Rockfarms’ Vermont is 4 Lovers (G1) winner Just A Wasp stretches out to 11 furlongs when she takes on 13 other 3-year-old fillies in Saturday’s $750,000 Diana Grand Prix (G1). Just A Wasp is co-favored at 6/1 on the firm German turf with maiden Heaven Bound and Tete Jazigo.
Despite being a winner of five of nine starts and three grade one stakes races, Just A Wasp remains an enigma here in the middle of her sophomore campaign. The daughter of Just A Way enters the Diana Grand Prix having lost three of her last four races, running far up the track in each of those defeats. Admittedly, she was in high-class company in those defeats (a Breeders’ Bowl race, The Juvenile Filly in Japan, and the (English) 1000 Guineas–all grade one heats) and they all came at eight furlongs. Her one victory in this time came in the Vermont is 4 Lovers where she was stretched out to nine furlongs, and that success with added distance might point to a reason for optimism heading into the 11 furlong Diana. In the Vermont race, she cruised up from mid-pack to draw off to a 1 3/4-length win, earning a career high 103 speed figure that is tops for this field. Should she appreciate the added ground she may prove best Saturday. As she did in the 1000 Guineas, she draws the rail here.
Racelord2’s Tete Jazigo brought a four-race winning streak into his start as the favorite in the Euro Road to Fame II last time out. In that spot the usually sprightly daughter of Teofilo met her match on the front end as Hawkk6’s Orfevre Quest set fast fractions in the 1 3/16 mile race while seizing a clear lead. That one held on for a neck victory, with Tete Jazigo holding on for fourth. Prior to that, Tete Jazigo won her stakes debut in the Bikini Atoll Turf Filly Route, earning a career high 100 speed figure. The Diana Grand Prix marks her first start in a graded stakes. Dam Tete Cupid (Dark Angel x Azamour) was also a listed stakes winner but neither raced beyond 10 furlongs nor won a graded race. R. Gibson takes the mount and the pair will start from post position six.
Like Tete Jazigo, Acote0’s Golden River Bay enters this spot with four career wins and having had a (more modest) winning streak stopped in her last race. After winning both the Rope Blush and Laguardia Turf Filly Miles, Golden River Bay stepped up into graded company for the Germany 1000 Guineas (G2). In that race she pressed the pace set by Bizalls3’s Blast Maui LV. While she won the battle with that rival, she lost the war as two other rivals swept by that pair in the stretch, with Golden River Bay settling for third. Here the daughter of New Year’s Day will at least serve to keep Tete Jazigo honest on the front end and may have more in store should she relish the added ground. Though Exceed and Excel as the damsire and with a dam who fared poorly beyond short route distances that might be a bit of a surprise. Golden River Bay will start from post two at 7/1. K. Hobley rides.
Maiden Heaven Bound has shown marked improvement in her races when stretched out beyond nine furlongs, finishing second and third with vastly higher speed figures in a pair of maiden races at 1 3/16 miles, then running a creditable, fast-closing second in the Sister American Turf Filly Route at 1 5/16 miles, earning a 101 speed figure. With a faster pace up front and an extra half-furlong for her stretch run the daughter of Sea the Stars is certainly in with a chance in what is not the strongest of grade ones this season. The scratchbred’s pedigree is filled out by Danehill and Roberto, resulting in 4 x 3 inbreeding to Danzig. Heaven Bound drew just outside Tete Jazigo and will be ridden by B. Ball.
Princess Haya comes in fresh off an easy win in the Devils Slide Turf Filly Challenge, where she sat just behind the pace before kicking away to win by 2 1/2 lengths. Prior to that Gowans2018’s daughter of Dubawi had a three-race streak of second-place finishes, with two of those coming in stakes races. Her top speed figure of 96 is a bit below some in this field, but the ease at which she earned it and the added ground make one think she can move up Saturday. She is the only foal from he-mare Yea or Nay, a $1-million earner and winner of the Manha Manha Challenge (G1) and Bernie Baruch (G2), who was at his best at up to 10 furlongs. She starts from post nine as the 7/1 co-fourth choice with T. Small in the irons.
Golden Blake may also add to the early pace Saturday, with both her career wins occurring after she set (as in her Slick Mint Turf Filly Route win) or pressed the pace, as she did in her October maiden win. Buffy9’s daughter of Shamardal uncharacteristically settled in fifth early on in the Irish 1000 Guineas Trial (G3) before fading to ninth. Golden Blake has yet to race beyond 1 1/16 miles, but dam Hillary Rodham (Golden Horn x Dansili) won the 11-furlong Glen is Falling Handicap (G3) and three stakes races at longer distances. Golden Blake’s top speed figure of 91 is a little on the light side, but maybe she’ll perk up with the added ground. Her odds of 11/1 almost make that an interesting point to consider as her and jockey J. Stivers depart from the eight hole.
