The big Grade 1 action this weekend comes from Los Alamitos, as contenders on the Road to the Kentucky Oaks will be in action. Fillies aged two will battle over 1 1/16 miles, with a purse of $300,000 available in California. Bob Baffert and D. Wayne Lukas are the most dominant trainers in this race, with both having won on eight previous occasions. Baffert has also claimed wins in each of the previous five editions.

(6) Pride of the Nile – 9/2

Pride of the Nile is a very interesting runner for Doug O’Neil this weekend, with this two-year-old having landed victories in each of her previous two starts. She has already shown versatility, with her wins being recorded at Santa Anita and Del Mar.

The latest of those came over a mile at the latter in an allowance optional claimer on the turf, reaching a career-high speed figure of 89. She is tested on the dirt for the first time this weekend, and it could be the making of her.

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(1) Doinitthehardway – 15/2

So often, with Baffert horses, you are drawn to the contender that dominates the betting, which could mean that there could be value elsewhere. This weekend, Doinitthehardway could be the value angle for many. She is yet to break her maiden, but she has been very competitive across all three starts that she has made.

She is yet to finish outside the first three, with her previous effort at Del Mar being the first start that she has made over a mile. On that occasion, she was beaten by Ice Dancing, but a mighty speed figure of 99 was recorded on that effort. This weekend she will face a slightly different test, as the fact that she starts from stall one would be the big concern.

(3) Faiza – 13/8

The market has been impacted over the past couple of days, as Baffert’s Faiza was supplemented for this race. The fact that this has happened has meant that a lot of support has come in for this two-year-old. She will be the ride of Flavien Prat on Saturday, and we have only seen her on one previous occasion.

Her only career start came at Del Mar last month, as she won a maiden special weight over six furlongs in 1:09.28 to reach a speed rating of 84. Certainly, there is a lot to like about this contender, but the fact that others have more experience, and she is so short means that I would be willing to look elsewhere for a winner.

Starlet Stakes Pick: (7) Blessed Touch – 3/1

I think Blessed Touch may be the best betting angle for the Starlet this weekend. Trained by Tim Yakteen, she is firmly in the picture for a run in the Oaks next year, and she has done little wrong over her previous two starts.

She broke her maiden with a fine display over six furlongs at Santa Anita, scoring a speed figure of 90. She was stepped up in class after that success and managed to finish a very decent second behind the incredibly talented Justique in the Desi Arnaz Stakes. The fact that Drayden Van Dyke takes the ride this weekend is another plus, as the jockey has won four of the previous five renewals of the race.

 


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