Ellis Starr, a.k.a. “Ubercapper,” is the National Racing Analyst for Equibase. He publishes detailed analysis and selections for Keeneland and other tracks regularly which can be found at Equibase, Keeneland Select and other web sites. Ellis writes a widely distributed “Race of the Week” article which appears on the Equibase web site as well as America’s Best Racing.
Ellis will be posting his analysis daily for one race taken right from his complete selection and analysis report. Additionally, you can follow Ellis’ insights on twitter @ubercapper.
Race #9 - Rating = 3
#11 Azaelia - Fair odds 2/1
#10 My Impression - Fair odds 2/1
#15 Sassy Little Lila - Fair odds 7/2
#14 Linda - Fair odds 7/2
#5 Cheekaboo - Fair odds 7/2
I wouldn't argue about playing exacta or trifecta tickets here, but considering that in addition to the five win contenders listed above, #4 Tin Type Gal, #8 Triple Chelsea and #9 Quidura all have a shot to finish 2nd or 3rd, there may be too many potential combinations to play to make the returns on those bets worth the risk.
Azaelia sticks out on class in this year's Valley View Stakes, having just finished 4th of 16 in the French Oaks, the Prix de Diane Stakes, in June. Both the winner and runner-up proved competent to win right back and before that Azaelia finished 2nd in a Group 3 stakes and won an allowance race. Geroux takes the call and it's not certain she's running on Lasix (which would be even better) but in any event repeating any of her last two efforts in France should be good enough to win even though her North American competition is very talented.
My Impression won like a good thing in the Commonwealth Oaks last month, a grade 3 stakes just like this one. Two before that she won a non-graded stakes on the turf and she's now 4 for 7 in her career. Jose Ortiz has been aboard for 3 of her 4 career wins and the 103 Equibase Figure earned in the Oaks is best among those that have run in North America, with Azaelia having earned the equivalent of a 121 figure in her 4th place French Oaks finish.
Sassy Little Lila need help to get in from the also-eligible list but must be taken very seriously as a contender if she does as she won easily by 5 lengths at Saratoga in her most recent start and has shown improvement since debuting in June. The 99 figure was solid and she was flattered when the 3rd finisher won her next start.
Linda may not be disadvantaged by her outside post as she can drop back early to save ground then come around the field as she did in her most recent start when rallying from 7th to win. That was her 2nd in a row, both on turf, where she's 2-for-2, both with Hernandez up, and her last race 99 figure is on par with most of the main contenders as it is, but like many in here she still has improving to do as a 3 year old.
Cheekaboo comes from dead last much of the time, such as last month when 12th with a quarter mile to go and beaten 2 lengths at the end. She won a stakes on Turf in May and the Grade 2 Honeymoon Stakes in June so on occasion she has demonstrated the kind of ability that can win this race. As such, she rounds out a quintet of contenders.
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