Luis Saez has a young 2-yr-old filly who can take the Astoria Stakes. See why ... below.
5½F (Dirt) Astoria Stakes, $150k, 2F
One of the earliest “Non-G” contests for 2-yr-olds around is this staple on the Belmont Stakes Week undercard. A good group of fillies will contest the pace at 5½F. Nothing easy about this race, even though it is only a 6-horse field. Little experience abounds when it comes to their PPs. If I were forced to pick a winner out of this group, I might have a tendency to back Joe Sharp’s American Bound #6. She is a runner out of American Freedom who could be a nice overlay at over 7 or 8/1. I like the fact that she gets Luis Saez to ride for what will be a 3rd time. Sure, it looks like she took a step back at Churchill in the KY Juvenile 150k, finishing 5th out 7.
She is going to have her hands full running against the 2-yr-old architect, trainer Wesley Ward. The Lexington-based phenom is well-heeled when it comes to these spots, and Gayla Rankin’s Happy Soul #4 was sure dominating in that MSW90k run at Belmont on 13 May. She won by a whopping 11-lengths, and John Velazquez had the pleasure of getting this one home. He is back aboard, and she is going to be a very short price. Trainer and jockey were in-sync back at Keeneland, and they are coming to take Belmont in this contest. Watch out!
The way to play this situation is to take both of these excellent entries and play an Exacta. I am hoping that Ward’s runner misses the break, and Sharp’s can make the lead. If I can call this one “cold,” then I could have a shot to really cash a nice ticket. Loading up might be in order!