The 53rd running of the Grade 2 John C. Mabee Handicap brings together a field of eight fillies and mares going a mile and an eighth on the Jimmy Durante Turf course. Previous winners of this race are the wonderful two-time champion turf female Flawlessly, the champion older filly and mare Escena and "the little filly that could" Megahertz. Who will join this list of champions? Here is the field:
#1 Wasted Tears R Maragh 121 5/2
#2 Lilly Fa Pootz J Rosario 119 6/1
#3 Spring Style (IRE) P A Valenzuela 119 15/1
#4 Gotta Have Her M E Smith 121 3/1
#5 Turning Top (IRE) B Blanc 119 5/1
#6 Princess Haya R Bejarano 121 10/1
#7 Gozzip Girl J R Leparoux 121 7/2
#8 Oui Say Oui (IRE) V Espinoza 119 20/1
The favorite, the selection and a blog favorite is #1 Wasted Tears. This daughter of Najran is on a 6 race winning streak, and a 9 race turf winning streak. This blog fell in love with her during her win in the Grade 3 Honey Fox Handicap on the Fountain of Youth undercard at Gulfstream Park. She cleared over from the post #13 that day to win. She is a true front-runner who goes to the front and asks you to come and catch her. She has had a series of steady works since her win in the Grade 3 Ouija Board at Lone Star Park on Memorial Day. Rajiv Maragh ships in from Saratoga for the mount. The distance is the major question for her, as she has never gone this far. She also has a to fight the speed-averse profile on this turf course. Hopefully the front-end win by Sidney's Candy yesterday portends good things for 'Tears'. She does appear to have an advantage from a pace perspective, as she is the only true front-runner. This should lead to a gate-to-wire victory
The main threat is #2 Lilly Fa Pootz. She is a hot horse, having been in the exacta 8 out of her last 9 and riding a modest two-win winning streak. She won the ungraded Osunitas Stakes over this turf course last time out. She has steadily climbed the ranks from the $16k claiming ranks to this level. She has blossomed under the care of trainer Jerry Hollendorfer, who could use someone like her to at least partially replace the gaping hole in his barn that Tuscan's Evening sudden death last week during a workout left. Lilly has three steady maintenance works during the interim. She is a rallier, the preferred style on this course, but gets the acid test today.
The blog does not think that #4 Gotta Have Her will be much of a threat, as it looks like she is going farther than her optimum distance. For a crazy longshot to spice up the exotics, the #8 Oui Say Oui would the one we shall use. She is probably not fast enough to win, but she will be probably sitting right behind Wasted Tears during the opening quarters of the race. She could just draft behind her and get dragged along to good placing behind the winner. I think the added distance will help her, and at 20/1 on the morning line, she is worth inclusion in your horizontal plays.
This blog will play Wasted Tears on top of the Lilly Fa Pootz and Oui Say Oui in the exacta, and throw in #7 Gozzip Girl in the 3rd spot.
Good luck everybody!