US racing tips: Tom Collins hopes the pace will collapse in Grade 1 Ogden Phipps
Our Bonnie Lass
10.00 Santa Anita
10.04 Belmont Park
Point Of Honor
10.36 Belmont Park
We have Grade 1 action at Belmont Park on Saturday in the shape of the $300,000 Ogden Phipps Stakes (10.36), a race that has been won by the likes of Songbird (2017) and Midnight Bisou (2019) in the last three years.
This year's edition is slightly below par but there are two proper Grade 1 performers in the field– Ollie's Candy andPoint Of Honor – and hopefully they will produce an exciting finish.
Ollie's Candy is highly likely to go forward under Joel Rosario, but the presence of the front-running Blamed on her inside means she might be able to get an uncontested lead in this 1m½f contest.
She proved that she is resilient and gutsy when runner-up in the Grade 1 Apple Blossom Handicap at Oaklawn Park last time out, but I'm not convinced that she will be able to hold off the challenge of Point Of Honor if she is slightly softened up on the front-end.
George Weaver's Point Of Honor is the only four-year-old in the field and consequently receives a 4lb weight-for-age allowance.
She finished one place behind Ollie's Candy in the Apple Blossom, but there was a clear pace bias at Oaklawn that night and she did extremely well to take third given how far out of her ground she was turning in for home.
Indeed, she made up six and a half lengths on the pacemaking Ollie's Candy in just over two furlongs that day and had to go eight-wide in the stretch run. This smaller field will allow her to sit closer to the speed and challenge nearer the rail, therefore saving ground and momentum.
Point Of Honor boasts an improving profile and proved she can perform on the East Coast when second in both the Grade 1 American Oaks and Alabama Stakes at Saratoga last summer. Her 2-1 morning line price is much more attractive than the 8-5 about Ollie's Candy.
The preceding $56,000 allowance (10.03) contest looks a highly competitive affair with 12 runners set to line up over the 6f trip.
I was initially taken by Gary Sciacca's Pot Of Honey and still believe that her 12-1 morning line price is too big, but her draw in gate 12 puts me off her and it is far more likely that Anthony Margotta'sGood Credence gets a better trip from gate ten.
With plenty of pace inside thanks to Quality Stones, Good Credence, who can miss a beat at the start but has good early speed, might be able to sit just off the speed and can use her exceptional turn of foot to pounce in the straight.
The mount of John Velazquez hacked up over this course and distance in September to lose her maiden tag before performing well in a classy black type affair against a couple of previous stakes winners.
A poor break left her with no chance on her return at Gulfstream but that track wouldn't have suited this daughter of Jimmy Creed anyway, and the fact of the matter is that she clearly wasn't expected to get the job done after a six-month layoff that day.
She will be primed for this contest as she returns to New York and her recent works will have got rid of the rust.
It is over to Santa Anita for the final selection, which is Thomas Bell'sOur Bonnie Lass in the low-grade $17,000 maiden claimer (11.00).
Her stablemate Manresa will go off an odds-on favourite but she is far from trustworthy and carries her tail at a dodgy angle, as well as having a high carriage when asked for maximum effort.
She is a filly I want to take on and she might just bump into a more talented rival here anyway in Our Bonnie Lass, who had a rough beginning to her debut last month when hampered and forced to race detached in last.
She made up significant ground in the straight, though, and finished a never-nearer third at the wire under Drayden Van Dyke, who retains the ride.
That race was over 6f, but the way she finished and her pedigree suggests the mile here will be much more to her liking. She gets Lasix for the first time.
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