2016 Diana Stakes: Classy Lassies
By: John Caro, S. FL ThoroFan
Diana Stakes Grade I - $500K F&M 3 and Up – 1 & 1/8th Miles
Opening weekend at Saratoga offers the Diana Stakes on Sunday with Classy Lassies, Stylish Ladies, top trainers and jockeys. Weather conditions are forecast to be ideal, high in the upper 80’s, bright and clear, light winds and dry. Should be cooling by race time. This likely to be a pace driven race that may be hotter than the weather.
#1 Sandia (12-1) – This five year old mare has numerous grade II and III races and ITM in all three races this year. Regular works since her last outing three and a half months ago look good. She’s gone this distance once at Gulfstream and won in a good time with Castellano aboard. Her more than half a million won on the turf has to be respected and Pletcher must have been saving her for this race for a piece. I’m not thrilled with the jockey change and looking through her competition today, I’ll use her in the bottom of a Superfecta.
#2 Miss Temple City (3-1) – I like this speedy filly recently vacationing at Ascot with Ryan Moore finishing fourth by 3&1/4 with top company. Her two works (one on the lawn) were and her ITM finishes at the distance make her a contender. Despite the Bris power rating, her race at Keeneland in the QE II Cup at a price with this jockey and Motion’s ability to surprise in these situations give me the confidence to place her second and third on my selections.
#3 Strike Charmer (15-1) – This elder Lady of the group did not done well against this competition when seen in the Just A Game Stakes. That race was within 1 one hundredth of the track record. Charmer failed to respond. What scares me is Junior won the JAG Stakes with Celestine (7-1) and has this mount today. And she could be the wild card as she can go a quick pace near the lead and won 3 of 6 lifetime at this distance. Henning has conditioned her on the lawn much closer to this race than the last outing. This could be the classic longshot situation. Failed last out, when winning she’s at a price, Junior’s ITM performance here last year was as good on the lawn as everyone’s and better training regimen…..I like it! Second and all below in exotics with a separate win bet. Special look here.
#4 Wekeela (7-2) – One of four entries for Chad Brown and this one has been blessed with a great pedigree. Additionally, she gets last year’s number two turf jockey, Castellano, as her pilot. Her last out was a nice run as the favorite but was quite wide through the turn and between in the stretch. The close was good. She seems to be ready for this race with a steady line for works on the grass at Belmont. Top trainer, top jock, competitive girl. Have to consider her a win selection. First or second for this race.
#5 Mrs. McDougal (10-1) – Another JAG Stakes runner from Chad who showed a lot of heart at a shorter distance. Breeding says she can go the distance though she’s only had the chance once before and Miss Temple City ran ahead of her. I think her distance is the mile and a sixteenth and less. Love the trainer and jockey but I’m playing her to finish down the line in a Superfecta.
#6 Dacita (5-1) – And another Chad entry who certainly impressed with her close at a mile and a quarter in the New Yorker but, the pace for the NY’r was pedestrian through a mile. Looking back at her runs in the Very One at Gulfstream and the Jenny Wiley at Keeneland says to me she will need to be placed in a closer stalking position to win. The pace for this race should be moderate in the start and just getting much faster through the final turn. Last year’s top turf rider at this track is aboard and this lady deserves respect. If Irad gets position and has the energy to close, she could be close to the winner.
#7 Receipts (9-2) – A non ‘Chad’ entry who was second last out in the JAG Stakes and has run against this competition before. Nicely done but has been beaten by Strike Charmer and Wekeela in the prior two races at a mile and a sixteenth. Just not sure this is the right distance for her. Even though Johnny V is piloting today, she is in my game for this race but on the bottom of exotics.
#8 Onus (15-1) – She has a nice record against lesser. Best effort was in the Commonwealth at Laurel last September. Top trainer and jockey but I’m not sure this lass can stand the competition. Not in my game today.
#9 Rainha Da Bacteria (20-1) - Another of Chad’s also ran in the JAG Stakes who came from the clouds and was way short of the goal. Seems to be a dead closer and her closing speed although fast, may not be enough to get it done this time either. The great news is Leparoux has the patience to drive her home if she has a closer position. Bottom of the Tri-Superfectas.
#10 Isabella Sings (8-1) – That’s my girl! Rates a forth on the Bris prime power but her ability to run in the front in good fractions followed by better fractions gives her the opportunity to create a pace scenario that others may not handle or track a swift pace and finish well. Pace has been on her four times since last September with three wins and a nose loss. Her middle pace/speed is tough to argue with. Distance is not a question for her and although she has only logged one recorded work since her last race, I think she is very capable of the challenge from the rest of the field. She is my top pick today.
Bets: Watch the Tote hand see how the betting goes on the 3 and 10. It might make your choice of bets below easier. I like the 10 as noted but, the 3 fascinates me enough to put him there as well.
$2 Trifecta: 10 /3,4,6 / 2,3,4,5,6,7,9 Total: $36
$1 Trifecta: 3,4,6 / 10 / 2,3,4,5,6,7,9 Total: $18
$0.20 Superfecta: 3 / 6,4,10 / 2,4,5,6,7,9,10 / 2,4,5,6,7,9,10 Total $18
$2 Exacta All with 3 Total $18
$10 Win 3
Good luck today…