Where we once had Turbulent Descent, Joyful Victory, and R Heat Lightning, we now have It’s Tricky, Royal Delta, and Buster’s Ready. Where we once had flashy early season fillies we now have stamina-bred hard-knocking gals who look to be developing rapidly.
Buster’s Ready’s win in the Mother Goose on Saturday was authoritative and somewhat easy. She seemed poised to tackle GI company after a very strong 2nd in the Black Eyed Susan. It was an effort that was far more impressive when you viewed the replay than when you simply looked at the running line. That’s a big part of the reason why she was sent off at a generous 7/2. Clearly, Buster’s Ready is now among the division’s best 3YO fillies.
Out west, Zazu knocked off Plum Pretty in the Hollywood Oaks. While the latter may or may not have been recovering from a fever earlier in the week, the former has now beaten her 3 times and seems superior, despite what happened in the Kentucky Oaks. Zazu is basically the only player from the 3YO filly division in January who is still among the upper echelon. There are no remaining graded stakes in California for 3YO fillies on synthetics. Here’s to hoping trainer John Sadler has plans to send Zazu eastward for the Alabama.
So, what did Buster’s Ready and Zazu’s wins teach us? The 3YO filly division is undergoing some changes. The division leader heading into 2011 was Turbulent Descent on the west coast and Awesome Feather in the east. Those two have been re-routed for different reasons. While Turbulent Descent will still have a chance to win the Eclipse Award for 3YO filly, she’ll have to do it in one-turn races with at least two wins against elders. Awesome Feather is just now working her way back from an injury and is not likely to be a factor anytime soon.
A few alternatives have emerged over the last few months but it is this latest wave of 3YO fillies that look to be the cream of the crop. Since Royal Delta’s win in the Black Eyed Susan, her 2nd stakes engagement in her brief 4 race career, we’ve now seen It’s Tricky win the Acorn and Buster’s Ready (who Royal Delta defeated) win the Mother Goose. Along with Zazu, these are the three big guns in the 3YO filly division.
We can only hope that the 3YO males begin to sort themselves out over the next few months, but for now we know we have some excellent 3YO filly races to look forward to in the near future.