Always Carina is the value play in Cotillion Stakes
Eight sophomore fillies will travel 1 1/16 miles in the deep $1 million Cotillion S. (G1) at Parx on Saturday. The lucrative affair attracted a fantastic field of three-year-olds in what promises to be an exciting contest.
I will give a winning chance to #8 Always Carina (6-1) as a wire-to-wire candidate. Trained by Chad Brown, the homebred daughter of Malibu Moon began her career with a pair of superb tallies in the Empire State, which preceded a sharp runner-up performance in the Mother Goose S. (G2) at Belmont Park. The lass was outrun early before checking in fourth behind a runaway winner in the Test S. (G1) at Saratoga most recently.
Always Carina has always shown very good gate presence to this stage of her development, and she combines it with a powerful turn of foot. The Three Chimneys color bearer will make her debut at two turns on Saturday, and if she breaks well, then the dark bay figures to be establishing the pace from the start in a field lacking a confirmed front runner.
The top pick is bred to handle middle distances, and the Brisnet Late Pace figures of 102 that she registered when running a route of ground twice hint that she might peak with the right voyage. John Velazquez riding only adds to the appeal.
I will use Always Carina with a trio of horses in the Cotillion. Black-Eyed Susan S. (G2) queen #5 Army Wife (7-2), a strong third in the Alabama S. (G1) at Saratoga most recently, continues to improve for conditioner Mike Maker. The daughter of Declaration of War has blossomed since moving to the dirt in October, and her tactical speed will aid her on Saturday.
Two-time Grade-1 placed #6 Clairiere (2-1) has never run a bad one for Asmussen and is battle tested after facing the best of her generation this campaign. She will be tough to deny a top-three placing with anything resembling her best.
Eight Belles S. (G2) heroine #1 Obligatory (10-1), from the barn of Bill Mott, was unplaced in her lone prior run at two turns, but she possesses an electric closing kick on her best day. And drawing inside to save ground early is a major positive, too.
- $15 win and place #8 Always Carina ($30)
- $5 trifecta key 8 with 1,5,6 ($30)