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Check out our predictions and odds for the Honorable Miss Handicap at Saratoga!
Odds provided by author Brian Zipse.
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Echo Zulu, the champion 2-Year-Old filly of 2021 and unbeaten over the track, looks to continue her winning ways when she headlines a compact field of four set for Wednesday’s Grade 2 Honorable Miss Handicap at Saratoga.
Trained by Steve Asmussen, the 4-year-old daughter of Gun Runner won twice at the Spa in her championship season, including the Grade 1 Spinaway.
Second to Goodnight Olive in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint to close out last season, she has only run once so far in 2023, winning the Grade 3 Winning Colors in style at Churchill Downs.
Chief among her challengers in the 6-furlong feature will be the millionaire Frank’s Rockette. Trained by Hall of Famer Bill Mott, the 6-year-old Into Mischief mare has won 12-of-27 career races and is perfect in two starts this year.
The runner-up in this race last year, she won the Grade 3 Hurricane Bertie in March at Gulfstream Park and the Roxelana in April at Churchill Downs.
Maryquitecontrary might not have the gaudy credentials of the top two, but the daughter of First Dude is proving herself a very nice mare for trainer Shug McGaughey.
The three-time stakes winner had her five-race winning streak broken last time when finishing second to the champion Goodnight Olive in the Grade 1 Madison at Keeneland.
A champion at 2, this daughter of Gun Runner has done little to tarnish her reputation since. Even in her lone finish out of the top three, she ran a brave race in the 9-furlong Kentucky Oaks.
It was decided then that one-turn races would be her game, and she has been strong in her three races since. In her only race this year, the Steve Asmussen trainee dominated a decent field in the Grade 3 Winning Colors.
Given some time between races and returning to a racetrack where she previously excelled, we should expect more of the same from the champion. She is strictly the one to beat and is my top pick in this Grade 2 test.
Since throwing in a poor effort in last fall’s Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint, this experienced mare has rolled to three straight stakes wins. Here she will find a little tougher competition than she faced in those wins, though.
She was second in this race last year, and overall has a solid record at Saratoga, but will have the difficult task of dealing with the early speed of Echo Zulu in this one.
She has proven to be a very nice mare over the years, but in general, I believe she handles a little lesser and struggles against the very best. Of the two speed horses in the race, I prefer Echo Zulu.
Shug McGaughey trains this daughter of First Dude, who has only been beaten by two horses in her eight-race career. After winning five straight down in Florida, she proved that she can run well outside of Gulfstream Park last time.
The strong rallying performance at Keeneland in the Grade 1 Madison got her within a length of the champion Goodnight Olive at the wire.
With the top two favorites in here both having plenty of speed, I expect her to sit last early and come running. I only like her second-best on Wednesday, but I really like her chances to finish in the top two.
This daughter of Liam’s Map looks to be the long shot of the small field. Her last race, when fourth in the Grade 2 Bed O’ Roses, was disappointing. Before that, she ran a decent second in the Grade 3 Vagrancy.
She did finish last year off with a big win in the Grade 3 Go For Wand, but that came on a sloppy track at Aqueduct. If it does rain on Wednesday, she does seem to prefer an off track so her chances would improve.
She’s a solid mare, but against these, I think she falls a little short on class. In this four-horse field, I only like her fourth best.
Taken to the races at a very young age, Brian has been a passionate fan of horse racing his entire life. Professionally, his work has been published on several leading industry sites. Brian served as the Editor of Horse Racing Nation from 2010-2017, where he still writes a regular column and hosts the popular weekly webcast HorseCenter.
Email: [email protected]
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