04/21/2011 11:23AM

Pimlico: Dahlia Stakes not easy to figure


Good recent turf form is a scarce commodity in Saturday’s $75,000 Dahlia Stakes at Pimlico. Of the 11 fillies and mares entered in the one-mile turf race, five are coming off layoffs of more than 60 days and four others have been off for more than a month. The only two horses who have run within the past 30 days are both switching surfaces and have a combined total of just two lifetime starts on grass.

From a pure class standpoint, Daveron looks good after finishing second in the Grade 3 Long Island Handicap last time out. But she has been idle since that race last November, and most of her good races have been either 1 1/4 or 1 3/8 miles. The last time Daveron raced as short as one mile, in a restricted stakes at Saratoga, she finished a distant seventh.

The former connections of New Zealand import Exquisite thought enough of her to run in two Grade 2 and one Grade 3 stakes during the 2009 and 2010 seasons. On the plus side, the string of Beyer Speed Figures she posted in four consecutive starts from January to May of last year were in the narrow range of 89 to 92, plenty good enough to beat the group she faces in the Dahlia. But she has lost nine straight races and is 1 for 13 lifetime going a mile on turf.

Theda’s Smile is 2 for 4 at the distance, but both of her wins and a close third came against conditioned claiming company in 2008 and 2009.

Based on trainer patterns, Sea Wind, Love’s Song, and Weeper look like serious contenders and may offer more value than Daveron and Exquisite.

Sea Wind, although idle since October, is 2 for 3 on turf. Her trainer, William Entenmann, shows a 3-for-9 record with horses returning after a break of more than 180 days in a turf route.

Love’s Blush, second in the Maryland Million Ladies on turf, comes from the barn of Rodney Jenkins, who is 8 for 28 (29 percent) with turf runners returning from an absence of 61 to 180 days. She would also benefit if the race gets moved to the main track, where she has been third or better in seven of her nine stakes appearances.

Weeper, fifth going seven furlongs on dirt in the Foxy J.G. Stakes two weeks ago at Parx Racing, is 2 for 2 on turf, including a win the last time she switched from dirt to turf and from a sprint to a route.