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Maiden Claiming Monday

Turf Paradise
Race 2
6 1/2 Furlongs
$5,000 Maiden Claiming
Three year old fillies





Summer Soprano



Angular Momentum



Strawberry Sun Fun



Yasmin's Song



She'll Just Park






Speed the Light



Kinda Cute


This week's Maiden Claiming Monday takes us out to Arizona and the TuP, Turf Paradise, for a $5K event. This field has a little bit of everything: a first time starter, a couple of fillies that have done a fair amount of losing, a dropper that just missed last time out, and some fillies that are used to finishing well back of the winners. Let's dive right in.

Unlike a the tracks in California, the TuP still feature a traditional hard and fast dirt surface which lends itself to domination by early speed. As such, my first tasks are to determine which fillies are going to get the lead out of the gate and what the pace scenario will look like.

Early Pace

3-Strawberry Sun Fun has run two career races at the TuP and has been on the lead in both of those efforts only to lose the lead in the stretch. She ran at a mile last time out which may help her stamina wise when they roll into the lane. She fits in terms of class and should find herself up front early.

6-Brighty has only two lifetime starts under her belt but she did show some early foot in her last effort which, coincidentally, was the same race as Strawberry Sun Fun's last. She finished ahead of her competitor in that race after stalking her around the track. Unfortunately, she was nosed out at the wire and finds herself looking to break her maiden in her third try.

For me, the crux of the race comes down primarily to these two fillies as there just isn't a lot of other speed in this race. I think Strawberry Sun Fun has the edge over Brighty in this spot due to the cutback in distance which should, theoretically, help her to hold off her challengers in deep stretch.

Other Contenders

The wild card in this race is the outside filly and first time starter, 8-Kinda Cute. Kinda Cute is by Action This Day out of a Storm Cat mare and trained by Keith Bennett. Bennett is hitting at 14% overall with firsters (8-for-58) over the last five years and 16% at the TuP (8-for-31). Not a bad record but certainly nothing that screams big time trainers with first time starters. What does scream "big time" with this filly is the jockey/trainer combination: Bennett and Dieguez are hitting at an astonishing 45% in 2009-2010 (40-for-89). Those are just sick numbers and as a result I think this filly will probably run a solid race and be a contender at first asking.

The rest of the field

1-Summer Soprano ran behind Strawberry Sun Fun and Brighty last time out in that mile event and has really been flat in her last three efforts. Nothing in her profile suggests that she's about to run a winning race.

2-Angular Momentum has performed worse in each of her last four races (3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th) and doesn't seem to have the speed necessary to threaten the two front runners without burning herself out. However, if she is able to get out on the lead she could be the cheap speed to soften up Strawberry Sun Fun but I think it's more likely that she never makes the lead out of the gate.

4-Yasmin's Song is coming in off of a barn switch and hasn't sniffed the front of a race since early September. Her best efforts were at Santa Rosa and Sacramento...the TuP might be too big of a step up for her.

5-She'll Just Park ran a nice race in her debut, briefly threatening the lead before fading to third. That race could provide a nice base to make a run at the wire today but I'm concerned about her closing style in a race that will likely not have an insane pace scenario. She's also 7/2 on the ML which isn't the value I'd like to see for a closer in a TuP sprint. If she drifts to 5/1 I could be enticed to take a flyer.

7-Speed the Light has run five times previous to today, four of those races on the synthetic surface at Golden Gate. Her first dirt try at the TuP was lackluster effort at five furlongs. The extra panel and a half could give her a better shot at the prize but she, like others, just doesn't look like a filly that's ready to win.

The Pick

3-Strawberry Sun Fun, and her 4/1 ML odds, is my pick for the win. An exacta box with her and the first time starter, 8-Kinda Cute, might offer some decent value, as well.