By Derek Simon
Flora Dora, a filly who parlayed a sixth-place finish in a maiden race at Saratoga to a score in the $500K Florida Sire My Dear Girl Stakes at Gulfstream Park and a subsequent placing in the Grade III Tempted looks like the one to beat in the Busanda at Aqueduct on Saturday. Below is a horse-by-horse look at the field:
After successfully chasing a very fast pace (-14 early speed ration) in the My Dear Girl Stakes, Flora Dora has attempted to rally off of increasingly slower splits in her last two affairs — the Grade III Tempted (-3 ESR), in which she finished third, and the Grade II Demoiselle (-2 ESR), in which she was a fast-closing fourth.
I think today’s jockey switch from Kendrick Carmouche to Jose Ortiz makes sense and I expect Flora Dora to show a lot more lick early, especially given the projected -9 ESR.
DREAMS TO REALITY
There are some class issues here, as the daughter of Lookin At Lucky just broke her maiden for a $75,000 tag, but there’s a lot of raw talent too. Despite earning a -6 ESR, Dreams to Reality motored home last time, recording a race-best 0 LSR and winning by 7 ¾ lengths.
Even more encouraging is the fact that trainer Michael Dilger (a guy to keep tabs on) has excelled with horses coming off a maiden win (274 percent ROI in 22 attempts).
SHE’S SO FINE
The jump to a stakes race following a nondescript effort — at 35-1, no less — in a maiden race is encouraging… this filly’s pace figures are not. Though she was green, which I love to see in a horse making a big class jump (lots of room for improvement), a -19 LSR is just too poor for me to ignore.
Like the aforementioned Dilger, trainer Leah Gyarmati is also excellent with horses coming off a maiden win. Unlike Dilger, however, Gyarmati doesn’t appear to have a super-talented horse to work with in this spot. It’s not that Scatoosh is bad, mind you — she definitely has some upside — but I don’t think she’s at this level quite yet.
First, the good news: Despite setting a brisk pace, this Todd Pletcher trainee widened her lead throughout the one-mile distance of her last race and eventually won by 18 ½ lengths.
Now, the bad: Alto Belle is a daughter of the distance-challenged Trappe Shot and will likely face early pressure from Kentucky Road.
And speaking of Kentucky Road… This filly broke her maiden for $40K and followed that up with a ho-hum effort in a starter allowance event. Today, she dons blinkers and tries a route of ground for the first time.
ARCH OR NOTHING
Like her daddy (Archarcharch), this one’s a late runner… but she looks a little slow.