06/28/2009 11:00PM

Kinsolving primed for a rebound


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - If one were to look strictly at last-race Beyer Speed Figures, Kinsolving would appear an improbable winner of Saturday's Grade 3 Debutante Stakes at Churchill Downs.

One of nine juvenile fillies entered in the six-furlong race, she has the lowest last-race Beyer among the group, a 53, which is 35 points below the 88 Beyer morning-line favorite Decelerator posted in winning her debut May 14.

But speed figures must always be viewed in the context of trip and conditions. Taking into account those considerations, Kinsolving's last-race 53 Beyer is not representative of her ability.

Racing in the Grade 3 Kentucky Juvenile at Churchill April 30 following a fast maiden win at Keeneland April 17, Kinsolving bounced and did not perform to her capability in running sixth. It was likely the result of two things - facing the speediest and most talent-laden group of juveniles assembled by that point in the year, and racing back on less than two weeks' rest after a hard-fought maiden win.

Toss that race out. Since that time, her training has gone without a hitch. She has trained on a weekly basis for the past month and a half, and her second-to-last work was a beauty - five furlongs in 1:00.20.

Irrespective of the figure Kinsolving posted in the Kentucky Juvenile, the race gives every indication of being a quality contest. The runner-up from that race, Jealous Again, shipped to England and won a Group 2 at Ascot by five lengths last week.

Kinsolving's trainer, Steve Asmussen, hasn't lost faith in her, either, running her as part of an uncouple entry with Wild Forest Cat when he could have chosen any number of his deep cast of 2-year-old fillies to represent him in the race.

At 6-1 on the morning line, she deserves another chance to show the talent she flashed in her debut, when she came from off the pace to outrun Wild Forest Cat over Polytrack. Unlike many in the field, Kinsolving has shown that she doesn't need to be in front early to win, and being the only filly in the race with stakes experience, she is more battle tested than her opponents.

King Edward Stakes

Saturday's Grade 2 King Edward Stakes at Woodbine also provides a favorable wagering opportunity - this time on a blossoming turf horse getting a favorable weight break.

That horse is Baletti, a winner of two straight and 3 of his last 4 starts - with all those victories coming in allowance company.

Despite his lack of stakes experience, horseplayers shouldn't be misled into thinking this horse lacks the class to compete. Two starts ago, he gave up considerable ground with a wide trip over the Polytrack and still won, and last time, May 31 at Belmont, he beat a stakes-quality field that included Dancing Forever, last year's Grade 1 Manhattan winner who ran third in the Breeders' Cup Turf to end his season in 2008.

Though Baletti was able to save ground at Belmont, he did manage to overcome a slow pace with the kind of late turn of foot that defines a quality turf horse.

At 115 pounds, he will carry far less weight than the race favorites, Rahy's Attorney (126 pounds) and Sterwins (121), giving him every chance to pull off the upset at 6-1 on the morning line.

Vanity Handicap

While on the subject of weight, they have piled it on Zenyatta in Saturday's Grade 1 Vanity Handicap at Hollywood Park, with the champion mare carrying 129 pounds.

As she is perfect in 10 starts, it might seem unwise to take a shot against Zenyatta. But because she is carrying such a burden and will be a short price, this is the time to try to beat her.

My upset choice is Modification, who has earned respectable Beyers in the low- to mid-90s in her last three starts, all the while racing in Grade 1 company. Granted, she has never won a stakes race, let alone a graded stakes race, but the circumstances look ripe for her to turn in one of her best races.

Besides getting in light at 115 pounds, she is moving from turf - over which she has never won - to synthetic, a surface she seems to like. Her stalking style should also play well in a race with a good amount of pace.

She ought to be able to get the jump on the late-running Zenyatta. Whether she has what it takes to hold her off remains to be seen, but with 129 pounds potentially dragging the favorite down, Modification has a chance to outrun her at a price.