Ogden Phipps Stakes 2021 Picks: Bonny South could be just the ticket

The powerful Letruska (photo courtesy of Coady) squares off against Shedaresthedevil, but there is another horse that J.N. Campbell wants to 'key.' Read on ...
The powerful Letruska (photo courtesy of Coady) squares off against Shedaresthedevil, but there is another horse that J.N. Campbell wants to "key." Read on ...

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1 1/16th (Dirt) Ogden Phipps Stakes (G1), $500k, F&M 4+

At this point, we already have a couple of key alterations in this race, even before Saturday arrives. It wouldn’t be a gigantic Thoroughbred weekend without some kind of scratches and/or changes. First, Todd Pletcher reported a few days ago that his well-rested mare, Valiance #2 would not be making her 1st start of the year because of a complication. She is out. Then, Thursday at Belmont, superstar jockey Irad Ortiz was thrown off a mount, and though the subsequent x-rays were negative, he is going to be out for at least a few weeks. That will impact the some-odd 9 races he was carded for on Thursday, and all 13 on Saturday. Ortiz can make a significant impact … The last bit of news, and it is a big one, is Kenny McPeek’s star filly from last year, Swiss Skydiver #1, has contracted a fever. She is out.

That leaves 5, and what amounts to a much weaker field. Clearly, the top 2 contenders amount to Letruska #3 and Shedaresthedevil #5. This still should be a titanic matchup, despite the defections. The former was last seen at Oaklawn Park back in April when she re-rallied against Monomoy Girl, and won the Apple Blossom (G1) with a gritty performance. Fausto Gutierrez has done an amazing job bringing her along, and she is the class of the division in my estimation. Not having Ortiz aboard is a significant loss. As for the latter, she has become Brad Cox’s signature female, as Monomoy takes a rest. The filly was fab in the La Troienne (G1) back at Churchill on the Oaks undercard. This one is a frontrunner, and when she gets to the lead, everyone needs to be wary because Florent Geroux can take over the race.

As for the rest of the field, I like another runner that will be vastly underrated, and that’s Cox’s other entry. Bonny South #7 has failed in a couple of key races in the past that many thought she should have won. Still, the past is a foreign country, as the quote goes. In racing, being open brings opportunity. Still, her last race at Keeneland in the Doubledogdare (G3) was strong, even if it wasn’t a formidable field. Now, with Joel Rosario in the saddle as Geroux on the other Cox charge, she has the opportunity to be a solid overlay. When I heard her conditioner was sending the Juddmonte router up against stablemate Essential Quality in workouts at Churchill, that was a very good sign. She is a bet in my estimation, even with the other 2 faves drawing in here. Let’s use her as the “key” for our ticket!

Wagering Recommendation: $1 Trifecta Wheel, 7 w 3/5 w 3/5

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