Sunday, August 23, 2009

Finally - I Am Woman Back in Action

I Am Woman hasn't raced since August 3rd, a victim of a racing office error that had her entered in a race she was ineligible for, though she's be training well the entire time. Sadly, that was followed up by the inability to get into a field the following week and here we are, three weeks later, finally starting again. This is way too much time for a Standardbred trying to build off a nice second place finish after some dismal performances prior.

Monday afternoon's race at Monticello, the first, is a Non-Winners of 3 PM Races Lifetime with an earnings condition which is where she fits here. Six of the eight starters are three year olds so I Am Woman will be facing mostly her own age for the first time in a long time. Interestingly enough she will also be facing two half sisters (sired by Blissful Hall) from the same foal crop in the race.

Here is a rundown of the field:

1. Four Starz Dylan (Merton) - Dropping way down from her last race to really the next logical level for her after being trounced in a Freehold Stake. Prior to that her starts were consistent and on the engine - something the one hole should help with this time.

2. Magical-Flash (Bouchard) - Last two have been rough, but was trying from the outside. Moving inside will help, but has not won for a while.

3. Maverick Benka (Marohn, Jr.) - First over this track was a just-miss. She may be able to settle behind Four Starz Dylan and get the garden trip.

4. I AM WOMAN (Hough)

5. Powerful Al (Marohn, Sr.) - Has been treading water at this level for months now with an occasional piece of the pie in slower races.

6. Sk Stu Peru (Aldrich, Jr.) - Parked wide in last two but had valiant efforts to hit the board. Still has not broken a two minute mile, however.

7. Cardinal Bliss (Parker, Jr.) - First half sister in the field and has been racing very professionally since correcting her breaking issues in July. Likes the front, but may find it tough to get there from the seven spot.

8. Bella Paradisa (McAllef) - Other half sister who also likes being on the lead. Her problem is that she's even further outside! Throw out her Yonkers effort and she's won 4 in a row including her first here.

So what are our girl's chances in this one? Her morning line is 10-1. Admittedly she had not shown much prior to her second place finish on the 3rd. That being said, that second was finally a pretty nice effort - she actually gained a length on the leader in the stretch rather than give up distance! But I worry about the three weeks off and her level of sharpness. There is not a ton of speed on her inside and she may be shuffled back early or worse, parked wide. Although it's only an eight horse field, that's still plenty of traffic to negotiate on a half mile oval. Another solid effort here and I think she's back on track, but we'll need more racing luck than usual to get the win.

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