2022 Eatontown Stakes Cheatsheet
By TwinSpires Editorial Team, Sponsored Content

By Vance Hanson (TwinSpires.com)

1. VIGILANTES WAY (7-2) – Horse of the course won this race last season as the mild 7-2 favorite, and this renewal looks similarly competitive; probably in need of a one when returning from an eight-month layoff in the May 30 Miss Liberty S., but nearly won anyway when falling just a neck short, her only setback to date with Lopez in the irons; plenty to like.

2. POR QUE NO (20-1) – Feast or famine type, like Vigilantes Way, was returning from a long layoff in the Miss Liberty; she set a comfortable pace through a half-mile, but sped up in the third quarter and couldn’t sustain the tempo; however, she only missed by 2 1/4 lengths, and is sure to improve; possesses far less back class than most, though, her only stakes win being last summer’s Boiling Springs against fellow three-year-olds; looking elsewhere.

3. STOLEN HOLIDAY (6-1) – Outclassed in the Beaugay (G3) last out, won by a French G1 winner, while third-place finisher returned to win a stakes at Parx; second best in the Sands Springs S. at Gulfstream two back, encountering some trouble at crunch time in upper stretch; has admittedly done her best work as either a closing sprinter or when racing on the lead around two turns; regardless of what strategy she employs here, stablemate Vigilantes Way and others appear to offer stronger claims.

4. ALMS (6-1) – Well-traveled Grade 3 veteran has been a hard horse to figure out, especially this season; ran terrific in the Pegasus World Cup Filly and Mare Turf (G3) behind division leader Regal Glory, but was lethargic leaving the gate in the Honey Fox (G3) and didn’t factor; last time she set a pace that was too strong in the Plenty of Grace S. at Aqueduct and wound up trailing the compact field of four; undoubtedly has the class to factor on her best day, but which Alms is going to show up here?

5. WHIMSICAL MUSE (10-1) – Had the benefit of a prep and getting the jump on Vigilantes Way, but her win in the Miss Liberty was still quite the shocker; her previous two wins had come for tags of $25K and $35K, Breen having haltered her from the latter and exceeding all expectations in her second start for him; not quite convinced that was a true bill, and as noted above the runner-up should come on from that effort; siding elsewhere, though fans should get another double-digit price (albeit a lower one).

6. PRINCESS GRACE (7-2) – Has enjoyed a couple strong seasons for Stidham, including four straight graded wins from late 2020 through last September; unexpectedly led in the Goldikova (G2) two back, which is not her game, and she was found wanting late; favored again in the Matriarch (G1), she got the stalking trip she likely wanted but encountered some trouble and proved no match for Regal Glory, who has since gone on to become one of the nation’s best turf mares; proved last summer she can fire fresh and is an obvious danger.

7. LEMISTA (4-1) – Has seen relatively limited competition since her importation and has a mixed record; third best in last summer’s Beverly D. (G1) behind two very talented mares, but was not seen again until the Beaugay last month, in which the layoff, pace, and quality of opposition appeared to be against her; certainly has sufficient back class to contend with a step forward second off the bench, though career record suggests she might appreciate ground with a little more moisture in it than she’ll probably get.

8. FLUFFY SOCKS (3-1) – Multiple graded winner took a step forward off her upset loss in a Keeneland allowance, handling a Churchill turf many could not with a half-length second in the Modesty (G3); only her undefeated stablemate, Bleecker Street, who has since won the New York (G1), proved better in that spot; that piece of form and others on her sheet are obviously strong, and Brown has been winning stakes in this division left and right all season, though interesting to note he’d been shut out (0-for-8) at the Monmouth meet going into Friday’s card; logical threat, but seemingly beatable as the potential favorite.