The Grade II Edgewood is a distance test for fillies who are still trying to find their 3-yr-old footing. The prior 36 editions of this race saw major players like Stephanie’s Kitten, A Little Bit Sassy, Catch a Glimpse, La Coronel, Concrete Rose, and last year’s stellar grass queen, Sharing. Who will ascend the mountain to Edgewood glory?
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Trainer Cherie DeVaux has an interesting turf router in her midst who she has brought along nicely at the Fair Grounds. Whether this daughter of Declaration of War is ready to jump into this class morass is anyone’s guess. What can be said is that getting North America’s reigning Eclipse Award-winning jockey, Irad Ortiz, to ride her is a major tick to the positive. I would wager that it makes an average horse more than adequate. DeVaux doesn’t enter many races, and she is thin on “G” action. This would be a coup.
#2 Gift List (Jky: J. Castellano/Trn: B. Lynch):
Last time this jock-runner-coach got together at Keeneland for the Appalachian (G2) they turned in a nice 2nd place finish. This daughter of Bated Breath (GB) might end up being one of those European imports that is slated to have a very good career here in the US. The pair of fillies that bookended her on the board that day—Jouster and Plum Ali—were of much better quality than most that are drawn in for this contest. If Brian Lynch has her screws tightened, and Javier Castellano can do what he does best, then she very well could vie for the win by the time the wire comes around.
#3 Queen of the Green (Jky: J. Graham/Trn: J. Barkley):
Jason Barkley isn’t a household training name . . . at least not yet. He is taking over the conditioning duties for this daughter of Summer Front from Jon Arnett, who plies most of his trade in Florida. Sending his new charge into this spot is a gutsy move, to quote Top Gun, and it is a good bet it will end in heartache. In a pair of G3 races prior to entering here, this filly did not do much running on the grass, despite the lovely sobriquet that would say she could otherwise. Getting James Graham to hop aboard might end up being a good thing because he has the experience to take some that have potential and accelerate them to attack speed. If this cannot happen, then she might be Queen of the Lean . . .
#4 Barista (Jky: J. Rosario/Trn: J. Baker):
The Baker Barn does not get in on many of these types of races, but here they are heading into some rough seas. If they have any type of navigation device, then they know they are in for the rocks, if they do not get the right trip. Despite some poor efforts in “Non-G” Co., thankfully they have chosen a jockey with proven lawnmowing ability. Joel Rosario just finished a fabulous Keeneland Meet, and he comes to Churchill ready to score some more victories. Maybe Baker thinks that this rider, coupled with bloodlines that run through Medaglia d’Oro, will help pull this filly through. Rosario is a wizard in the saddle, but even he may not be able to conjure a win out this hat.
#5 Line Dancing (Jky: J. Leparoux/Trn: M. Matz):
Here is a filly out of Speightstown who is lightly raced for trainer Mike Matz. He doesn’t get out as much as he used to, but he seems determined to try this one here. Last out in a 100k Sanibel Island at Gulfstream Park, his entry failed to hit the board with Ed Zayas aboard. Coming to Churchill represents a new start for Bass Stables, but it may just end up as a repeat of that effort. It is hard to imagine her improving against some firepower like the runners who are drawn to her right in the gates. Maybe Julien Leparoux can spring an upset. It is going to be a very difficult proposition to even hit the board in my estimation.
#6 Aunt Pearl (Jky: F. Geroux/Trn: B. Cox):
The absolute class of this field has only one weakness—the bench. Is she ready to begin her 3-yr-old campaign at what figures to be a very short price? Last year, she burned up the turf for Brad Cox, enroute to a perfect 3/3. The capstone to her award-winning season was a typical frontrunning score in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1). If she gets to the lead, she can be absolutely lethal. If that running style returns, then it is going to be over before the 1C. Florent Geroux is back to ride the rocket, and if you are backing her, you better hope she doesn’t miss the break. Who knows how she will handle that kind of adversity? Big chance with America’s hottest trainer in her corner.
#7 Zaajel (Jky: L. Saez/Trn: T. Pletcher):
Here is an interesting puzzle . . . what exactly is Todd Pletcher’s reasoning when it comes to this Juddmonte homebred? He clearly thinks that putting her on the turf against a heavy favorite is a good move. Street Sense is a sire that has turned in some turfers, but all-in-all, it is going to take more than that to get this filly home. Still, her conditioner has a good grass record, and he has retained the services of Luis Saez once again. He rode her at Gulfstream Park on the dirt, and won both of those races. His riding abilities are at an all-time high after becoming the April Meet leading jockey at Keeneland. I wouldn’t underestimate this pair, and he could very well spring the upset if others are not as sharp as we think.
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