06/15/2012 5:55PM

Klein: Recent form key in Desert Stormer

Benoit & Associates
Teddy’s Promise rallies from last to win the Time to Leave last time out.

Which stakes race on Sunday has a field of six runners who have 23 prior starts in Grade 1 stakes, seven in Grade 2 company, and five in Grade 3 races from the 66 starts showing among their past performances? Is it the 1 1/16-mile, Grade 3, $100,000 Pegasus at Monmouth Park, the five-furlong, $150,000 Parx Dash, or the six-furlong, $70,000 Desert Stormer at Hollywood?

The surprising answer is the race with the lowest purse money, the $70,000 Desert Stormer, but that’s only half of the challenge. The other half is to find the betting value in that race.

Turbulent Descent has won three Grade 1 races, and would be formidable with one of her better performances. The concern is that her recent form has been subpar. She wasn’t a factor while finishing fifth with an 89 Beyer Speed Figure as the favorite in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint two races ago. She disappointed again when she finished sixth with an 83 Beyer Figure as the heavy favorite in the Grade 1 La Brea in her last start. A rebound is certainly possible on a track she’s fond of (3 for 3 at the beginning of her career), but low odds would not be a bargain as she returns from a 5 1/2-month break, the longest layoff of her career.

Switch is a tempting possibility after running in Grade 1 races in 10 of her last 11 starts, with the lone exception being a Grade 2. But she ran a dull race last time in her return from a six-month layoff. She finished fifth, 15 3/4 lengths behind the winner, in the Grade 1 Humana Distaff, with a low 77 Beyer.

I’ll give the call to a filly who has better recent form. Teddy’s Promise was the upset winner of the Grade 1 La Brea at Santa Anita three races ago. She lacked room and finished fifth in the Grade 1 Santa Monica in her next start, then took three months off. The rest helped, as she rallied from last to first and won the five-furlong Time to Leave with a career-best 97 Beyer at Hollywood in her return. She has more tactical speed than she showed in that race, and the six-furlong distance will help today. She likes Hollywood, with 4 wins and 1 second from 6 races.

Izzy Rules has done her best recent running at Santa Anita, and must match that form to contend here.

Mildly Offensive must improve.

A lively early pace is possible with Izzy Rules, and Mildly Offensive likely to fight for early supremacy.

I’ll bet Teddy’s Promise to win.

Experience best in Pegasus

A field of seven 3-year-olds will run 1 1/16 miles in the Grade 3 Pegasus at Monmouth. Three of them haven’t run farther than a sprint distance. I’ll give the edge to the runners with good form beyond a mile.

Good Morning Diva won the 1 1/16-mile Calder Derby by a neck, with a
7 1/4-length gap back to third two races ago. His Beyer dipped by 10 points at Belmont going 1 1/8 miles in the Grade 2 Peter Pan, but he still finished a respectable fourth. He’s my selection as he drops in class to meet rivals who are mostly stepping up in class.

Unbridled’s Way deserves extra credit for beating older maiden specials by 11 1/2 lengths at Monmouth in his third start. He’ll be a factor in the exotics.
Easter Gift won a six-furlong maiden special at Gulfstream, then repeated in a seven-furlong allowance at Parx. Continued progress would make him dangerous as he stretches out.

Le Bernardin ran too fast early when he pressed a swift pace in the Peter Pan, then surrendered late and finished far back. He’s capable of rating more kindly than that, and should be more effective here, but the concern is that he might not be ready to rebound to top form following that taxing performance.

I’ll bet Good Morning Diva to win, and I’ll key him on top in the exacta over Unbridled’s Way, Easter Gift, and Le Bernardin.

Bridgetown has consistency

Nine older sprinters will battle on turf in the $150,000 Parx Dash.

Bridgetown has been consistent with 3 wins and 2 seconds from his last 6 races, with the exception being his 12th-place finish in the five-furlong, Group 1 Kings Stand Stakes at Ascot. He missed by three-quarters of a length in the Grade 3 Turf Sprint at Churchill last time in his return from an 8 1/2-month layoff. A little improvement the second time back would make him hard to deny on the class drop.

Poseidon’s Warrior can participate in the exotics if he runs one of his better races in his return from a layoff of nearly six months. He can move up on the surface switch with a 360 turf Tomlinson rating in his first grass start.

Perfect Officer was up in time to win the Grade 3 Shakertown by a nose at Keeneland in April. He continues to train well, but it’s a concern that he is a closer cutting back from 5 1/2 to five furlongs.

I’ll key Bridgetown on top in the exacta over Poseidon’s Warrior and Perfect Officer.