Thursday, May 19, 2011

Sophomore Spotlight: Black-eyed Susan Analysis

--Brian DiDonato

The Black-eyed Susan didn't draw the deepest group, but if the morning line proves accurate, there is still some value to be had. Wyomia is the 9-5 choice based mostly on the fact that she was second in the GI Ashland last time. Fillies from that contest that moved on to the Kentucky Oaks did not run particularly well, however. Ashland winner Lilacs and Lace, who scored on an easy lead over a speed-favoring surface, was 12th, beaten 24 lengths under the Twin Spires; Kathmanblu, who was probably best in the Ashland, was an exposed sixth; while Bouquet Booth, fourth at Keeneland, was fifth in the Oaks. Wyomia's win in the Suncoast S. is suspect for similar reasons--it came on the quirky Tampa Bay Downs surface, and the subsequent performances of runners coming out of that race have not flattered the group. Royal Delta put in a total non-effort in her first start off the bench, so her subsequent race is not relevant in this context. More on her below, however. Wyomia is also unproven on conventional dirt and her pedigree does not suggest that it should be her preference. If we toss her Suncoast  because of the tricky track, we're left with only turf and synthetic form. While Wyomia's sire Vindication was purely a dirt horse, her dam's side is all grass. She's out of the Kingmambo mare Beyond the Sun, who was 0-for-4 on the dirt, and whose only on the board finish on the main track came on wet ground. She was 2-for-8 on turf. Wyomia's most notable sibling is Red Giant (Giant's Causeway), a talented world-record holder on the sod, but 0-for-3 on dirt. She's also a half to Carnera (Old Trieste), who recorded seven of his eight successes on the lawn. Wyomia probably won't be as heavy a favorite as predicted by the morning line, but she's a play-against at any price.

Hot Summer Scores up the Rail in Comely
(c) Adam Coglianese
Second-choice Hot Summer is a much more likely winner than the chalk, but there are some knocks against her as well. Her Comely win came with a perfect ground-saving trip and, like Wyomia's races, has not been flattered. Runner-up Her Smile--third behind Wyomia previously--was 11th, beaten 22 lengths in the Oaks for new connections, and while show horse Ava K filled the same slot on return in the Wanda at Belmont two weeks ago, she was running against a small field of lower-class foes. The other two return runners from the Comely finished 10th (of 10, beaten 19 1/4) and eighth (beaten 8) in their next outings. Hot Summer's biggest edge is her speed. According to the Moss Pace Figures, she should get a pretty clear lead even though Coax Liberty is stretching out, and you would expect savvy Ramon Dominguez to do his best to allow his mount to capitalize on her advantage. But Hot Summer may not want to go this far, regardless of how easy the fractions are. She liked sprinting at two, and a one-turn mile on Aqueduct's main track (like the Comely) is very different than traveling nine furlongs around two bends--it plays closer to seven furlongs than 1 1/8 miles. From a pedigree standpoint distance is not an issue, but Hot Summer simply runs more like a one-turn horse. She's far from impossible, but still vulnerable.

Royal Delta in her Jaw-dropping Debut
(c) Adam Coglianese
That pretty much leaves Royal Delta, who I have a sneaking suspicion will be lower than her morning line quote at post time. The daughter of MGSW turf router Delta Princess (A.P. Indy)--a full to GI Garden City winner Indy Five Hundred and a 3/4-sister to last year's G1 Gran Criterium winner Biondetti--fits this race perfectly. She will love the distance and is lightly raced with room for improvement. The homebred's debut at Belmont last October was jaw-dropping--she won by 12 lengths with some traffic trouble for Bill Mott, who is not known for his prowess with firsters. After some time on the shelf, Royal Delta resurfaced in the Suncoast, finishing a never-relevant ninth as the 8-5 chalk. I'm inclined to toss that race for the same reason I did for Wyomia. Mott's lack of recent success with his better runners coming off lay-offs adds further reason to forgive the poor performance, as does Royal Delta's subsequent effort. With devastating ease and a blatant disregard for ground loss, the "TDN Rising Star" beat a good-looking Pletcher maiden winner by three lengths in a Keeneland allowance. She earned a 90 Beyer figure--the field's best last-out number--while spotting her foes anywhere from 2 3/4 to 9 lengths (6 in the runner-up's case) in extra distance covered, according to Trakus data. With good-looking works in the interim, Royal Delta has this field at her mercy.

I expect the public to catch on to Royal Delta's obvious merits and do not anticipate her being a particularly enticing win bet candidate. Instead, I will play a straight exacta of Royal Delta over Love The Way You Are, who should be running late and who is an interesting cross-country shipper from very successful owner/trainer (and sometimes breeder) Myung Kwon Cho. I will also play the Black-eyed Susan/Preakness double with Royal Delta linked to my two value selections in that race (check back here tomorrow to find out who), and will single Royal Delta in all PK3s and 4s. Those wagers will also lean heavily on Supreme in the The Very One, whose turf debut last time at Tampa against cheaper must be seen to be appreciated (TDN Video).


Susan said...

Thanks for the "heads up" on Supreme at Tampa. Missed that, and she WAS very impressive.Like her outside post too, at least she shouldn't get buried down inside like last time. Not an easy spot, with the Pletcher mare in there at equal weights, but I like her chances. And the price will be right.

TDN Staff Blog said...


Thanks for reading/commenting. I have to give credit to NYRA's Andy Serling, who was the first to point out Supreme's performance publicly a few days ago. . . I'd like to think she'll be a price, but I have a feeling she'll get bet way down. There isn't much in the race, and while Rose Catherine is the headliner, she has been very disappointing this year.