2023 Jenny Wiley Stakes Cheatsheet
By TwinSpires Editorial Team, Sponsored Content
By Vance Hanson (TwinSpires.com)
1. PIZZA BIANCA (20-1) – A Breeders’ Cup winner at two, she didn’t quite thrive last season as her connections undoubtedly expected; indeed, her only victory came at Listed level, and even there she made hard work of making up a huge deficit; third to Regal Glory in the Matriarch (G1) was decent enough, but In Italian is arguably just as good and a tough foe to square off against in her first start off the bench; career best needed.
2. IN ITALIAN (7-5) – If not for European classic winner Tuesday running her down in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf (G1) over this course in November, she likely would have been the reigning champion turf mare coming into this; regardless, she enjoyed a tremendous campaign last season with multiple G1 wins, including one over stablemate Regal Glory, who did end up taking home the Eclipse; can likely chalk up her two losses last term to ground and pace, neither of which should be issues here; these rivals are not pushovers, given she’s coming in off of a layoff, but she does look imposing on paper.
3. QUEEN GODDESS (4-1) – Riding in on a hot streak for relatively new connections after they purchased her for more than $1.5 million in November; she has since led all the way in the Robert J. Frankel (G3) and enjoyed a perfect stalk-and-pounce journey in the Pegasus World Cup Filly and Mare Turf (G3); not competitive in her last trip to Lexington, but that was her stakes debut and over ground considerably softer than what she’ll encounter here; might be up to her toughest task to date.
4. SPEAK OF THE DEVIL (10-1) – Dazzled in beating In Italian in the Churchill Distaff Turf Mile (G2) in her U.S. debut, but recall some horses struggled over that refurbished course; the field was spread out at the finish and the conditions were undoubtedly slower than the official designation of firm; did not come close to replicating that run on dryer ground in either of her next two starts, though must be cut some slack for the Honey Fox (G3) as she entered off of a long layoff; expect her to be somewhat sharper this time, and any give in the ground would help.
5. WITH THE MOONLIGHT (5-2) – Traded decisions with McKulick last summer and then likely found the Lake Placid (G2) too quick of a turnaround (two weeks); enjoyed a good winter in Dubai, winning back-to-back G2s, and like the fact regular rider Buick makes the journey ahead of the British flat season kicking into gear next week; main concern is that this trip might be a bit on the short side for her.
6. SKIMS (20-1) – Like peer Pizza Bianca, she enters having not run since the Dec. 26 American Oaks (G1), in which she encountered some trouble along the way but didn’t have a sufficient kick to get the job done; decent run here last year in the Appalachian (G2), given the quality fillies she was up against, but this field looks even deeper; has class questions to answer, and guessing this distance a touch shorter than she would prefer these days.
7. HENRIETTA TOPHAM (30-1) – Solid run as a longshot in the Fall Harvest S. here over Breeders’ Cup weekend in November; up the track were Shantisara and Dalika, who aren’t slouches; however, from a class perspective, she still looks to be in very tough, especially for her first start of the season; like others, she’ll be at the mercy of a pace set by the much classier In Italian.
8. FREEDOM SPEAKS (20-1) – Hard to argue with perfection on the turf, over which she is 2-for-2, but those were in sprints; with a rallying victory in the Music City S. at Kentucky Downs last fall over Happy Soul and Oeuvre, she would have fit very well in Saturday’s Giant’s Causeway S.; having not run beyond seven furlongs, and ditching the blinkers that have seemingly helped her so far, this spot looks rather demanding.
9. WHITE FROST (8-1) – Hard to knock her form on the grass; even when she’s fallen short, it’s been by very narrow margins in stakes company; career was interrupted for a time by infirmities, but both of her races since the comeback have been strong and she still has plenty of scope for improvement; seemingly handles any type of ground and price will be right, even with Mott/Dettori in her corner.