by Dick Powell
If you had to choose a stakes race this weekend to bet on, you could not do better than Saturday’s Dogwood Stakes going seven furlongs on the main track at Churchill Downs. With 11 sophomore fillies entered, there are no standouts and it should be anybody’s race.
In 44 seven-furlong dirt sprints run here the Churchill spring meet, there was a 70 percent speed bias, so you don’t want to be too far behind. Winning post positions provide no real advantage – outside is as good as inside – but the rail does win at a 23 percent rate.
MISS MIMOSA (#5) (8-1 ML) looked good when she broke her maiden by five lengths in her career debut going six furlongs at Gulfstream Park back in March. She raced wide and did little when stretched out to two turns at Keeneland but bounced back some at Belmont Park last out going a one-turn mile where she missed by a neck after being shuffled back from post 1.
Following a brief rest, she chased the speed on opening day at Saratoga, which was heavily speed-biased, and weakened late as the 8-5 favorite. Last out, trainer Bill Mott stretched her out to nine furlongs at the Spa and she was a sharp winner. Since then, the daughter of Violence has trained extremely well on Saratoga’s Oklahoma training track and she draws perfectly for a stalking trip in the Dogwood.
DEVINE MISCHIEF (#6) (4-1) has a win over course and distance back in May when she held on after setting a demanding pace. She raced evenly next out in the $150,000 Jersey Girl Stakes and was a distant second, then won at Charles Town last out going two turns as she zipped around the bullring there.
Trainer Joe Sharp’s barn has been red hot and he goes back to Adam Beschizza, who rode Devine Mischief to her maiden win at Fair Grounds second time out back in March.
FIGARELLA’S QUEEN (#1) (3-1) had been racing well on the turf then was privately purchased and turned over to trainer Brad Cox. She tired badly in the Edgewood Stakes (G3) over Churchill’s grass and switched to the dirt, where she won going two turns under the Twin Spires. That led to a good second in the Indiana Oaks (G3), and Cox took a chance in the 10-furlong Alabama Stakes (G1), but she was eased after plummeting through the field.
Now, Figarella’s Queen goes back to dirt sprinting for the first time since finishing third in her career debut and, considering how well post 1 does at this distance, she could sit the pocket and use the long homestretch to her advantage.
JEAN ELIZABETH (#4) (5-1) is a stone-cold speedball coming in from Arlington Park for Larry Rivelli. Yes, she loves the synthetic track there but she is two-for-two on dirt and James Graham figures to try to steal this on the front end. Seven furlongs might be pushing her distance limitations but the gray miss held well to be second in the Purple Violet Stakes in her lone try going a one-turn mile. Rivelli is as dangerous a shipping trainer (26 percent) as there is, and the Arlington form holds up despite their smallish purses.
With an 8-1 top choice in MISS MIMOSA, we will play her to win and place, then spread out. The play is the win and place bet, and I have to respect the rest of the field and how balanced it is. If I am right, I make money so at least 60 percent of my bet will be on the win/place.
Exacta Key Box #5 with #6, #1, #4