Distance: 1 1/8 miles
Pace: 23.65, 46.99, 1:11.25, 1:36.41, 1:49.50
Much like Animal Kingdom - I've got no knocks on Plum Pretty's Oaks win. In fact, in addition to her race having been visually impressive, her victory becomes even more appealing considering Churchill's outside, closer friendly bias that day. Not to mention her position throughout the race (2nd). A quick glance of the chart shows that Summer Soiree, Lilacs and Lace and Daisy Devine raced 1 - 3 - 4 early finished far out of it. Now these 3 may have been over-matched, but it does indicate that this race was, perhaps slightly, best suited to closers.
I'm quite excited to witness what Plum Pretty might turn out to be. She's exceptionally talented, and as a filly that excels when stalking and pouncing she'll almost always get a perfect trip.
One last note on Plum Pretty, and I realize much of this is Monday morning quarterbacking, but wasn't 6/1 (9/1 until the final minute) much too high on a filly who had just run a 99 beyer? The next top figure, earned on dirt, in the field was Zazu's consecutive 89's. Is this a sign that the majority of players are bunch of wiseguys? Or is the betting public buying more and more into the 'bounce' theory?
St. John's River
Now this wasn't Dublin in last year's Preakness, but St. John's River did cost herself a length or two with her clumsy break from the gate. Depending on just how much you buy into the inside bias at Churchill that day, you may or may not want to dissuade the notion that even though she cut the corner coming into the stretch she didn't get the best of trips. I'd go ahead and say they canceled each other out.
Nevertheless, a very impressive race from St. John's River. Her second place finish solidified her status as the top closer in the 3 year old filly division. At this point, she's my early favorite in the Alabama.
No real troubles for Zazu here, once she got to the outside of Bouquet Booth at the top of the stretch she had clear running room. This is the 2nd consecutive race she's come up short in the lane which is why I'm beginning to look at her as a grinder-type. Now unless the leaders in the stretch take to a crawl or she develops a more potent late kick, she's going to have difficulty doing anything more than clucking up for minor rewards at this level.
Zazu has now shown great consistency having earned 3 consecutive beyers in the high 80's/low 90's range that will keep her formidable in Grade 2's/3's.
An even run from Joyful Victory; no significant trouble although she may have been a tiny bit rank early on. Not much of a surprise, her top beyer had been an 83 coming in, so my opinion of her (much like Zazu) is that while she's a classy filly, until she shows improvement, she's probably just not fast enough to win at the true Grade 1 level.