2023 Tom Benson Memorial Cheatsheet
By TwinSpires Editorial Team, Sponsored Content

By Vance Hanson (TwinSpires.com)

1. ADVENTURING (2-1) – Couldn’t quite see out the mile and half against a highly promising Personal Best after carving out the pace in the La Prevoyante (G3), but it was a sharp try nonetheless after a two-month spell; a generally honest sort who’s thrown clunkers only at Turfway and Pimlico of late, she fits well from a class perspective and should be well positioned among the leading players to get one of the first runs on the speed; suspect backers will get a more generous price than the 2-1 ML would suggest.

2. NEW BOSS (12-1) – Has spent much of her career sprinting on the turf, to no great effect, but last couple tries routing produced good performances in stakes both here and at Churchill Downs; however, both of those races were two seasons ago, and she’d probably have to pair up career bests to have a chance at hitting the frame here after an upset second to Oeuvre in the Mardi Gras S.

3. TRAIL RIDGE ROAD (12-1) – Received some backing in the Albert Stall Memorial, which was her first open stakes appearance, but simply couldn’t produce a kick sufficient enough to get the job done after chasing a modest pace; although the fractions could be a little livelier here, she has the look of a filly that might be a slight cut below, especially with a few graded types entering this picture.

4. ISLAND HIDEAWAY (15-1) – Has not been able to transfer that fine Remington form over to Fair Grounds this winter; indeed, she’s never placed in four tries over this surface, and this race has a lot more depth to it than either the Blushing K. D. or the Albert Stall Memorial; would be a bit of a surprise.

5. GATHER AS YOU GO (20-1) – Speedy mare has won all three of her two-turn grass appearances, while her only setback on the lawn came in an overnight handicap sprint when she wasn’t quite quick enough to keep pace; that’s as close to a stakes-quality race as she’s competed in so far, and obviously it left much to be desired; tough spot to be thrown into after narrowly beating a modest N2X field at Tampa.

6. DIDIA (3-1) – A multiple Group 1 winner in her native Argentina, she immediately found the winner’s circle in her first couple U.S. appearances last summer at Colonial, including the Old Nelson S. in which she edged Alms, In a Hurry, and returning rival She Can’t Sing, all of whom are Listed/G3 types; the sky remains the limit for this lightly-raced mare, who is 6-for-9 and might be using this as a lead-in to the Churchill Distaff Turf Mile (G2); beware.

7. TROBAIRITZ (12-1) – Versatile as far as surface in the unlikely event this is moved to the main track, she’s performed well over this course in the past and wasn’t too far adrift of New Year’s Eve when that rival broke her maiden here at the last meet; the downside is that she’s appeared more allowance class than a stakes type so far.

8. SHE CAN’T SING (9-2) – Multi-surface talent is coming into this race a bit under the radar, but really shouldn’t considering she won this at 9-1 last year; that was her second consecutive stakes upset over this course, and she figures to be even sharper here second off the bench following a fine third over the mud in the Houston Ladies Classic (G3); although no match for Didia when they last met, this one was really below par on that occasion at Colonial; consider.

9. NEW YEAR’S EVE (5-1) – Upset winner of the Edgewood (G2) last spring over the classy McKulick, but recall that was over the newly installed Churchill turf that endured some growing pains and was not to the liking of a lot of horses; she couldn’t reproduce that effort in three subsequent tries, though best to cut her a little slack for her last two when she didn’t get much help in the way of an honest pace; things should be a different here as far as that goes, and she’s obviously fond of this course, though she lacks prior experience facing older rivals.

10. RUSSIAN MAFIA (20-1) – Although she captured a minor stake at Hawthorne last summer at a big price, note this seven-year-old mare has been eligible to be claimed for much of the past year; unplaced in seven of her past eight starts, she appears to be in rather deep here for a barn that has been cool this meet.