How to Bet the Princess Rooney Stakes

Profile Picture: J. Keeler Johnson

June 27th, 2018

As we enter the second half of the 2018 racing season, the schedule of “Win and You’re In” races for the Breeders’ Cup World Championships at Churchill Downs is starting to heat up.

In fact, the first Win and You’re In event for the Filly & Mare Sprint will be held on Saturday, that being the $250,000 Princess Rooney Stakes (gr. II) at Gulfstream Park. The seven-furlong event that has been won by some very talented sprinters through the years, including the 2011 Filly & Mare Sprint winner Musical Romance, and while the 2018 renewal might be lacking in pure star power, it’s certainly shaping up to be a good betting race.

#1 Curlin’s Approval has made a name for herself as a specialist over this track and distance; she’s 8-for-14 at Gulfstream and 5-for-11 going seven furlongs, a record that includes an easy 4 ½-length romp in the 2017 Princess Rooney, for which she earned a career-best 106 BRIS speed figure. Curlin’s Approval might not be the most consistent mare in training—she’s disappointed at short prices on more than a few occasions—but she did win the Ana T. Stakes going seven furlongs at Gulfstream earlier this month and will almost certainly be favored on Saturday.

On the other hand, #4 Rich Mommy was disadvantaged by a slow pace when finishing second in the Ana T. Stakes and had previously finished less than a length behind Curlin’s Approval when third in the Hurricane Bertie Stakes (gr. III) over this track and distance in January. The four-year-old filly had previously won Gulfstream’s Sugar Swirl Stakes (gr. III) going six furlongs and could benefit if a quicker pace unfolds in the Princess Rooney.

A wildcard in the Princess Rooney field is the lightly-raced #3 My Miss Tapit, who is 3-for-5 overall but—more significantly—3-for-3 sprinting at Gulfstream Park. That includes two wins going seven furlongs, most notably a 6 ¾-length romp in an allowance race on April 18th, her lone start thus far in 2018. A tried-and-true late runner, My Miss Tapit figures to drop back and make one run in the Princess Rooney, a style that could put her at a tactical disadvantage. But it’s hard to knock a horse that knows how to win, and My Miss Tapit’s overall inexperience means there’s a good chance she hasn’t reached her peak yet, a rather exciting proposition given how much potential she’s already shown.

I’m going to keep my tickets simple and play Curlin’s Approval, Rich Mommy, and My Miss Tapit in exactas of varying sizes:

$7 exacta: 1 with 3,4 ($14) $5 exacta: 3,4 with 1 ($10) $3 exacta: 3,4 with 3,4 ($6)

Good luck!