I've been going to the races and following the horses since before I can honestly remember. For example, my best recollection of being in the stands for Secretariat's amazing run in the Belmont was not the race, but the stands shaking so much beneath my feet. Quite an experience for a little guy who just turned 4! Two of my favorite fellow handicappers are my brother and my father. My one year old daughter is already showing signs of loving the horses :>) My favorites...how about Wajima, Spectacular Bid, Fancy Naskra, Five Star Flight, Christmas Past, Princess Rooney, Lady's Secret, With Approval, Paradise Creek, Sunday Silence, Unbridled, Skip Away, Free House. Musket Man and Rachel Alexandra, just to name a few.
Blind Luck, as evidenced by the latest ZATT poll on the left, is the clear and present leader of the three-year-old filly division today. The Jerry Hollendorfer trained miss has been solid in all five starts this year. Running in only grade 1’s and grade 2’s, Blind Luck has three wins and two respectable losses with a 2nd in a paceless Hollywood Oaks, and a close 3rd in the Santa Anita Oaks. She also has the division’s most important win to date in the Kentucky Oaks. While I have the utmost respect for the daughter of Pollard’s Vision, in fact I had her rated as the best juvenile filly last year, I am here to tell you that her lead in the race for the Eclipse Award is far from a safe one. What is the reason that I feel her hold on the division is somewhat tenuous? I have two; two apples of my eye, that I feel may soon pass the top Californian filly by. In Devil May Care and Biofuel, I see two fillies with a world of talent just waiting to strike in the years biggest filly stakes.
Adding to my interest, is their upcoming match up on Saturday in Belmont’s Grade 1 Mother Goose Stakes. Devil May Care will be making her first start since making a strong move on the Kentucky Derby turn to loom boldy before fading to finish in the middle of the pack. The daughter of one of my favorite current sires, Malibu Moon, has only won 3 of 6 lifetime starts, but I am a big believer in her overall talent and potential. She showed off her great ability by winning the Grade 1 Frizette in only her second career start last Fall, and underlined that talent with a strong win in Gulfstream’s Bonnie Miss Stakes this Spring. That win, coupled with his strong belief in her, prompted trainer Todd Pletcher to take the ultimate challenge, and place the lightly raced filly in the Run for the Roses. It did not happen that day, nor did it happen when she was shipped cross country to try the Breeders’ Cup in her third ever start. Bounced around as if in a mosh-pit, Devil May Care was left with no chance that day. With more time to develop, and more prudent race selection, I suspect the Devil will make a huge impact the rest of the season. So much so, that I consider her the horse to beat in not only the Mother Goose, but also the Coaching Club American Oaks and The Alabama. If Devil May Care is to somehow be beaten on Saturday, look for the Canadian Biofuel to be the one.
Not only is Biofuel the best three-year-old filly in Canada, she is the best three-year-old period. As a Kentucky bred, Biofuel is not eligible for the Canadian Classic, the Queens’ Plate. That’s a shame, because she would have had her peers north of the border at her mercy. With no Queens’ Plate on her horizon, it was time for the Reade Baker filly to test the big girls in America again. When last seen in the States, Biofuel was robbed from a great chance to win the Breeders’ Cup, when she was sideswiped in the stretch. And sideswiped may be an understatement. After regaining her stride, Biofuel came flying again to be a fast closing 1 ½ length loser. She was the most impressive horse in the race. A minor setback delayed her return this year, but she picked up right where she left off last Fall with two impressive come-from-behind scores in stakes at Woodbine. This will be Biofuel’s first try on dirt, but the bay daughter of Stormin Fever is bred to handle the natural surface, and she should be able to give Devil May Care everything she wants.
The Mother Goose should tell us a lot about each filly’s future in the big races coming up. Blind Luck is certainly the division leader to this point, but she better watch out. Devil May Care and Biofuel are primed and ready to challenge her position as Queen of the hill.