Equibase Analysis: Rymska, New Money Honey Formidable Pair For Chad Brown In American Oaks

The 16th running of the Grade 1, $300,000 American Oaks Stakes is the last grade 1 stakes of 2017 and it’s a doozy, featuring a field of 10 three-year-old fillies going 10 furlongs on the turf. In terms of credentials, multiple grade 1 stakes winner New Money Honey leads the field, with her last win coming in the Grade 1 Belmont Oaks Invitational at this distance in July. However, New Money Honey has finished fifth and sixth in her two races since that time. Rymska (FR), like New Money Honey, is trained by North American leading trainer Chad Brown. Rymska enters the race off three straight stakes wins including the Grade 3 Commonwealth Oaks but is running this mile and one-quarter distance for the first time. Madam Dancealot (IRE) won the Grade 2 San Clemente Stakes in July and appears to fit at this top level, as does Grade 1 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup runner-up Daddys Lil Darling. Beau Recall (IRE) has yet to win a graded stakes but missed by a nose in the Grade 1 Del Mar Oaks in August and is another that could be competitive. Kathy’s Song and Coachwhip just finished first and second, respectively, in the non-graded Miss America Stakes on the turf and will likely go into the gate at high odds but may have potential to run better than those high odds suggest. Bernina Star, Desert Duchess and Pantsonfire (IRE) round out the field of 10.

Coachwhip will be my top choice in this very deep field. She is the most lightly raced filly in the group with just three races under her belt but she has improved markedly in both the second and third starts of her career. After winning around two turns on grass in her debut, Coachwhip improved to a 93 Equibase Speed Figure with a strong rally to win at the first allowance condition. In her next start, just three weeks ago, Coachwhip rallied from 11th of 14 and five paths wide on the turn to finish second behind the much more experienced Kathy’s Song in the Miss America Stakes, improving to earn a 101 figure. Moved to the barn of Hall-of-Fame trainer Richard Mandella, Coachwhip can take another step forward. There is no question Coachwhip can get the 10 furlong trip as she is a daughter of So You Think, winner of more than $8.6 million and 10 time winner at this distance on grass. If Coachwhip takes another step forward from her last start, the logical 109 – 112 figure she may earn is good enough to win the American Oaks in an upset.

Rymska (FR) and New Money Honey both ship in from New York for Chad Brown, this year’s North American leading trainer with more than $26 million in earnings. Brown has won with 27% of his 538 turf starters to date this year and can add to that number if either of his two excellent fillies emerges with a win here. Rymska is a perfect three-for-three in 2017, with well-spaced wins in February, September and November. Her best effort among the three came with a 104 winning the Commonwealth Oaks at nine furlongs in September. In each of her last three wins, Rymska has put in a big late kick from five or six lengths back on the turn and we can expect her to be passing many if not all of these again in this race. New Money Honey is one of only two fillies in the field to have won at this distance (the other being Daddys Lil Darling) – that win having come in the Belmont Oaks Invitational in July with a career best 109 figure. She has run poorly in her two races since, but one of those (in the Alabama Stakes) was on dirt so can be ignored. However, as the favorite in the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup in October, New Money Honey faded to sixth after being up close in second in the early stages with no apparent excuse. Earlier this year, New Money Honey won the Wonder Again Stakes following a sixth-place finish prior to that so there is hope she can return to the form shown at the distance in the spring to win her second grade 1 stakes of the year.

Madam Dancealot (IRE) finished third in the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup and although no threat to the winner, or even runner-up Daddys Lil Darling, earned a strong 108 figure for the effort. Prior to that, Madame Dancealot earned back-to-back 111 figures, including a win in the San Clemente Stakes, and as such she might be counted on for a furious finish to get into the thick of the action near the wire. Daddys Lil Darling won the Dueling Ground Oaks in September at the distance of a mile and five-sixteenths, a sixteenth of a mile farther than this American Oaks. Daddys Lil Darling then earned a career best 113 figure when second in the Queen Elizabeth II before another close defeat when third, beaten under a length, in the Mrs. Revere Stakes. She is another to be respected as a contender for a piece of the purse. Beau Recall (IRE) missed by a nose in the Del Mar Oaks in August with a career best 111 figure, and although she has finished second four times, winning only once in seven races this year, Beau Recall may be another to consider, at least for exacta and trifecta wagers in this race. Kathy’s Song won the Miss America Stakes a few weeks back with a 107 figure and although her only try in a graded stakes resulted in a non-threatening fifth place finish she might rally for a share as well.

The rest of the field is comprised of Bernina Star (102), Desert Duchess (110) and Pantsonfire (106).

My selections in preference order:
New Money Honey

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