2023 The Very One Stakes Cheatsheet
By TwinSpires Editorial Team, Sponsored Content

By Vance Hanson (TwinSpires.com)

1. LIBRETTO (30-1) – Hard to understand the logic of entering this seven-start maiden, who’s placed in only one of those attempts, in a race of this caliber; every principle of handicapping says she’s an automatic toss.

2. BESIDE HERSELF (8-1) – Pletcher trainee usually finds herself on or near the lead, but her stamina at graded stakes level has so far left something to be desired; her smallest margin of defeat at this level was three lengths, in the Jockey Club Oaks (G3) last fall, and that was against fellow three-year-olds; has disappointed at miserly odds in several outings since, and this field is one of the toughest she’s faced yet.

3. LADY ROCKSTAR (7-2) – Both prior starts at the meeting, placings in the Suwannee River (G3) and Pegasus World Cup Filly and Mare Turf (G3), were solid efforts, given both were at distances shorter than she likely prefers; although this represents her longest test to date, it’s not a huge stretch from the 9-10 furlongs she was successful at twice last season; perhaps a tough light still from a class perspective, but logical fodder for the vertical exotics at the very least.

4. MYLADY (8-1) – Placed in both filly classics in Germany last season, narrowly losing both, and was only beaten a shade over three lengths in the German Derby (G1) against the boys; don’t think we saw her to best effect in the E.P. Taylor (G1), where she encountered interference at the start and failed to settle as nicely as she had in the German Oaks (G1) one prior; think she’d prefer making one move from behind, if she can work out such a trip; perhaps one that will come on later with additional U.S. experience, but can’t dismiss possibility of Brown striking at a price this time.

5. BROADWAY BOOGIE (20-1) – Has dazzled in a pair of long-distance overnight events, and not surprising high-class connections think now is the time to seek out some black type with this filly, who’s lightly-raced by comparison; guessing the pace will be honest enough, much more so than the pedestrian circumstances she found herself behind at Aqueduct two back, but inexperience at this level likely relegates her to the lower rungs of the exotics at best.

6. TRANSIENT (6-1) – A solid record so far since joining the Saffie Joseph barn, especially on the turf; effort in the La Prevoyante (G3) was particularly strong, as she found only the highly promising Personal Best too good, and that by only a small margin after Gaffalione was forced to hand encourage her after losing the crop in mid-stretch; has turned in a couple maintenance works since, and looms a top-three contender again.

7. HIGHER TRUTH (5-1) – One of the more capable and unlucky three-year-old turf fillies in 2021, when she missed in four consecutive graded stakes by less than a length, several to stablemates in the Chad Brown barn; sidelined for pretty much all of her four-year-old campaign, though she did manage to squeeze in a facile win against N2X foes last July over this distance at Belmont; surely a legitimate threat if she can produce anything close to her best off such a long spell, but caution advisable if price dips too low.

8. ENSEMBLE (8-1) – The second of two from the Walsh barn enters off a blowout win against entry-level allowance foes, albeit one transferred from turf to Tapeta; that appears to be her preferred surface, as she’s 0-for-9 over the grass with only four placings; perhaps has found her sweet spot at these longer distances, but still taking a cautious view as she returns to turf and takes a significant class hike.

9. FLYING FORTRESS (20-1) – Arguably ran to the betting public’s expectations in both prior stakes appearances, and this will be her most difficult test yet from a class perspective; despite her gate-to-wire allowance score at Colonial Downs three back, she’s been less consistent since adopting that style, compared to her closing tactics she had earlier in her career; perhaps would be more effective with a re-adoption of the latter as there appears to be plenty of others with some early foot; regardless, improvement needed.

10. VIRGINIA JOY (5-2) – Her non-effort in the Breeders’ Cup was easily her worst since coming to the U.S., and looks like a tossout; otherwise, she appears to have all the tools to make a serious run at defending her title in this race, which she won last season by a length from off the pace; her later wins were decidedly different, both achieved in wire-to-wire fashion, including an upset of War Like Goddess in the Flower Bowl (G2); her versatility is an asset, though she can be enigmatic at times and thus might not be the most attractive wagering prospect at odds likely to be much shorter than her ML.