There are niches in sports, and then there's 3 year old filly turf racing. No preamble, let's get right to this year's Lake George, a $150,000 Grade 2 race at a mile and a sixteenth on the sod.
1. House of Grace. Went off in last year's Breeders Cup Juvenile Turf Fillies (talk about niches--2yo gals on the turf?) at 8-1, she ran a fast closing 3rd before getting purchased by Godolphin and taking 7 months off. She came back in an optional claimer where she was outkicked, but has been working out well since then, and stands to improve 2nd off the long layoff.
2. Crescenda. Has never been out of the exacta, but something just doesn't sit right with this gal. Maybe it's the fact she's never been under 9-2 in a race, maybe it's that I've never heard of her trainer, or maybe it's because her breeding is goofy (Bowman's Band out of a Naveus dam?). Has a shot based on her decent Sands Point, but I'm siding against.
3. Khancord Kid. Has speed but has never topped an 81 GSF. Looking elsewhere.
4. Neon Light. Ships in from Dusseldorf after a bang-up 3rd in the German 1000 Guineas, this gal's got interesting breeding (Refuse to Bend was a useful miler, General Assembly's not a bad damsire) and Andreas Wohler is probably the best German trainer. That said, German racing is second-tier European racing, so while it's normally wise to assume that a G3 European shipper is better than a G3 American horse, it's not necessarily true with German horses.
5. Perfect Shirl. One of two horses to ship in from Canada for Roger Attfield, this one looks like the speed horse to set things up for...
6. No Explaining. Has run three times this year with two wins in allowance races and a good third in a minor turf sprint stakes. I really, really like this breeding--Azamour should be a very good turf sire, and Green Desert is an excellent damsire. She appears to have solid tactical speed and should get first run on the closers. Que interesting.
7. Go Ask Alex. Well, she did wire the field in something called the Indiana Distaff Stakes. Since then she's provided nothing but a lot of early speed and a lot of late fading.
8. Strike it Rich. The morning line favorite off three straight wins in wire to wire fashion, she's probably going to have to at least try to sit off the pace, because there are 3 clear front runners to her inside. It's not impossible, but it strikes me as unlikely. Plus she's got the 4-straight-increasing GSF curse against her. Looking elsewhere.
9. Dynazaper. $300,000 purchase that's been pretty disappointing so far, what with 2 wins in 7 starts. But there might be something to like here: she ran well to win the Edgewood two back, then had a wide trip to take then lose the lead in the Regret. She draws an outer post again, but also gets back Julian Leparoux, who rode her to victory in the Edgewood. Hmmm.
10. Exclusive Love. It's raining Canadians!
11. Caminadora. Completely shocked everyone by winning the Regret at 32-1 in her last when she rallied from 18 lengths out to take it for Todd Pletcher, who almost never wins with longshots. Where did that last race come from? Unclear. Looks like a huge bounce candidate.
12. Bay to Bay. Never out of the triple, this Canadian ex-pat has had a pretty good year, with a good 2nd in the Appalachian, a fast win at Arlington, then a nice second to Strike it Rich in the paceless Boiling Springs. Nothing to really criticize here except the outside post.
Selections: Bay to Bay is a pretty deserving choice, but there are a few others that look intriguing as well in a pretty competitive race. House of Grace looks very eligible to improve off the layoff and Dynazaper is probably better than her last race indicates. Neon Light can't be dismissed as the curious new face, and No Explaining has a shot as well. If we were playing a Pick Something, we'd use all five horses and cross our fingers for the longest price. Since we're picking the race outcome, we'll go with Bay to Bay, who's probably the best horse.
1. Bay to Bay 2. Dynazaper 3. House of Grace
Mrs. Blog's Pick: No Explaining. "And I'm not explaining."
Monday's results: Hull was bad and Congor Bay was worse. Hey, everyone's entitled to a bad pick. Congrats to the missus for getting it right with Checklist.
Results to Date: Still on the plus side.
1st: 4/1-2-0, +$21.00
MB: 4/2-0-0, +$3.10