DISTANCE FAVORS LADY ELI
Millie Ball XBTV.com
ANALYSIS: The top three finishers from last year’s Filly & Mare Turf return, at a new distance of 1 ⅛-miles this year, due to Del Mar’s unique turf configuration. Sir Michael Stoute and Chad Brown have had a stranglehold on this division, divvying up the last five editions. With 11 of the fillies and mares expected to run owning recent Grade/Group 1 victories, it appears to be one of the strongest renewals in BC history. Last year’s heroine QUEEN’S TRUST freaked on firm going at Santa Anita but she is not in nearly as good form this year. Last year’s runner-up LADY ELI is far more consistent and the cut-back in distance appears much more in her favor. 2016 third-place finisher AVENGE exited the Breeders’ Cup with a sickness and spent six weeks at Alamo Pintado’s Equine clinic. She finally appears to be back to her best.
MAIN CONTENDERS: LADY ELI can boast Grade 1 wins at age 2, 3, 4 and 5 and is arguably in the form of her life. She enjoys a firm course, as is evidenced by her impeccable So. Cal. record (2 wins in 3 starts). She does not need to be placed as far back as she was in last year’s edition and it will take an exceptionally good filly to beat her. I had originally touted RHODODENDRON, but her Post Position (#14) is a huge deterrent. WUHEIDA's campaign has been interrupted with minor physical issues, but when she's right, she's on par with the best fillies & mares in Europe. She looked very impressive in a light spin over the Del Mar turf course on Tuesday. Her trainer, Charlie Appleby, won with his only previous Breeders' Cup starter, and won at a 27% clip in Europe this season.
VALUE : WAR FLAG beat the boys off an 11-month layoff in her first start in the US. She has progressed with every race and beat a strong field in the Grade 1 Flower Bowl at Belmont Park. One can't ignore DACITA's consistency, as she is 15-for-20 in the Exacta. She has caught my eye multiple times while galloping at Del Mar.
WAGERING STRATEGY ($100):
- $40 Win: LADY ELI ($40)
- $20 Exacta Part-Wheel: LADY ELI over DACITA, WUHEIDA, WAR FLAG ($60)
- LADY ELI
- WAR FLAG