Sunday, May 10, 2009

From Chicago Claimer to Stakes Winner?

After a brief bought with a springtime cold, I Am Woman is moving on up. Nominated for some Late Closers that she didn't attend, she's making it to the party this weekend at Tioga Downs. The race is the 10th and it's the second leg of the cleverly named PACE 3-YEAR OLD FILLIES (no kidding, took it directly off the condition sheet). I'm not sure why there couldn't be a clever name attached to this Late Closer Series. Most other tracks offer the "Full House Late Closer" or the "The Oil Burner" - something to jazz up the race a bit and be able to market to. Apparently not so much at Tioga. But I digress.

This is quite the jump for our gal. She's going to need to step up her game considerably in here to be competitive. Her lifetime best win is a 1:58.1 that I attended back in March. The fastest race she's ever been a part of was paced in 1:56.1 and she only finished half a length back. The Morning Line favorite in this one, Kentucky Charm, qualified in 1:58 and finished second in the first leg of this series last week in 1:55.4. Of course time isn't everything and trip has a lot to do with how good or poor the race was. I tough trip overcome in 1:57 means more than an also ran in 1:54 while skimming the cones. I Am Woman is 10-1 in the morning line and taking quite a class leap in this one. I take comfort in the fact that she went off at 11-1 in her 2009 debut and scored as well.

Here is the field:

1 Pinnacle Portia - Second in a leg last week and grabs the rail. A Late Closer regular at Yonkers and hits the board half the time.

2 Four Starz Molly - A soundly beaten favorite in a leg last week, she hasn't been the same horse at 3 as she was at 2.

3 Pay Tribute - She worked her way up the cones last week for a fourth place finish.

4 Delightful Dancer - The only other filly in the race with as many as three lifetime wins (same as I Am Woman), she meets the NW $25,000 LT condition to be here. Just missed last week and was a hard closing second.

5 Smooth Finish - Her best races have been her last two where she finally crack the board. Still a maiden.

6 Kentucky Charm - A solid second last week in her first race back as a three year old. Eligible to improve off of that effort, she'll be tough to beat here. A certified pace setter, she could be gone before anyone realizes it and puts this thing to bed early.


8 Calico Moon - Another maiden in the field, she hasn't hit the board in her two lifetime starts.

What does I Am Woman have going for her? She's got experience. She and only two others have had as many as 10 starts this year. She has three wins from those starts and has already faced some adversity in some rough and tumble Chicagoland racing and still come out in the money - and event on top. She's come from off the pace and on the engine and this time she has the early speed righ inside of her. It's not inconceivable that she could head out right behind Kentucky Charm and be able to sit in the pocket around the track setting up for a stretch run.

We'll see around 4:30 Eastern Time if she has the stuff to make the jump from Chicagoland Claimer to Tioga Late Closer winner.

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