2023 Pippin Stakes Cheatsheet
By TwinSpires Editorial Team, Sponsored Content

By Vance Hanson (TwinSpires.com)

1. TRAVERSE (8-1) – Claiborne homebred has seemingly had to deal with a number of issues in a sporadic career, but has begun living up to her potential since moving to the dirt; solid allowance win at Churchill last time off of a five-month layoff, though received a nice pace setup and the field arguably wasn’t much; note third-placed Sunny Isle Beach belatedly passed her N1X condition here last month…in her 30th lifetime start; this one not without further upside, but 8-1 seems too low on a filly who’s never faced a field like this before.

2. LE DA VIDA (2-1) – Did not produce her best form in the slop against several of these last time, but note it was her first try in such conditions either in the U.S. or back home in Chile; likeable here if able to reproduce her best fast-track Kentucky form and the potentially quicker pace scenario in this spot, though would certainly hold out for a better price than the early ML as she arguably still has something to prove at this level.

3. LOVELY RIDE (3-1) – Although she set a slightly faster pace in the Dec. 10 Mistletoe S. than she had in the same race 12 months earlier, she wasn’t pressured as much and snuck away to a nice win, with the sloppy conditions perhaps also playing a key role; this race has attracted significantly more speed, so this might prove a sterner test; price will undoubtedly be lower this time, too, especially given how well Diodoro barn has been going this meet.

4. FAMILY TIME (20-1) – Allowance class at Remington, but recent evidence suggests she’d be a stronger fit in a high-end claimer on this better circuit; tough to make a strong case for her, especially after getting drubbed in a stakes at the Oklahoma City track against a softer crew.

5. ICE ORCHID (12-1) – Speed figures don’t quite stack up on paper, but she’s lightly raced and her best is seemingly yet to come; her two-turn form is much better than her one-turn, and that includes a distant second to Secret Oath here last winter and an allowance win at Keeneland two back in which she got no help at all pace-wise; figures to get a lot more to run at this time and could outrun expectations here.

6. GRAYSONMACHO GAL (15-1) – One of several speed elements in the field, so seems iffy she can sneak out to an uncontested lead and have a good shot at stealing, as she almost did last summer in the Iowa Distaff; form has been generally hit or miss for a while at lower levels, and note she made little impression in this event two years ago, albeit as a big longshot.

7. COACH (7-2) – Won this race convincingly last year in the slop over two next-out winners, though one, Miss Bigly, turned the tables on her in the Bayakoa (G3); something probably not quite right with her after the latter event as she was out of action awhile, but has done well in two of three starts since returning; seemingly at a pace disadvantage futilely chasing Lovely Ride in the Mistletoe, and additional pressure on that one might be beneficial to her; obviously moves up if she gets a wet surface, but potential underlay if the footing remains dry.

8. MISTY VEIL (15-1) – Recent downturn in form coincided with less aggressive early tactics, so she needs to be more forwardly placed for best effect; Maker has a history of moving up horses off the claim, most notably turf marathoners in recent years, but has work to do on a mare who showed limited prowess at this level from a small sample last term; at the least, she might ensure an honest pace if she can be hustled to get involved early.

9. WILL’S SECRET (10-1) – Has enjoyed her greatest successes over this track, winning the 2021 editions of the Martha Washington S. and Honeybee (G3); simply didn’t prove a G1 type during the rest of her three-year-old campaign, and spent most of her four-year-old year grinding her way through her third allowance condition; although she suffered her first ever Hot Springs loss in the Mistletoe, perhaps at a disadvantage due to the pace and sloppy conditions; offers some appeal if at or near this ML price.

10. FOREVER DREAMING (20-1) – Historically speaking, Lukas often aggressive in spotting his horses in stakes; this is good example as the mare remains eligible for her second allowance condition, was last seen four months winning against $32,000 claimers, and fared poorly in two previous starts on dirt; some encouraging works during the last couple months of 2022, but this looks on paper to be too difficult an assignment.