2024 Mamzelle Stakes (Churchill Downs) - Analysis, picks, and predictions (GRADE: 60%)

Pick Pony |May 10, 2024, 3:40 p.m.

About the Mamzelle Stakes race


Tough race for a class of really good fillies

The Mamzelle Stakes is run at 5 1/2 furlongs on the Matt Win Turf Course at Churchill Downs. It has been run annually since 2019, at 5 furlongs, and was lengthened to 5 1/2 furlongs last year.

Today, the race will be the 10th of 11 races, and yeah, given the lack of experience for many of this race’s entries, it’s a tough one to handicap.

2024 Mamzelle Stakes entries

Let Them Watch

Let Them Watch is one of the slowest horses in this race, and her speed is on a decline. She’s already been beaten by several horses in this race, including Twirling Queen, Hot Beach, and Fibber. She’s never raced on turf, and her pedigree suggests she will not fair well. However, she could set the pace from the gate, so watch out. Still, we don’t think she can hold out until the end. Toss.

Nice As Pie

Wow. Just, wow. With four wins in her last four races by a combined 16 1/2 lengths, this headliner will see significant play on the tote board. She seems to love the Tapeta surface (her half-sister was a turf sprint stakes winner), and her last works were stellar. Her speed continues to improve, as have all of her pace numbers. AI predicts a bump in speed in this race, but Nice As Pie has never run on the Turf. According to her trainer, Kelsey Danner, that shouldn’t be a problem.

“We thought she was turf last year; I just couldn’t get her on it. She’s kind of a lightly built filly, looks turfy.”

Will early speed in this race allow her to overtake tired opponents? We will go against the grain with her and predict she will miss the board by a spot. It shouldn’t matter too much since a likely underlay will prohibit decent bets.

Big Trouble

She has yet to demonstrate speed worthy of note but has had flashes of brilliance in her young career, including a nice run when she broke her maiden in her second race. However, she is unproven and has not demonstrated she can run with this group. If the overlay is impressive, drop a few pennies on her, just in case.

Pipit

Great E1 pace should make Pipit exciting to watch—at least out of the gate. Her speed tumbled a few races ago, and she’s struggled to get back on track. Her last race was an improvement, though.

She’s been beaten twice by Nice As Pie, but that was on dirt. She finished second in her single 5f turf face against the most formidable opponents of her young career. Another 1/2 furlongs and we believe she would have blown everyone away. In short, on paper, she doesn’t look nearly as good as she could be. A nice overlay adds icing on the cake since she will finish on the board, likely taking the Place spot.

Cloudwalker

Cloudwalker has the second-highest average speed in this group, and her latest works were outstanding. Her freight-train-like running style means she may be slow out of the gate but slowly increase her speed until the finish. This should make for an exciting race - and allow her to appear on the board. We’re giving her a Show appearance.

Tipsy Runner

Tipsy Runner needs to stay off the bottle - she’s already the slowest horse in the group, despite having stellar early speed. However, her speed has consistently improved in every race, as has her pace all around. She has appeal, but all those 1st and 2nd place finishes are not so impressive when you look at her prior competition. Toss.

Parola Sicura

One of the slower horses of the bunch and least experienced. Speed is especially slow on turf. Toss.

Twirling Queen

Works have peaked, and she should be one of the leaders coming out of the gate. Her speed is improving, too. However, she lacks experience on turf, and her dirt experience makes us think the grass will be too much for her to handle. Toss.

Toupie

This daughter of Uncle Mo has a trainer who is decent off the layoff and Toupie possesses decent tactical speed, too. But Graham Motion is still tinkering with her, trying to figure out what surface and distance she’ll do best with. The ideal may be turf - but it’s not 5 1/2 furlongs. Toss.

Twirl Around

Twirl Around’s speed is trending up, but her only turf start was in April 2024 against lesser competition - and she still only managed to Place. This will be her second start after an extended 85-day layoff, and her last works doesn’t do much to instill confidence that she’s back to her norm. We see this race as a training run for her. Still, she is capable of turning in a performance that could put her on the board.

Niki Nine Doors

Niki Nine Doors has one of the slowest average speed ratings. However, she had the fastest speed in the last race (tied with Honey Dijon), where she broke her maiden. Her speed is trending up sharply, with massive jumps in performance in each of her three starts. Abel Cedillo in the irons could guide her to the tote board, not the winner’s circle. This will be a telling race for her.

Imaboutago

Wesley Ward’s Imaboutago was bred for the turf, and it shows. She has the highest average speed in this race and the best speed in the last 3. She has blazing early speed and an excellent post-position bias to show it off. Her last works were a bit slow, but that’s par for Ward’s pre-race training regime. It’s Imaboutago for the win.

Rhapsody

Rhapsody has an excellent chance of making the tote board today, however, her declining speed is worrisome. She’s been inconsistent on dirt, and her sole turf start was unimpressive. Jonathan Thomas can work wonders with young fillies, but we’re unclear why her past works have been so lax. We suspect they are still testing her sea legs.

Honey Dijon

Honey Dijon will explode from the gate and could make it on the board today if her extended time off paid dividends. Prior to her layoff, her speed was trending up. However, we’re not convinced she’s a good fit for a shorter sprint, nor does she seem to favor the grass. She will miss the board by a nose.

Tipsy Tammy

Although eligible, her speed is trending down. Toss.

Hot Beach

Hot Beach is eligible, and if she’s allowed to enter, she possesses the third-highest speed of any horse in this race. After a brief period of decline, her speed seems to be recovering.

Moonlit Lady

Although eligible, she lacks the speed to compete with this group. Toss.

Fibber

Ribber is eligible but unlikely to race. That’s a shame, given her speed has been consistently improving with each run.