Once in a while, a group of horses born in a particular year will turn out to be an above-average group capable of dominating not just horses of their own age, but older horses as well.
This year’s crop of 3-year-old fillies might well be such a group. Fillies like Abel Tasman, Elate, It Tiz Well, Unique Bella, and Paradise Woods have all turned in impressive efforts this year, and the depth of the division was thoroughly demonstrated last week when Elate and Paradise Woods scored eye-catching victories against older females in the Grade 1 Beldame Stakes and Grade 1 Zenyatta Stakes, respectively.
Therefore, when the $500,000, Grade 1 Juddmonte Spinster Stakes is held at Keeneland this Sunday, it would come as no surprise to see the 3-year-old filly Lockdown (#6) wind up in the winner’s circle. She’s held her own in some big races this year, finishing third with a troubled trip in the Grade 1 Longines Kentucky Oaks and second in the Grade 2 Mother Goose Stakes at Belmont Park, but it was her run in the Grade 1 Cotillion Stakes two weeks ago that really caught my eye. Showing surprising early speed (she typically rallies from off the pace), Lockdown found herself leading the way early on while racing close to the rail on a day when the inside might not have been the best part of the track. Lockdown then had to pick up the pace when favored Abel Tasman made a huge midrace move to challenge for the lead, but despite these less-than-ideal circumstances, Lockdown held on well to finish third, beaten less than three lengths for the victory and less than a length by Abel Tasman for second.
Lockdown is running back on just two weeks of rest, which is a bit of a concern, but Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott has a solid record with horses running back on short rest — in fact, over the last five years, he’s gone 2-for-8 when running a horse back on 14 days or less in a stakes race, and that includes Emollient’s win in the Grade 1 Ashland Stakes at Keeneland off just a week of rest. In addition, Lockdown’s speed figures stand out as among the best in the Spinster field, and I think she’s the horse to beat.
I’ll also take a look at Martini Glass (#1), who finished a good second behind champion Songbird in the Grade 1 Delaware Handicap three starts back, and Romantic Vision (#11), recent winner of the Grade 3 Locust Grove Stakes at Churchill Downs.
Here’s how I would play the race:
Wagering Strategy on a $10 Budget
$6 to win on #6 Lockdown ($6)
$1 exacta: 6 with 1,11 ($2)
$1 exacta: 1,11 with 6 ($2)
Wagering Strategy on a $20 Budget
$8 to win on #6 Lockdown ($8)
$2 exacta box: 1,6,11 ($12)
Good luck, and enjoy the race!