Princess Rooney Handicap
Dream Rush is an exceptional filly. I thought she was a near lock in the BC FM Sprint. Things have not gone exactly to plan for her since last August. It's hard to believe that she has not won a race for 11 months. You either have to believe that she will come back to her best form an win easily or she will continue to struggle. Coa did ride her poorly in her last. I though he was showing off a bit with that early move and it cost him in the end. Being a fan of hers I hope she returns to her devastating best but the handicapper in me wants to look for an alternative. She has lost just 4 races in her career and 3 of them came first race back off a layoff. The gap between the Vagrancy and the Rooney is just long enough to be considered a layoff even though it's not truly a spell on the bench. Miraculous Miss and Looky Yonder are the two logical horses to beat her. Miraculous Miss though has not won a race in some time and I'd look for her to lose here again. Looky Yonder pulled off the shocking upset last time but out performers rarely turn the trick twice in a row. The horse I'm looking at is Mistical Plan. I find it singular that O'Neill has no problem taking on Dream Rush when he skipped out on the Smile with Thor's Echo. Thor's Echo was closer on paper to Benny The Bull than Mistical Plan is to Dream Rush. I love betting on horses who are returning to what they do best, especially after a long period of running in other types of races. Mistical Plan is 4-3-0-0 in dirt sprint races. She is 1 for 9 in all other types of contests. She ran an encouraging 3rd behind Ginger Punch in her last race and looks to be in top form. It's been a long time since she ran a dirt sprint, January of 07' to be exact but the return should do her good. She has never run figures fast enough to match Dream Rush but she has matured quite a bit since she last sprinted, perhaps she's ready to improve.
I think this is the race of the weekend. We have 4 top run fillies as well as a course specialist. Unbridled Belle, Spring Waltz, Santa Teresita and Hystericalady are all G-1 winners or G-1 winners in waiting. Also don't forget Moon Catcher. She is a longshot in this race but she was also no lower than 9/1 in both of her stakes win over this course last year. She looms a very legitimate threat to wire the field. Hystericalady is the horse I'm sure the rest of the field is counting on to prevent her from stealing it but the Hollendorfer trainee is very suspect at the distance. In fact I suspect that she won't even hit the frame in here. Unbridled Belle is a worthy favorite and is the other Delware specialist. She is better on this track than on any other and she was devastating in the Obeah handicap. The only angle I see against her is that it is very hard to run a route race that huge off a layoff then return at a longer distance next time out. She could regress here much like Ginger Punch did in the Apple Blossom. I am very pumped about seeing Spring Waltz in action again. I think despite Unbridled Belle and Moon Catchers surface preference she might be the horse to beat. These Stronach mares get better with age and Spring Waltz has just begun to come of age despite being 5. I am slightly nervous that her form at Gulfstream was just a flash in the pan but she really has been a good filly all her life, the move to dirt only punctuated it. No one has been close to her on dirt and the distance will be no problem for her. Santa Teresita is the wild card, I think she will win more than one G-1 in her career and there is certainly no shame in losing to Zenyatta and Tough Tiz's Sis. But there are a few questions. She has never even run 9f let alone 10f and she has never tried dirt. She is is bred to relish both but I just don't think it'll be her day this time. I'm looking for Spring Waltz and Unbridled Belle to fight this one out with Santa Teresita and Moon Catcher deciding third between them.