A filly in the "Busher" could be worth 50 points
The girls will have three shots this weekend at earning points toward what is, essentially, a guaranteed spot in the Kentucky Oaks (G1) starting gate.
On Saturday, Aqueduct hosts the $100,000 Busher S. going 1 1/16 miles, Fair Grounds is putting on the $175,000 Rachel Alexandra S. (G3) at the same distance and Gulfstream Park features the $200,000 Davona Dale S. at a mile.
Each race is worth 50 points to the winner, 20 to the runner-up, 10 to third-place and five points to whoever comes in fourth. Those 50 winning points should be more than enough to assure a starting berth in the Run for the Lilies.
The Busher will be run first on the day at around 2:18 p.m. (EST) and sports a field of six. Headlining the group is Condo Commando, who hasn't been seen in competition since taking the Demoiselle S. (G2) going 1 1/8 miles over Aqueduct's main track last November 29.
Condo Commando romped in that contest, winning by 11 lengths to record her third double-digit victory. In fact, the Rudy Rodriguez filly broke her maiden by 12 lengths before taking the Spinaway S. (G1), both at Saratoga last August.
Her only loss to date came in the Frizette S. (G1) at Belmont Park, and the dark bay miss quickly rebounded next out in the Demoiselle. She earned a field-best 102 BRIS Speed rating for that effort and is first in BRIS Prime Power by eight points over the next best number.
Condo Commando's main rival in the Busher is Overprepared, who captured the Busanda S. at Aqueduct on January 16.
That race was worth 10 points on the Kentucky Oaks trail for that Todd Pletcher trainee, who appears to be following the same path as 2013 Oaks heroine Princess of Sylmar. After conquering both the Busanda and Busher, Princess of Sylmar ran second in Aqueduct's final Oaks prep, the Gazelle S. (G2), before scoring in the Kentucky Oaks.
Condo Command and Overprepared could be destined for the same stellar rivalry that developed between Princess of Sylmar, Gazelle winner Close Hatches and eventual champion three-year-old filly Beholder in 2013. If so, then the Kentucky Oaks is just the beginning.
Also worth mentioning in the Busher is Paulassilverlining and Liberty Island.
The former earned a nice 90 BRIS Speed rating for her nose victory in the Ruthless S. sprinting six furlongs at Aqueduct in her sophomore debut on January 4. The bay filly's only try at farther than six furlongs resulted in a runner-up effort in the one-mile Tempted S. (G3) in her juvenile finale last November, so this is a good spot to try Paulassilverlining at a route of ground again.
Liberty Island will be making just her third career start in the Busher. The gray lass broke her maiden by 3 ½ lengths in December and finished second in the Busanda just one month later in her stakes bow.
The Busher will test Liberty Island's class and could determine her future placement.
Stay tuned for my analysis of the Rachel Alexandra and Davona Dale…