Stonestreet Stables’ Terra Promessa is the 3/5 morning line favorite in the 1 1/16-mile Azeri Stakes (GII) at Oaklawn Park on Saturday and, at least on paper, the skimpy price seems fair.
The Steve Asmussen-trained filly is undefeated at the Hot Springs, Arkansas oval, with three graded stakes scores among her five victories. She also appears to have a pace advantage in a race without a lot of early zip (-5 projected early speed ration).
That said, assuming there is a negative show pool (as I strongly suspect there will be, especially since the minimum payoff is $2.20 at Oaklawn), I’d be looking to plunk down a show bet or two in hopes that the big favorite simply doesn’t fire. And chief among my contenders is Streamline.
At 10-1 on the morning line, there’s a lot to like about this daughter of Straight Line. To begin with, she’s been competitive against much better, having finished third in this same race behind Call Pat and the champion Untapable last year, and second in the Grade I Apple Blossom Stakes 27 days later.
While she hasn’t been as sharp this year, I think she’s in a good spot this weekend.
Another horse to consider at a price — and one that I think will have a big say in the race regardless of her ultimate finish — is She Mabee Wild.
The last time this Mark Danner trainee faced Terra Promessa (in the ungraded Pippen) the result was, well, just a tad disappointing. She Mabee Wild was beaten by 35 ¼ lengths after attempting to press the pace — and therein lies the proverbial rub. The daughter of Mr. Mabee has won five races and three of those victories were accomplished in wire-to-wire fashion.
Without a lot of a speed in the race and with Jon Court, who is very good with frontrunning horses in the saddle, I have a sneaking suspicion that She Mabee Wild will be sent early and I further suspect that Terra Promessa will let her go without undue pressure. After all, why get in a pace battle with a filly you just crushed by the length of the stretch?
If this happens, She Mabee Wild has a shot to light up the tote board — something she’s done twice before, winning at 30-1 on Jan. 31, 2016 and at 45-1 on April 30, 2015.