The California-based STELLAR WIND (2) will go off favourite here. She’s unbeaten in three starts this year. All were Grade 1’s including one over this strip in July. She’s not raced since but is proven fresh. In her favour is tactical speed. The slight knock on her is she’s come up short in the last two running’s of this event. 2015 was not a vintage renewal when she lost by a neck. She ran fourth to superstars Beholder and Songbird last year. Two and a half lengths in front of her was Forever Unbridled (6). She has won both her starts this term. Taken literally, her defeat of Songbird in a Grade 1 at Saratoga in August is top class form. That filly has not been the same as the one almost unbeatable in the past. That said, Forever Unbridled is a big player in here. The worry is the late runner may get too far behind in an event where the speed types may not come back.
There are some interesting three year olds who may be good enough to upstage Stellar Wind and Forever Unbridled. The speedy Paradise Woods (7) is one. She looks sure to get clear here early. That’s what happened in a Grade 1 at Santa Anita in September and she wired three rivals by open lengths in a fast time. Richard Mandella’s filly has a win or bust profile. If speed is holding well, she is very dangerous.
Abel Tasman (4) and Elate (5) ran one-two in a Grade 1 at Saratoga in July. The former was completing a hat-trick at the top level which started with The Kentucky Oaks in May. She may have made a winning return in a Grade 1 at Parx but for a very poor start. Old rival Elate has won back to back Grade 1’s since that Saratoga head defeat to Abel Tasman. She looks a thorough stayer who could be a late player with Forever Unbridled. She is progressive and may not get as far behind as last year’s third place finisher.
Abel Tasman (3) has been beaten various distances by Abel Tasman and Elate in recent races. Champagne Room (1) seems best on the front end. That’s unlikely to happen with Paradise Woods (7) in here. Romantic Vision (8) sluiced through the slop to win a Grade 1 at Keeneland last month.
Selection: STELLAR WIND (2)
Exotic Play: (no exotics)