Friday, October 07, 2011

The Grade 1 $350,000 First Lady

Keeneland has another myriad of tremendous races scheduled for their Saturday program and I have decided to tackle what could be one of the toughest of the lot, the Grade 1 $350,000 First Lady. The First Lady features a field of fourteen entries and the two also eligibles are Snow Top Mountain, winner of the Kentucky Cup Ladies' Turf at Kentucky Downs, and Tapitsfly, winner of the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf in 2009. As I said, this is one of the toughest of the lot. Here is the analysis:

#1 Bay To Bay- Disappointed in the Grade 2 Canadian at Woodbine on September 18. This is the second try off the most recent layoff and I somewhat expect her to outrun her morning-line odds of 12-1 in here.

#2 Cherokee Queen- Won the Hollywood Wildcat, an ungraded turf race at Calder at 7 1/2 furlongs back in April. Her two starts since then have been lackluster at best and I don't see much chance for improvement in a difficult spot like this.

#3 Daveron- The Team Valor mare won the Grade 2 Ballston Spa at Saratoga last time out on August 27. She was 9-2 for that score, which matches her morning-line in this one. She is riding a nice three-race winning streak into this effort.

#4 Category Seven- Shane Sellers gets the call here on this mare whose only recent graded race, the Grade 3 Ouija Board in May at Lone Star, resulted in a nice runner-up placing. She has already made a hard-to-believe 51 starts in her long career.

#5 Absinthe Minded- 3rd in the Grade 2 Molly Pitcher at 19-1 last time out at Monmouth. The D. Wayne Lukas filly has NEVER STARTED ON THE TURF BEFORE. I can't see her being much of a factor in an event this tough.

#6 Together- This Irish-bred filly is the 7-2 morning-line choice and while her Racing Post figures for her European tries are impressive, the fact remains that she has not been to the Winner's Circle anywhere since July 15, 2010. She won the Group 3 Silver Flash at Leopardstown that day.

#7 C.S. Silk- Which mare will show up today? The one that won the Grade 1 Just A Game at Belmont in June in front-running style or the one that never made a showing in the Grade 3 Matchmaker at Monmouth in July.

#8 Wasted Tears- 12 for 21 lifetime is a strong record for this mare that should be setting the early pace in here. It remains to be seen how much pressure she will get on the front end, especially since it appears that there could be several that will want to run with her early.

#9 Theyskens' Theory- Honestly should have won the Grade 2 Garden City at Belmont on September 17. Winter Memories was just awesome in the stretch and beat her home. Garrett Gomez was aboard that day and gets the call for new trainer Shug McGaughey here.

#10 Gypsy's Warning- Certainly could be a upsetter in here at 10-1, but is winless in three 2011 starts so far. Another with the Team Valor and Graham Motion team in her corner, but she has not even been to the races since July. Bullet workout on October 1.

#11 Eclair De Lune- A German-bred filly won the Arc last Sunday, but this might be a little too much to ask of this one who has not won since the Grade 1 Beverly D in 2010. Ran 5th over this turf course in the spring season at Keeneland in the Grade 2 Jenny Wiley.

#12 Never Retreat- Won that Grade 2 Canadian at Woodbine last time out plus she won the also aforementioned Grade 2 Jenny Wiley in her only outing on the grass at Keeneland. Julien Leparoux had four winners on Friday's Opening Day card, so you might like to play the hot hand.

#13 (AE) Snow Top Mountain- Two wins in the last three efforts at one mile on the turf and has a very fast five furlong workout on October 1 on the main track at Keeneland.

#14 (AE) Tapitsfly- Has never really run back to that Breeders' Cup win in November 2009. In fact, she has only one win from seven starts since.


Remember, They Are Off accepts no responsibility for any wagers placed in conjunction with these selections. They are merely suggestions. Tune in again next week for more from They Are Off. For right now, I am Gone... GOODBYE!

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