The Pebbles Stakes
On Sunday after some exciting racing on Saturday a lot of people might be focused on football. After all it is week 2 in the NFL and excitement is high. I will be focused on Belmont and the one-mile Pebbles Stakes on the grass.
A filly I was waiting for to run back showed up in a new barn and I think I will take a shot on her. Let’s look at the field.
Plum Ali breaks from the rail and has both class and talent. What she doesn’t have is speed and she often has a lot to do when launching her late kick. She’s capable and will take money but I will go against her in here.
Our Flash Drive comes in from Canada and does have some speed to work with. She should be on or near the front and speeds always dangerous, but I do not think she will be good enough to get home fastest here.
Minaun hails from the Chad Brown barn and that almost makes her an automatic contender. She likes this distance and gets Luis Saez who will make the most of any chance to ride for this barn. She exits a key race and must be viewed as having a legit shot in my opinion.
Miss Dracarys will have to improve more than I believe she can to contend in here. She is off a win at Monmouth against softer, and from a good barn, but I just don’t see her.
Keeper of Time ran a decent race from back in her US debut for Brendan Walsh in the Riskaverse. While she ran well, I don’t think nearly good enough to give her a shot at these unless she goes forward in a big way. Bigger than I would be willing to bet on.
Third Draft is a horse that was on Past the Wire’s TRACKING TRIPS list and delivered. She is improving, has a nice kick, and I think she will go forward again. I’ll call her a contender at a price.
Nazuna is where I land. Her race in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf last year is a toss for me. Aunt Pearl wired the field as the speed. She has never run a bad race in Great Britain and the two races in the states were both ambitious spots. Last time in the Belmont Oaks another Grade 1 like her Breeders’ Cup race she showed decent speed at a longer distance. She only has three works back, but they are for Chad Brown and he does not run short horses. I think she shows why she is here and runs big.
Lovestruck seems to have gone off form after a promising beginning. She’ll have to show me she has her head back in the game.
Jordan’s Leo is another who should be up close early. She is one for one on the grass, and Todd Pletcher brings her over, but I didn’t see anything in that turf win telling me she can beat the best in here. Not yet anyway.
Spirit of Bermuda is a question mark making her US debut. Her replays are good not great. She gets competitive when in the fight, but I don’t know she will be in this one when it counts.
Spanish Loveaffair has run a few races suggesting she can compete here. The last two aren’t indicative of that, however. She has some speed, and I would not say she’s hopeless, but I prefer others.