The fillies and mares tackle the turf on Saturday afternoon in the Jenny Wiley Stakes at Keeneland. With a purse of $350,000 up for grabs, this thoroughbred event which is usually held in April is one of the highlights of the weekend and will be competed over 1 mile 1/16.
Graham Motion’s thoroughbred made a terrific start to 2020 with a victory in the G3 Mint Julep at Churchill Downs. Although she didn’t settle in Ontario, she does have winning form in G2 events and is likely to be finishing strongly on Saturday. She’s also been victorious at this distance, and with consistent beyer speed figures in the mid-90s, Secret Message is likely to be heavily involved.
British-bred Juliet Foxtrot was behind Secret Message in the aforementioned Mint Julep. However, she ended 2019 in fantastic form, and went close in consecutive G1 events. With three figure beyers here at Keeneland in the First Lady Stakes, and in the Matriarch at Del Mar, she should feature prominently in this one. She relies on early speed, and will be looking to blast out of the stalls and having got her seasonal opener under her belt, she should be stronger this time around.
Brendan Walsh’s French-bred mare was a head behind Secret Message at the end of May, and will be aiming to turn the tables on her rival today. Having also gone close in the Very One Stakes (despite breaking poorly) at Gulfstream Park, she is usually very reliable at G3 level, but this may be asking too much.
Last year’s Jenny Wiley winner returns to defend her crown and she will once again rely upon tactical speed. This multiple G1 winner looked good in the G3 Beaugay at the beginning of June, and having got off the mark for the season, she should be even better this time around. Although she has entered the winner’s enclosure on multiple occasions over the last 18 months, she did finish behind Juliet Foxtrot in the Fast Lady and it could be another fascinating battle between the pair.
Tim Yakteen’s charge is having her third start of 2020, and has looked sharp in both of her recent appearances. She finished narrowly behind Keeper of the Stars at Santa Anita, and wasn’t beaten far in the American Oaks either. She didn’t get an ideal run in either of those two events, and with a clear passage, she could be a real threat in this one.
Richard Mandella’s thoroughbred has only had three starts in North America and has clocked up victories in both G2 and G3 company. All three of those appearances have been at Santa Anita, so she’s tackling a new track today. She’s also trying this trip for the first time, and is yet to go beyond the mile. She has plenty of talent and is likely to front run, however, she may not stick this one out.
Altea is all about the late pace, and her lack of early speed has counted against her on multiple occasions during her career. She regularly picks up the place money, and was only a length behind Secret Message and La Signare in the Mint Julep. However, for win purposes, she’s hard to trust.
Neil Drysdale’s Toinette overcame a 202 day layoff to land the G3 Wilshire at Santa Anita last month, and she should be fitter for that outing. Her numbers are extremely consistent and she’s 2 from 2 at the distance and 1 from 1 at Keeneland. It’s hard to argue with those stats and she could be underrated in this G1 event.
Free Betting Pick
With a mixture of early and late pace in this year’s Jenny Wiley, it may be best to look for tactical speed and last year’s winner Rushing Fall appears to fit the bill. The multiple G1 winner looked fantastic on the Belmont turf last time out, and could be even stronger in this event. Secret Message, Toinette and Juliet Foxtrot should fight it out for the minors.
Spooky Express Free Picks – Rushing Fall
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