The Ogden Phipps Handicap – Grade I — $300,000 – 1 1/16 miles – Fillies and mares –by Brian Nadeau
Formerly known as the Hempstead Handicap, the Phipps has for years been one of the most important stops on the calendar for the best females in training. Run at a one-turn 1 1/16-mile distance, it often pits some of the best sprinter/milers with some true two-turn stars. Some of the best filly/mares of the past few decade have won the Phipps, so let’s see who can join the likes of Sky Beauty, Heavenly Prize, Serena’s Song, Beautiful Pleasure, Sightseek and Ashado.
My Dinah: Honest state-bred will look to secure some black-type in this tough spot but it appears she might be biting off a bit more than she can chew. The good news is that she’s got enough speed to be up close early, but with some other talented gals signed on, it’s tough to envision her being around late.
Seattle Smooth: The logical alternative to Sheikh Mohammed’s powerful threesome has done little wrong in her 12-race career and with six wins to her credit, you know she likes to give her all. She looked good winning the Shuvee over the track last month, and if it weren’t for some clever race riding by Jose Lezcano, she would have won more comfortably. She’s an impressive 4-for-6 at the distance, though it’s worth noting all of those wins came around two turns. Look for her to stalk Seventh Street early and then try to get the jump on Music Note and Sea Chanter late. Formidable, especially if Music Note is a bit rusty off the bench.
Seventh Street: Went to the lead and forgot to stop in the Apple Blossom, which was hardly surprising after she set tepid splits. Now she cuts back to one-turn, which should be of no bother, and should also be able to control the tempo up front. It’s a shame she’s coupled with Music Note and Sea Chanter because on her own, she rates a long look at what would be a decent price. Well, now you get about 1-5 on this classy gal who looks tough to deny on the engine.
Color Me Up: So that’s why D. Wayne leads them over when it looks like they have no chance. Miss ran huge to just miss behind Seattle Smooth in the Shuvee but now has the dreaded bounce to deal with. But a deeper look suggests that just maybe this one-turn game was what she’s been looking for all along. If you think the last will become the rule rather than the exception, you’ll get one heck of a price on a horse that might be getting good at just the right time.
Nicksappealinglady: Looks like the Contessa barn got a knock from the racing office early Thursday morning as without this gal there would be only four betting entries. At least she comes in off a career-best, which was also her first start in Gary’s barn, but even so she looks like a huge outsider in here. Stranger things have happened, but they won’t today.
Music Note: Nice to see her back after a sensational sophomore season and you have to believe a bigger and meaner 4-year-old filly will be on display, which only adds depth to an already solid division. But even though this is a Grade I, even though she acts like she owns this place, and even though she was faster than all of these as an itty-bitty 3-year-old, would it really be prudent to have her cranked to win this off almost an eighth-month layoff? Probably not. At least you get Seventh Street and possibly even Sea Chanter as more than capable backups. If she were alone on the tote, it would probably be the best time all spring/summer to try and beat her, but with a couple of friends on her ticket, it looks hard to keep this number out of the winner’s circle.
Sea Chanter: Velazquez replaces Lezcano, which is a bit sad as Lezcano gave a remarkable ride last-out while trying to keep heavily favored Seattle Smooth mired down inside and in traffic. But, even with that ride this gal still couldn’t post the upset, so with her entrymates signed on and ‘Smooth back for more, it’s highly probable that the powers that be are just hoping for a little Grade I placing to add to her catalogue page.