Mucciolo: Golden Rod Preview
A dozen juvenile fillies will take aim at graded glory in the $200,000 Golden Rod S. (G2) at Churchill Downs on Saturday. A solid cast of prospects has been assembled and I will take a look at the field.
CAROLINE THE GREAT (#1) has failed to hit the board in four of her six lifetime runs and would be a surprise in this affair. Bay daughter of Into Mischief is well drawn on the rail but looks outclassed at this stage of her development.
Doug Anderson’s UNDIVIDED (#2) was a sharp debut winner on the turf at Indiana at first asking and could be a nice one with more experience. I appreciate the aggressive move to enter in this test, though she didn’t run all that swiftly in her career bow and is another who would be a surprise in a tough field.
DESERT HONEYS (#3) was a head bob short in a pair of stakes races in succession before breaking through with a daylight maiden win most recently for Eddie Kenneally. Bay filly by High Cotton was impressive last time and clearly has ability and some versatility in her running style for a very good juvenile conditioner. She smoked a bullet half-mile in :47 and change in advance of this run.
Kernneally’s SULTRY (#4) looms large in this field coming in with wins in three of her past four assignments, including a fast-closing stakes score here in preparation of this one. $400,000 daughter of Malibu Moon is bred to handle this trip and has a fine foundation under her, as well.
I like ROAD TO VICTORY (#5) a lot as a prospect and she is something of a wild card in this go. Mark Casse pupil won as she pleased while being hammered at the windows in a turf sprint at Woodbine, and she tries both the dirt and a route of ground for the first time. $500,000 daughter of Quality Road has a lot of early foot and her bullet morning drill on this oval hints that she will take to Churchill Downs just fine.
Brad Cox’s MONOMOY GIRL (#6) has done nothing wrong from a trio of lifetime races with wins in each, dominating the Rags to Riches locally in her dirt debut last time. Speedy daughter of Tapizar has not been headed in a pair of recent races and the 96 BRIS Speed figure she earned last time makes her the one to beat in a big field. $100,000 chestnut will be hard to upend with anything like her latest under Florent Geroux.
CASH OUT (#7) has run a pair of very good turf races in succession, but her debut on the main track left something to be desired for Rusty Arnold. Improving sort should get another chance to prove herself on the main oval, though, at a price that could be big. $310,000 daughter of Congrats was a solid third to a star in the Jessamine (G3) last time and might be a good value play for the vertical exotics.
STRONGER THAN EVER (#8) is perfect from two races to date, with a sprint win on this surface followed by a game allowance victory at Keeneland last time out. Gray filly by Congrats is bred to handle this distance for sure and she should be dead fit with a trio of morning moves to ready for this affair for McPeek.
DEADLINE (#9) gives McPeek a pair of players in this field and she makes a dirt debut following a trio of turf runs to date. Dark bay daughter of Flat Out was tons the best on a soft turf oval here last time but has trained well on the dirt all campaign, using this as her home base. I like the potential price for this improving filly who is bred to handle the main strip.
KELLY’S HUMOR (#10) is a stakes winner who has faced some fine opposition for Cox, who will put blinkers on this miss. Dark bay by Midnight Lute was a good second in the Pocahontas S. (G2) here two back and raced evenly in the Alcibiades (G1) last time behind a runaway winner. Kentucky-bred will be right there late if the equipment change moves her up a few lengths.
FOXTROT SALLY (#11) has good early foot which should help overcome this tough post slot. Bay filly by freshman sire Oxbow has given the impression of a one-turn horse to me so far, though she is lightly raced and wouldn’t be a total shock if she gets a better trip after chasing lone speed last time out. The price should be right on this February foal.
IPANEMA BEACH (#12) is ambitiously placed here by Arnold coming off a rallying second in a sprint run at Keeneland. Dark bay filly by Candy Ride gets an impossible outside draw in this field but with some speed in the fold, I could see her passing horses in the lane following a pair of fine half-mile drills in the interim.
This race appears to go through Monomoy Girl, who was an easy winner of the local prep for this affair. Road to Victory didn’t earn a big Speed number for her debut win, though she won for fun and has posted five morning works on this dirt oval to prepare for this. I give her a big chance.
I will play an exacta box with that pair and also play trifectas and superfectas with the duo on top. For the lower rungs of the gimmicks I will use Desert Honeys, Deadline and Kelly’s Humor the most.
Here are the tickets I am playing:
$10 Exacta Box: 5-6 = $20
$1 Trifecta: 5,6 with 5,6 with all = $20
$.10-cent Superfecta: 5,6 with 3,5,6,9,10 with 3,5,6,9,10 with all = $21.60
Good luck playing the Golden Rod!