer, running poorly in two Oaks preps at FG, crashing her dream to being in the big race. Needs to rebound, and will try the distance that saw her last win: the Grade 1 DMR Debutante from September.

#3- Catori (D J C Racing Stables, ridden by M Franco)- Here’s the first horse in the field that’s remained a sprinter throughout her career (with one exception). It has not been a long one yet, given that she has only made five starts, but she ran very well at this seven furlong distance about six weeks ago up at AQU in the $100.000 Cicada. It was a strong effort that will have the former KYO hopefuls on their toes because she is certainly good at what she does.

#4- Spearmint Rhino (Arindel, ridden by J C Ferrer)- You can put this filly somewhere in between the regular sprinters and those that were running in the KYO preps. In five career starts, four of them have been under a mile, but she did take one shot at a prep, running in the Grade 3 Honeybee in February. That went okay, but her last two races at seven furlongs were the Santa Ynez Stakes and the Beaumont (ok, fine, they are considered preps too), and they each ended with her going to the winner’s circle.

#5- Pirate Code (Big Guns Stables, ridden by M E Smith)- She’s won half of her six career starts thus far, but only recently has been running at the stake level. After back to back wins in optional claimers, she tried the Grade 3 Santa Ysabel Stakes, and was okay for a while before being passed in the stretch. Also ran in an ungraded stake as a two year old that did not end well for her. Will have to be at her best to have a shot here.

#6- Thor (Winning Link Stables, ridden by C J Hernandez)- A leap of faith is being made with this filly. It is her fourth career start, with the first two coming at TUP before being moved up to an optional claimer at SA. She was second there in late March in a solid effort, and it has given the trainer confidence to run her here against some of the best instead of trying a smaller stake, like the old Eight Belles that ran for $100.000, first.

#7- Kalthoff Repeater (Spankys Barn, ridden by D Van Dyke)- Claimed by Spankys Barn on New Years Eve for just $10.000, and has made two starts since that day. In January, she won a statebred allowance at SUN, propelling her in to the $250.000 NM Breeders Oaks in late March. She ran third there, run at a mile and a sixteenth and was coming on late. However, in shorter races, she has been running closer to the front.

#8- Cherokee Ripper (John Henry, ridden by E Jaramillo)- So far, so good for this Cherokee Sunset filly as she is a perfect three for three. Broke her maiden at TUP, then looked really sharp in February against WV breds, taking an allowance CT. Still, we needed to see her against better, and in her last start, she ran in the $110.000 Stonehedge Sophomore Fillies at TAM, a seven furlong race, and won that too. Working well coming in and has earned the right to take a shot here. Not the first name that will stand out in this field, but sneaky capable of winning this too.

#9- Greta (Royalty Stables, ridden by T Gaffalione)- Had a great two year old season that was highlighted by winning the $200.000 Rags To Riches on Halloween, but we really have not seen much of her since then. She would run a month or so later in the Grade 1 Starlet, and struggled. Then, that was it, for three months. It’s hard to say that she was on the KYO trail, given that downtime, but she did run in the SUN Oaks in late March, trying to get in. And, she only missed that by a length. Almost makes you wonder if the trainer regrets that time off. Though if she wins this, there will no regret at all!

#10- Keno Queen (Mb Stables, ridden by D Davis)- The race has been kind to Mb Stables, as mentioned in the opening. He will only have one in this race, something that should never be a problem, but with Mb, you never really know. He pins his hopes on this filly that has not won a race since June of last year. She is able to get in the mix a lot, but seems to missing a little something to get her into the winner’s circle. I look for similar here, she’ll contend, but probably not win.

Prediction: 4-3-9-8

— NS

Categories: Grade II, STAKES ARTICLES

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