How to Bet the 2019 Soaring Softly Stakes

Profile Picture: J. Keeler Johnson

May 18th, 2019

Trainer Chad Brown might be the dominant conditioner of turf horses in North America, but on Saturday, he’ll try something new in the $100,000 Soaring Softly Stakes (G3) at Belmont Park. In essence, he’ll try to win a major turf race with a tried-and-true dirt horse.

That’s right. Brown’s entry in this seven-furlong sprint is No. 5 Seek and Destroy, whose lone run on turf to date yielded a sixth-place finish in a maiden special weight at Saratoga last summer. On dirt, she’s gone 2-for-3, breaking her maiden by 9 ¼ lengths before romping to an easy pace-setting win in the Chelsey Flower Stakes at Belmont Park.

But maybe it’s unfair to call Seek and Destroy a true dirt runner. Maybe she’s just versatile. After all, she’s never actually been entered in a dirt race—all three of her races on the main track were originally scheduled to be run on turf before wet weather changed those plans.

In other words, Brown seems convinced Seek and Destroy’s future is on grass. The fact that he’s chosen a graded stakes race on turf for Seek and Destroy’s 2019 debut says a lot about his confidence in her turf ability, even if she has yet to show it on the track. Certainly her pedigree suggests she’ll be effective on grass, and from her performances on dirt, we know she has talent.

Ultimately, I’m tempted to place my faith in Brown and assume Seek and Destroy will be ready to fly in the Soaring Softly Stakes. She’s 8-1 on the morning line, probably due to her lack of proven turf form. How often can you get a price like that on a Brown-trained filly in a turf race?

Among the rest, No. 2 Feel Glorious looks like the biggest threat. Trained by Christophe Clement, this former British runner is 2-for-2 since arriving in North America, most recently producing a big finish from behind a slow pace to win the Memories of Silver Stakes at Aqueduct. Feel Glorious will be cutting back in distance, but there’s no shortage of speed in the Soaring Softly field, and a quick pace should make Feel Glorious dangerous in the homestretch.

While it’s tempting to consider playing the trifecta or superfecta in search of a big score, I’ll keep my strategy a bit simpler since Seek and Destroy is something of a hunch play. I’ll just bet her to win and box her in the exacta with Feel Glorious.

$10 to win on No. 5 Seek and Destroy $5 exacta: 2,5 with 2,5 ($10)

Good luck!