- Road to the Kentucky Derby
- Racing & Wagering
Fields set for Valdale, Island Fashion
HARLAN'S RUBY (Harlan's Holiday), the runner-up in the Alcibiades S. (G1) two starts back at Keeneland, will revert to Polytrack for her three-year-old debut in Saturday's $50,000 Valdale S. at Turfway Park. Only eighth when last seen in the November 5 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) on the dirt at Churchill Downs, the Ken McPeek trainee figures to enjoy the surface switch.
While the Valdale also offers some class relief compared to her past two, it still features a few solid rivals with the advantage of recent races over the track. ANGELICA ZAPATA (Sharp Humor) comes off a 5 1/2-length rout in the January 22 Cincinnati Trophy S. sprinting 6 1/2 furlongs, but will stretch out to two turns for the first time in this one-mile test. GOLDEN PHOENIX (Suave), runner-up in both the Cincinnati Trophy and the December 26 Gowell S., could profit from the added distance.
JELLY CABLE (Sky Mesa), TOUCH SCREEN (Bandini) and KITTEN'S DANCER (Kitten's Joy) recently broke their maidens at this track and trip, and last-out graduate MAEGANS PRINCESSES (Yankee Gentleman) ships in from Fair Grounds for Steve Margolis.
The Valdale is a stepping stone to the March 26 Bourbonette Oaks (G3) at the same one-mile distance.
On Sunday at Sunland Park, the $50,000 Island Fashion S. serves as the major local prep for the March 27 Sunland Park Oaks. ANGEL AT HOME (Seeking a Home), who just got up in time over PALOMA MESA (Sky Mesa) in the 6 1/2-furlong El Paso Times S. last time out, gets extra ground to work with in the one-mile affair.
But another El Paso Times alumna, TEXAS TEMPEST (Bernardini), is eligible to turn the tables. A half-sister to Grade 1 winner Purge (Pulpit), the Steve Asmussen trainee bobbled at the start and was steadied, yet was still only beaten a total of 2 1/4 lengths when last of six. Texas Tempest was also cutting back in trip that day off a pair of strong runs at a mile, and should relish stepping back up in this spot.
Others worthy of consideration are WinStar Farm's homebred MYTHICAL BRIDE (Street Cry [Ire]), who hikes right into stakes company off a promising second in her career debut sprinting, and the New Mexico-bred HIGHSPEED RESCUE (Union Mills), a 3 1/2-length heroine of the Enchantress S. two back at this track and trip.