Top pick: #5 (Spendarella ) (7-5) - It's the first race of the year for this horse that went 4-for-4 in 2022. Spendarella was the 6-5 favorite at the Grade 1 Del Mar Oaks at 1 1/8-miles. Jockey Tyler Gafflione brought Spendarella into third place early to stay close to the leaders and eye the rest of the field. The horse moved into first on the final stretch with a strong finish to win by 4 1/2 lengths. Spendarella had no trouble finishing first in two 1-mile races, including the Grade 2 Appalachian Stakes with a late burst turning for home.
2nd pick: #3 (Haughty) (4-1) - Stepping up to the Grade 1 Belmont Oaks didn't work with a ninth-place finish. But that was sandwiched around wins at the Penn Oaks and the Grade 2 Lake Placid Stakes. At Lake Placid, Haughty broke strong from her outside post and took advantage when 6-5 favorite With The Moonlight stumbled, grabbing a comfortable edge that she never lost. This Chad Brown horse has three first-place finishes in its last five races.
3rd pick: #4 (Wakanaka) (5-1) - This 5-year-old mare is in bounce-back mode after seeing 15-to-1 Art Collector pull an upset at the 2023 Pegasus Filly & Mare Turf. Wakanaka finished seventh at the Woodbine three races ago, then bounced back to win the 1-mile Fall Harvest Stakes with a late charge. Jockey Joel Rosario, who will ride here, made his move entering the stretch with a patient approach falling six lengths back halfway through before rallying. In his last seven races, Wakanaka has two wins, two second-place finishes, and two in third-place.