#3 MARYANORGINGER had the not-so-easy task to win on debut, let alone when debuting in a stakes race. She was able to overcome that challenge, and always the hard way, did so with legit adversity. From the rail draw in the Astoria S. last year at Belmont, she stumbled badly at the start (TROUBLE_S) and after getting SHUFFLE’s back early on, showed real ability to recover and pass horses for the win. It was a strong, professional run all things considered though clearly some issue kept her from the track after that start. She did not post a published work until February of this year and has been on the grounds here at Oaklawn Park for Englehart since then to prepare for her return. Speed figure (OptixFIG)-wise she will need a step forward from the debut to compete, though noted that 83 OptixFIG from debut was earned as a juvenile and reasonable to consider improvement given that was just the first start and she has been given time to “grow up.” The barn has been sending out live runners all meet and looks to have another one here.
#9 CARDAMON, another filly that is lightly raced and has shown some ability to this point, will make her 4-year-old seasonal debut this afternoon. Much like the debut of MARYANORGINGER, CARDAMON has had some issues of her own at the start of the race, and has to be considered when assessing her Quad III/IV position on OptixPLOT. She has shown tactical speed in the sprint races and worth keeping in mind with the SLOG back on November 3 at Churchill Downs when finishing fifth in a race that had little change in running order from start to finish. Capable to compete here based on her debut race (86 OptixFIG) and some upside given that she is still lightly raced, as well as given the time to mature since that start last September.
RACE 9 – PURPLE MARTIN STAKES:
#8 FRANK’S ROCKETTE, a tested graded stakes filly, will ship in for Bill Mott and looks to be a solid threat in this feature Saturday stakes event. Since her impressive debut (A- OptixGRADE) last summer at Churchill Downs, she has backed up that form in tough graded stakes events throughout her juvenile season. Freshened for 2020 she returned in the Any Limit S. at Gulfstream Park in February and with a strong (B+ OptixGRADE) performance in a dominant victory that afternoon. She was able to make the lead easily due to her class and a very solid pace set on the front end before closing late. She has that tactical speed as shown on OptixPLOT as a Square in Quad I and looks to sit a very favorable trip. She expects to track #4 EDGEWAY coming off a strong maiden win (B+ OptixGRADE and 102 OptixFIG) in her debut over this course on February 29. The effort certainly puts her right back into the mix here; however, should note the REGRESS? projection from that win as she was put to a drive from start to finish and facing a solid group here would need to run back to that effort to compete.
#9 KISS THE GIRLS does not expect to find a pace too “blazing” with the lower SpeedRate; however, here is a level of Contention (“Sun”) with the two mentioned above and with some pace pressure from the trio (#2 RING LEADER, #3 FLAT OUT SPEED, and #5 BOOTYTAMA) in Quad III. That looks to benefit both #6 LEXI ON THE MOVE and KISS THE GIRLS stalking as Squares from Quad II. With little between them on the PLOT, there is some upside with KISS THE GIRLS based on her form from last season and noted excuse with the TROUBLE from the allowance event on opening day; whereas LEXI ON THE MOVE does not have any real knocks, though has benefited from favorable trips (TACTIC+, PERFECT) in her two races this meet running for the hot-hand of Diodoro.
#1 KIMARI is a bit of a “wild card” coming back in this spot for Ward to make her 2020 debut. It is not too presumptuous to assume connections had the intention of coming back this Spring at Keeneland and likely to find a turf race based on her recent record. With that in mind, she will show up in this spot and needing to get a race in. She has class and solid form as noted in her “Past 3 Runlines” and OptixFIG in Range for today’s stakes event. While she has been primarily running over the turf, it is worth noting she did break her maiden on the main track at Keeneland in the spring of her juvenile season on the front end and by open lengths.