With her scratch-breeding of Dubawi over Sadler’s Wells and Kris S. Asrstar13’s Born Radioactive was born to run long races on the grass and she’ll stretch out to her longest race to date on Saturday. After winning a maiden and allowance race (as well as finishing 13th in the Dormello (G3) as a juvenile, Born Radioactive wasted no time as a sophomore in earning her first career stakes win in the 1 5/16-mile Headache Machine Turf Filly Route on New Year’s Day. She then finished well off the board in both the Tristan Fillies (G3) and Czech 1000 Guineas (G3), before running fourth last time out in the Sister American Turf Filly Route, again at 1 5/16 miles. Born Radioactive also comes in light on speed figures, with a pair of 89s marking her career high. She made all the pace in her lone stakes win but usually settles a bit off the pace. Jockey R. Whisper will figure out the tactics with the pair leaving gate 12 at odds of 11/1.
Bertaal2’s Bo Talks (9/1) enters the Diana Grand Prix with the weight of the world on her roan shoulders. Should the daughter of Tapit win, she would become the fourth grade one winner in succession–and seventh overall–for her Hall of Fame dam, Botwisted (Kingmambo x Sadler’s Wells). The Diana Grand Prix marks the first start in a stakes race for Bo Talks, who enters this following a sharp n2l allowance win at 1 1/4 miles. In that race, Bo Talks switched from utilizing closing tactics to set the lead from the bell and earned a speed figure of 98. It will be interesting to see what she does early on in the race on Saturday, especially with the extreme outside post.
Upgrade’s Imbil Kepro has a maiden win and three second-place performances in four career races. The Frankel filly will be stepping up to stakes company for the first time in this weak grade one race. This midpack runner has a career high speed figure of 95 which she earned in her last race, a 1 3/16 mile n2l allowance race. Her dam, Finke Promethium (by Dubawi), was placed in a listed stakes at 7 1/2 furlongs. Granddam Outback Promethium (Street Cry x Montjeu x Dynaformer) earned a listed stakes win at nine furlongs. Imbil Kepro also drew outside (post 13) and is 8/1 on the morning line.
The remaining five entrants are stablemates of co-favorite Just A Wasp. Taken as one, they are the winners of eight of 47 races with none of the quintet having won more than two races and just one a previous stakes winner. That one is Looks Faster (post three, 33/1) who, in her last two races when stretched out to 12 furlongs, has looked slower and slower. She earned her stakes win four starts back in the Polish Monte Turf Juvenile Fillies, earning a career high speed figure of 93. She then finished eighth (86 speed figure) in the 1 1/16 mile Triangular Star Stakes (G3) and 14th in both the New Zealand (G2) and Sydney Oaks (G1), earning speed figures of 72 and 68 in those longer races. The daughter of Ulysses hails from a Snitzel dam whose two career wins came at 6 and 8.5 furlongs. Wyndaway and Wyndaway32 have Impact Choice (post five, 16/1) and My Trak Tizway (post four, 43/1) entered here. The former was ninth in the Sydney Oaks (beaten by over 20 lengths) after a pair of third place finishes in listed stakes and an n2l allowance win. My Trak Tizway earned a career high speed figure of 87 last out when eighth in the Cleopatra (G3), a 1 5/16-mile race in which she lost ground in the stretch. The daughter of Upstart hails from a Tizway mare whose second and final career victory came in the 11-furlong Italian Oaks (G2). Both Antifast (post 10, 29/1) and Dampa (post 11, 11/1) have one win from nine career starts, with those wins coming in August and October, respectively. Both enter here following graded races where they failed to hit the board–Antifast 11th in the Sydney Oaks and Dampa fifth in the Cleopatra. Antifast (Spiritjim x Silvano) has a close-up third-place finish on her resume, whereas Dampa (Territories x Elusive Quality) has twice finished fourth in listed stakes races.
So the betting did not go well in last weekend’s Irish 1000 Guineas and now the bankroll is reduced to $1,702.65, still well into the land of profitability. This week, I tend to agree with the bookmaker’s morning line, which makes me disinclined to wager large amounts. I suppose I’m going to make Princess Haya (7/1) my pick, but all choices here are of the tepid variety. So, I’ll put $5 across on the nine (Princess Haya) then utilize various exacta boxes to attempt to accrue some sort of score. So, $1 exacta box 1-6-7-9 (that is Just a Wasp, Tete Jazigo, Heaven Bound, and Princess Haya. Another $1 exacta box 6-7-9-14 (Bo Talks). Another $1 exacta box 7-9-13 (Imbul Kepro)-14. Then 1-6-7-9-13-14 over 2 and 8 in $1 exactas. All told, that is $63 in wagers bringing the fictional bankroll down to $1,639.65 from its annual starting point of $1,000.