Scully's stakes plays for Sept. 5

Profile Picture: James Scully

September 4th, 2021

Sunday’s stakes offerings include Grade 1 events for two-year-old fillies at Del Mar and Saratoga, and a pair of three-year-old turf stakes at Kentucky Downs. Here are some thoughts.

Dueling Grounds Oaks – Kentucky Downs, Race 9 (5:50 p.m. ET)

#8 Core Values has thrived since switching back to the turf three starts back, reeling off three consecutive wins, including a pair of stakes, and the stretch out to the 1 5/16-mile distance appears favorable for the Vickie Oliver-trained daughter of Honor Code.

The well-bred sophomore rallied boldly to edge male rivals at 1 1/8 miles last time, registering a 104 Brisnet Late number, and it’s easy to envision more from the improving filly. Core Values is listed as the 4-1 second choice on the morning line.

Spinaway (G1) -- Saratoga, Race 11 (6:11 p.m. ET)

The seven-furlong race attracted an abundance of early speed, including 8-5 morning line favorite Echo Zulu, who must work out a trip from post 3, and unbeaten Schuylerville (G3) winner Pretty Birdie, who will be winging it from post 5. #7 Dream Lith (6-1 morning line) may be poised to take advantage if a projected scrum for the lead develops.

In her first start on Aug. 8, Dream Lith finished fast to win going away by a 2 1/4-length margin at 6 1/2 furlongs, registering commendable Brisnet Speed (91) and Late Pace (88) numbers. She shows a couple of quick drills in the 28-day interim for Robertino Diodoro, and Dream Lith is well drawn for a stalk-and-pounce trip with David Cohen.

Dueling Grounds Derby – Kentucky Downs, Race 10 (6:25 p.m. ET)

#8 Cellist (4-1) made the most of his first two stakes attempts, comfortably winning the Audubon S. at Churchill Downs and recording a close third in the Belmont Derby (G1). But the Rusty Arnold-trained colt was too keyed up during the early stages of the Aug. 7 Saratoga Derby (G1), establishing a ridiculously fast pace before weakening to sixth.

Look for him to benefit from that experience. Whether he’s sitting first or second during the opening stages, Cellist should be prompting moderate fractions in the 1 5/16-mile turf affair, and he can save plenty for the latter stages under Julien Leparoux.

Del Mar Debutante (G1) -- Del Mar, Race 10 (9:07 p.m. ET)

Several will take betting action including Elm Drive and Eda, the top two from the Aug. 6 Sorrento (G2), and debut maiden scorer Grace Adler, who will have Flavien Prat up for Bob Baffert. I will be keeping tabs on the price of #4 Dance to the Music, who is listed as the 3-1 co-second choice on the morning line.

The $575,000 Maclean’s Music filly delivered an eye-catching performance at first asking on July 24, flashing to the front at the break and dominating wire-to-wire throughout, and the Mark Glatt pupil received a solid 88 Speed rating for the 4 3/4-length decision. I like her on the front end with Abel Cedillo.