The $100,000 Ladies Handicap will run as Race 8 on the Jan. 17 card at Aqueduct Racetrack.
The event for 4-year-old and up fillies and mares will cover 1 1/8 miles and include names like Thankful, Miss Marissa, and Smooth With a Kick among the field of seven.
Here is a look at the top runners set for the Ladies Handicap.
Betting Preview: Thankful, Miss Marissa
The morning-line favorite coming in at 5/2 is Bass Stables’ Thankful. The 4-year-old American Pharoah filly is trained by Hall of Famer Todd Pletcher.
She has a career record of 2-1-1 from five starts and earnings of $100,530.
Last time out, she took third in the Nov. 27 Comely Stakes (G3) at Aqueduct, registering a 95 Speed Figure. Her other performances include a Sept. 27 allowance victory at Belmont Park, first in an Aug. 20 maiden special weight race at Saratoga, and second in a June 18 maiden special weight race at Belmont.
Thankful will break from the outside post 7 under rider Kendrick Carmouche.
One of her biggest rivals among the field will be the 7/2 Miss Marissa, owned by Cammarota Racing. The 4-year-old He’s Had Enough filly is trained by James Ryerson.
She is 4-2-1 from 13 career starts with earnings of $324,690.
Her most recent run was a sixth-place finish in the Comely, which followed an Oct. 3 victory in the George E. Mitchell Black-Eyed Susan Stakes (G2) at Pimlico. She also scored an Aug. 13 allowance optional claiming race at Saratoga and a July 11 allowance race at Monmouth Park.
Miss Marissa will break from post 4 under rider Jose Lezcano.
Betting Preview: Smooth With a Kick
Another impressive runner is the 3/1 Smooth With a Kick, owned by Jeff Drown. The 5-year-old mare from Candy Ride is trained by Chad Brown.
She is 3-3-3 from 13 career starts with earnings of $218,005.
She took fifth last time out in the Nov. 26 Falls City Stakes (G2) at Churchill Downs, registering a 101 Speed Figure. Her other recent performances include an Oct. 11 allowance optional claiming victory at Keeneland, third in the Sept. 5 Twixt Stakes at Laurel Park, and an Aug. 9 allowance victory at Saratoga.
Smooth With a Kick will break from post 2 under rider Manuel Franco.
The rest of the field (post, morning line) is set to include: Lucky Move (Post 1, 4/1); Bridlewood Cat (Post 3, 15/1); an Impazible (Post 5, 8/1); and Ujjayi (Post 6, 6/1).
Free Betting Pick
The second-choice Miss Marissa is a good pick at 7/2. She is looking for continued success going two-turns after closing out an impressive sophomore campaign. She is the most accomplished runner among the field with her Black-Eyed Susan win on Preakness Day, and she has found herself excelling at longer distances, taking three straight before going into the Comely. Miss Marissa will be joined by jockey Jose Lezcano for the first time since he was aboard her for a fourth-place finish in the Wide Country last February.
Spooky Express Free Pick: Miss Marissa
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