Here is a rundown of the field.
1. Pyrite Gem (Feliciano M/Felilciano R): Has been dismantled each try this meet. Shortening up should help, but there is better in here. She likes to get to the front, so she may do all a favor in softening up the favorite, Judy Patoottie.
2. Premier Roma (Bennett G/Gonzalez): This one is interesting. Off a five month freshening she’s run at this level twice, once long, once sprinting and has been competitive. The extra half furling makes her a candidate.
3. Appoint (Simon/Teator): Off since October, this Hoosier picked a tough spot to come back in. Her Beyers don’t match up at all.
4. TABBY LANE (Rhone/Butler)
5. Diced N Sliced (Andrade/Centeno): One of the favorites. She scored relatively easily at this level last out and she’ll give it another try today. She should be rating off the pace and Centeno will have her in position.
6. Congotown (Lerman/Homeister Jr.): Co-third choice with Tabby at 6-1. Only three well spaced starts finishing a strong second in an allowance here in December before faltering badly in a $31,000 Handicap. This level should be more to her liking.
7. Judy Patootie (Ness/Villa-Gomez): Won with ease in her comeback race after a freshener when claimed by Jamie Ness. He brings her back here jumping up several class levels. She won a couple of high level races at Gulfstream last year earning low-80 Beyers. If she runs back to that she may be unbeatable – especially if she’s loose on the front end.
8. Saldanha (Pierpont/Amiss): A solid 2nd cutting back and coming off the turf last out at this level behind Sliced N Diced at nearly 27-1. She should be coming hard late.
Tabby can win this race, but it won’t be easy. The best thing I think she has going for her is her winning streak. Horses can get their confidence up just like humans can and she must think she is queen of the world right now. Also, she earned her best Beyer of the year last out (67) and we know that she wasn’t going all out to win that race. As usual, she’ll need some luck on her side. Judy Patootie is going to be tough, especially if she is loose on the lead. If Pyrite Gem and, to a lesser extent Appoint, don’t go after her early it’s going to be tough to track her down in the lane. If she can track again, the extra half furlong may help her off her last performance.
This is a great test for our filly. We’ll have a much clearer feel for what we have after this one. Good luck to all the connections!