The Spotlight feature returns this week and focuses on a 9 furlong dirt race in Italy. The race is open to fillies and mares age four and older and is a Starter Allowance race with eligible horses running in a claiming race over the past 6 months with a tag of $60,000 or less. Ten girls are entered and three of them share the honors of being tri-co-favorites at 5/2. That, at face level, makes it look like a competitive race so lets take a look at the field.
1 HARLINGTON NOVEL 17-1- has only one career win in 19 starts which came at the conclusion of the 2017 racing season. Since then, she has hit the board only twice over a span of 13 races. She’s been shut out at distances of a mile and over. She has never scored a speed over 90 and a number of runners in this field achieve this threshold with regularity. Opportunity here looks very slim.
2. NAVIGACIAN 5/2-longtime grass runner passed the dirt test in last start winning at 9f in short field by over 4 lengths win a 98 speed the hightest since early June, 2018. She won five times in 12 starts in 2018. Looking for repeat win in second try on the dirt and she won the first try by a good margin, figures to be competitive in this one.
3. BABS SLUMBER 5/2-was claimed in October out of a cheap turf race in sprint. New owner changed her game to running long distances and going to dirt in starter allowances. Additionally shes been raced agressively, every two weeks. Despite the demanding schedule, the results were winning 7 straight races. Her last start was a first time trial in allowance class finishing 5th and ending win streak. She’s back to starter allowance and looks to pick things up where she left off.
4. MISS MONTANA 5/2-when selecting this race I did not look at the names of the runners. This horse was bred by me and is no longer owned by me. With that said, this lady has found some spark pushing speeds up over the 100 level in her last three starts. She earned wins in high end ($100,000+up) claiming races in two of the starts with a bit of a disappointing 4th place in a $25,000 starter allowance in her recent run. Current form has been excellent and she should be in the fight.
5. ALILASS K 6/1-claimed at the end of December this mare has been raced four times tis year, three in the allowance level and once in starter allowance. She’s been off the board in each of these races with the best results in her last race, a 7.5 furlong distance and fourth place finish with a 93 speed. She is capable of the 90-range speed, better than several runners in the field. Her issue is the distance as she has not hit the board in 5 route races. Despite returning to the starter allowance, her one race this season in this class was a route and off the board finish.
6. ALTERNATIVE FACT 43/1-born out of a G3 winning mare the genes have not passed down to this filly. She’s earned one win in a dozen starts and striking a speed in the 80-range is a rarity. She’s made only two appearances in dirt races and has not hit the board in either one. As a maiden, she showed some hints of running late but that has ceased since she broke her maiden. She’s out classed in this race.
7. SLOW COMEBACK 153/1-a very lightly raced six year old with 17 lifetime races and one victory. She raced three times last season, twice on the turf and once on the dirt, all with out of the money finishes. Speed numbers are not competitive with the entrants in this field, thus the high odds. She will probably be near the front early on but don’t expect that to last as a comeback in this race is unlikely.
8. SEEING CIRCLES 6/1-has been owned by three different trainers over the past year and finishing in the top five in each of the starts, brining home some cash and BP’s. This type of consistency attracts trainers and willingness to make claims. Speeeds over the last four have ranged from 90 to 97 and this one may make a bid to go straight to the lead. Hanging on may be a challenge but this gal looks like she can at least gain another top five finish.
9. THIS TOO WILL PASS 24/1-was claimed at the end of 2018 and was immediately moved to long distance routes in 2019. Racing three times at 12 furlongs and up this year, speeds have dropped to 74 and below with finishes of double digit lengths behind the winner. Two of the races were against a tougher allowance class and things are being scalled back in distance and class for this outing. She shines with tons of early speed and has hit speeds in the 90 range. The reduction in distance will be beneficial but her succes has come in sprints where she’s been ITM 19 of 23 races.
10. THREE SIX W 75/1-will be making her sixth career start. She has finished ITM in all five starts thus far with one win. All of her starts have been in 4-horse fields which enhanced her ability to finish ITM in the five starts. She faces a challenge here with a larger field and will need to proof her ability and this will require a big boost in the speed number that have just reached the 80-level. Looks like a bit much at this time in her career.
The trio of co-favorites look the best here and I’m going with Navigacian as the top pick. She had a very impressive debut on the dirt with a 4-stride win, albeit, a four horse field. The larger field here won’t be a problem.
Miss Montana has been tossing out speeds of 100+ in last three outings. She’s in good form and will press the issue.
Babs Slumber is back to the starter allowance where she has ruled with 7 straight before going to allowance. Class relief is a big benefit.
UPSET PICK: If there is a runner that can upset the trio of favorites, I’d be looking at Seeing Circles to be the spoiler.