, , , , . It will be a battle of the female giants as Shedaresthedevil , , . (*_ There are eight mares older than Shedaresthedevil who have been entered to Saturday’s Grade II Azeri at Oaklawn Park.
Ce Ce is the champion of the two, but Shedaresthedevil is more accomplished around two turns and might hold a slight edge in the 1 1/16-mile Azeri.
This is the race in which the Brad Cox-trained daughter, Daredevil, defeated Letruska last year.
The Kentucky Oaks winner of 2020 has won 9-of-17 overall, but will be making her first start since a losing effort in last fall’s Breeders’ Cup Distaff.
While Shedaresthedevil lost her title hopes last year at the Breeders Cup, Ce Ce was able to shine in the Breeders Cup Filly and Mare Sprint.
The victory earned her an Eclipse Award for the best female sprinter in the country. She is coming off second place in Grade 2 Santa Monica, so she will have the benefit of racing this year. She also has good experience at the trip, having captured the Grade 1 Apple Blossom at Oaklawn back in 2020.
If you’re looking for an alternative, Pauline’s Pearl might be one option. Tapit’s 4-year-old daughter is bringing the Azeri after a winning streak of two races. She won the Grade 3 Houston Ladies Classic with impressive style. Last year’s Grade 3 Fantasy win at Oaklawn Park is one of her three career stakes victories.
Azeri Stakes Race Analysis
This daughter of Daredevil has been one of the best female dirt runners in the nation the last couple of years.
She is consistent and puts in strong performances every race, even when she’s not at the lead. She was even able to finish midpack in the Breeders Cup, despite the suicide-prone early sections of the race.
She won the race last year after a four month layoff.
This time she’ll have to contend with a lot of speed early on and some very strong mares that can rally. Although she is a strong threat again to win, I believe the pace situation suits her better than her main rival.
With the correct race setup, this daughter from Elusive Quality has been a Grade 1 performer.
She was able to keep up the fast pace during the Breeders Cup Filly and Mare Sprint. This result earned her the Eclipse Award. She is faster at 7 furlongs, which I prefer to her at 8 1/2. However, if there are contested paces, she should be able to rally at 2 turns.
She proved it two years ago at Oaklawn when she defeated an impressive field in the Grade 1-A Apple Blossom.
With a season of preparation under her belt she will be ready for another great effort. Although Shedaresthedevil can be a formidable foe, Ce Ce should have a better race. This is her top choice.
Pauline’s pearl This regally-bred, Tapit-trained daughter will have her second chance against top females.
Last year she competed early but was eliminated from contention at the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks. She has a 7-3-3-1 record in seven stakes attempts, with two consecutive wins.
She is also proven at Oaklawn Park, where she won Grade 3 Fantasy last April. Although she looks a bit below the top two, her last race was her most successful. Her ability to pass horses makes her very dangerous on the stretch. Although I dislike the weight assignment she is the best threat to favorites.
Super Fast This daughter of SuperSaver is a winner. She started her career 0-for-5.
Coming off a 5 1/2 -length win in a Churchill Downs allowance race to close out her 3-year-old season four months ago, she now will graduate to stakes company to begin the 2022 season. Although she has certainly earned the chance to compete in stakes, I worry about her victories on tracks.
She also contributes to an already contested pace. These two questions are why I can’t back her, but they make her a strong contender for the title.
This one beat Pauline’s Pearl last fall in the Grade 3 Remington Park Oaks, but couldn’t handle her the following race.
A 4-year-old daughter to Bernardini, she has a lot of speed and is well trained. I think that she’ll be ready to race early.
Although she has only seven races in her career, it is possible that she will be even more competitive at 4. However, this season’s debut could prove difficult. It’s an excellent filly. However, there is plenty of speed here so she won’t be at my ticket on Saturday.
Ava’s Grace This lightly-raced daughter of Laoban makes a good wildcard for the Azeri. She is qualified to improve her performance on Saturday, despite only six lifetime races. It will be a necessity, since her race in the return leaves much to be desired.
The allowance sprint in which she fell to fourth should make her better prepared, but it’s still a big leap to think she could defeat Ce Ce and Shedaresthedevil. She’s All Wolfe
While some will consider her as a longshot, others can point out her finish in the Fantasy as the runner-up to Pauline’s Pearl. I prefer other horses.
She’s All Wolfe This Oklahoma-bred mare is used to running most of her races in Oklahoma, where she has been a multiple stakes winner.
This test is likely to be her most difficult. She has never been successful in Oaklawn Park before.
But, on the plus side, she put in an impressive effort when she finished second in Grade 3 Bayakoa.
With a strong early pace, it is possible that she will again be able to rally for a share. This one is much harder than the others, and anything less would surprise.
Golden Curl This 6-year-old Curlin daughter has been competing against lower horses for most of her life, although she has enjoyed some recent stakes successes.
Her second place finish behind Pauline’s Pearl last time was her most impressive race, however she is still far from being a contender here. It’s difficult for me to imagine a situation where she would be in contention, given her speed and the race with a lot of pace early.
The other Davis longshot has done most of her running on the grass, but does have a romping win on the main track three starts back.
That was against much, far less expensive horses.
I don’t see any reason for her to be backed against such a tough field. She has the lowest class mare and finished eighth in an eligible stakes race.
How to watch the Azeri Stakes
Azeri Stakes Race Information What Azeri Stakes (Grade 2) Location Oaklawn Park Time Saturday, March 12 — 6: 10pm Eastern time How to Watch TVG Purse $350,000