2022 Derby City Distaff Cheatsheet
By TwinSpires Editorial Team, Sponsored Content

By Vance Hanson (TwinSpires.com)

1. LADY ROCKET (5-1) – SCRATCHEDMassive win in the Go for Wand H. (G3) last December against a modest field the career highlight thus far; didn’t quite have the same pizazz in the Madison (G1), though she did help set things up for winning stablemate Just One Time; she figures sharper second off the bench, but will have other speed to contend with again, especially Edgeway; turning back those rivals and all the quality closers might be a tall task; backers should demand a lot more than 5-1 in this spot.

2. JUST ONE TIME (3-1) – The “now” filly in the field has transformed from a speedster in the Penn-bred ranks to deadly closer in the upper echelons of the female sprint division; bettors have been wise to it throughout, favoring her in both the Inside Information (G2) and Madison, for which she’s obliged; once-beaten four-year-old the likely public choice here, too, but does concede experience over the surface to fellow closers Bell’s the One and Obligatory, and like them needs the pace to be an honest one; logical, though value will lie elsewhere.

3. CENTER AISLE (15-1) – She was basically finished at the start of the Madison when off awkwardly and unable to flash early zip; she broke badly in the Sugar Swirl (G3) two back also, but was able to overcome it; although you can draw line through her latest, there’s not a whole lot on the record to suggest she’s up to beating the cream of the division, especially if her starting troubles continue.

4. KIMARI (9-2) – Haven’t seen a whole lot from this multi-surface talent since winning the Madison in April 2021; the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1) was a virtually impossible task following a seven-month layoff while facing other-worldly stablemate Golden Pal; won allowance comeback easily enough, albeit in modest time, and didn’t have the kick to withstand the closers in her Madison title defense in conditions he excelled over previously; are her best days behind her?

5. OBLIGATORY (7-2) – A star of last year’s Kentucky Oaks Day program when she benefited from a pace meltdown in the Eight Belles (G2); wasn’t so fortunate in the Acorn (G1) when falling short, and then went into a bit of a slump before reviving her fortunes against older rivals here in the one-mile Chilukki (G3); fondness for the track and relative youth mark her as a danger against the older gals, and the faster the pace Edgeway and others cut out the better.

6. BELL’S THE ONE (5-1) – She might not always get there with her patented late surge, but this veteran is almost always dependable in making a run; the one blip on her local (8-4-3-0) mark was in last year’s edition, when the opening half-mile wasn’t all that hot, but expecting the pace to be more to her liking here; won the pandemic-delayed renewal of this event in September 2020 in a thriller, and should be much sharper following season-opening second in the Madison, a race that has eluded her so far; top player.

7. EDGEWAY (4-1) – California shipper is a gem of consistency; aside from one poor run at Los Alamitos last summer, in which she was away slow, she’s always been up front or thereabouts; best try by far was in the Breeders’ Cup last fall, when she split the champions Ce Ce and Gamine; subsequently won a couple stakes in facile fashion, but the waters are definitely deeper here; ran well in her only prior local start, and looks the one to catch.

8. FOUR GRACES (15-1) – Made no impact against these in the Madison, perhaps in part a function of her not being a fan of the footing; more likely, she’s simply a cut or two below these; her career got off to a flying start during the pandemic summer of 2020, but after a poor run in the Raven Run (G2) that fall she made only one start over the next 13 months; showed a little bit of the old spark at Gulfstream over the winter, but going on two years since her last victory; tough to endorse for all.