Friday, October 7, 2016

Handicapper's Corner: Flower Bowl Invitational (G1)

Six Fillies  Vie in 2016 Flower Bowl 

Michael Amo,  Chairman of ThoroFan

The Flower Bowl Invitational (GI) with its small field could be one of the most exciting races on the Saturday Belmont Park card. The French sensation, Sea Calisi, who stormed home in the Beverly D (GI) at Arlington Park has everyone talking about her Breeders’ Cup debut in the Filly and Mare Turf.  
Beverly D. Stakes

Yet as with Flintshire in the Joe Hirsch she doesn’t need to win; a good performance would be an acceptable prep for the Breeders’ Cup. Lady Eli who returned to the races in Saratoga after more than a year off showed in the Ballston Spa that she is ready for the big leagues, again. 

 Ballston Spa Stakes  

Interesting both are trained by Chad Brown. Yet the rest of the field must be respected. Here is the field: 
1.   Ame Bleue (GB) (Dubawi (IRE) makes her USA debut for trainer Abdre Fabre. Distance should not be a problem; however her best running has come while running “right-hand”. She will have to adapt to the left going. Yet, her second in the Darley Prix Jean Romanet (GI) announces she must be considered a serious contender. 

2. Strike Charmer (Smart Strike) was a surprise longshot winner of Ballston Spa Stakes (GII) in Saratoga over Lady Eli and Sentiero Italia. She set the stakes record with that win. Positive jockey move to Castellano will help at this level, but not likely enough to win. 

 3. Itsonlyactingdad (Giant’s Causeway) likes Belmont track when finishing second last year (behind Lady Eli) in a grade one race and this year in an allowance race. Switch to Velazquez for Pletcher may have a message. 

4. Sentiero Italia (Medaglia d’Oro) had solid performances in Saratoga and the 2 for 3 at Belmont suggests a liking for the track. Distance seems to be her weakness. 

5. Lady Eli (Divine Pack) her undefeated record through July 2015 separated her from the rest. After recuperating she turned in a super performance in the Ballston Spa at Saratoga losing by ¾ of a length to long shot Strike Charmer. Brown was likely testing her and she passed. 

 6. Sea Calisi (Fr) (Youmzain-IRE) this group one experienced filly has shown her prowess in three starts on Lasix in USA. Her last win in the Beverly D as the heavy favorite among fourteen others earned her an automatic spot in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint. Winning here doesn’t offer more. Just needs one good outing in preparation for the Breeders’ Cup in four weeks. 

This is a solid field of fillies and mares looking for another Black-type win and a $300,000 prize. This is sufficient motivation for all. However, the real prize is the $1,200,000 prize for winning the $2,000,000 Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf. For all except Sea Calisi(Fr) a win gets them into that Breeders’ Cup race. Therefore, leaning to others to win is reasonable. With little speed form in the race, deep closers like Ame Bleue (GB), Itsonlyactingdad and Sea Calisi will be at a slight disadvantage. The tactical running style of Strike Charmer, Sentiero Italia and Lady Eli should set them up for an exciting finish. With Strike Charmer out-classed and Sentiero Italia distance-challenge this puts Lady Eli in the best position to win. 

 1. Lady Eli (#5)
 2. Sea Calisi (Fr) (#6) 
 3. Ame Bleue (GB) (#1) 
4. Strike Charmer (#2) 

$10 Exacta Box (1,5,6) ---$60 $20
Exacta Key (5/1,6) ---$40

Good luck, but keep the day job.

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