Although a fantastic evening of graded stakes races at Churchill Downs is the highlight of this weekend’s racing action (and you can read thoughts on those races from James Scully of the TwinSpires blog), I would be remiss if I failed to mention an intriguing race scheduled to be held at Woodbine this afternoon.
The race–the fifth on the card–is a 4 1/2-furlong maiden special weight for Ontario-sired two-year-old fillies. Ten horses have been entered, all of them first-time starters, meaning that handicapping the race will involve analyzing pedigrees and trainer angles.
With this in mind, my attention is drawn to Silent Light and Silent Damsel, a pair of fillies trained by Michael Doyle. If there’s one thing you can count on at Woodbine, it’s that Doyle will send out a couple of two-year-olds to win their debuts during the meet, often at excellent price–in 2016 alone, he sent out Stormy Perfection and Forty’s Sweetheart to win their debuts at odds of 22-1 and 10-1, respectively.
In most cases, Doyle’s promising two-year-olds are ridden by jockey David Moran, which makes Silent Damsel particularly appealing at 20-1 on the morning line. Her sire is Silent Name, a stallion that has enjoyed success siring two-year-old debut winners, and Silent Damsel has posted a solid series of workouts at Woodbine in preparation for this race, including a couple of half-mile works from the starting gate.
Silent Light boasts a solid work tab as well, with workouts dating back to March, though her pedigree might be geared a bit more toward longer distances, and the fact that Moran rides Silent Damsel suggests that Silent Light might be the second choice among the two stablemates despite her 12-1 morning line odds. Still, that’s a big enough price to warrant a play if you believe Doyle is poised to pick up his first longshot debut winner of the summer.
I’ll also put in a good word for Miss G Note, who is 20-1 on the morning line. Trained by John Ross, who has an excellent record with first-time starters (20% wins and a positive ROI according to Brisnet), Miss G Note’s pedigree is geared toward sprints, so it would be no surprise to see her debut with a big run today.
Good luck to all, and enjoy the race!
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