Test Stakes Odds & Betting Picks

The G1 Test Stakes shapes up as the most interesting race at Saratoga on Saturday, as Kentucky Oaks winner Pretty Mischievous steps down in distance to take on two hot-ticket sprinters, with the unbeaten Maple Leaf Mel and the explosive Munnys Gold ready to expose any lack of pace in the Classic-winning heroine.

Breeders Cup Odds

Test Stakes

G1, $500,000, 7f dirt, 3yo fillies, 4.26pm ET

There are bigger races at Saratoga on Saturday, there are more valuable races too, but for competitiveness and sheer intrigue the Test stands out, an absolute potboiler of a contest with a compelling clash of personalities.

Top of the shop is the 2023 G1 Kentucky Oaks winner Pretty Mischievous (9-5), who makes a surprise return to sprinting for the first time since her second career start. She thrived over a mile-eighth at Churchill Downs and did just as well in the 2023 G1 Acorn over a mile-sixteenth at Belmont Park, when she battled valiantly in the closing stages to hold off the persistent threat of Oaks fifth Dorth Vader (6-1) by a head.

She showed stamina and sticking power there, so the cutback is not the most obvious choice, especially as it is largely driven by the need to separate her from G1 CCA Oaks winner Wet Paint, who runs for the same owners. Pretty Mischievous is the classiest horse in the race, sure, but is she the best sprinter?

Dorth Vader made her name with an upset score in the 2023 G2 Davona Dale at Gulfstream Park over a mile, and she should probably cope well with the cutback. Class is an issue but she shows up every time and will do so again.

The Acorn fourth Munnys Gold (7-2) went fast on the lead and plainly did not stay. The cutback is exactly what she needs, and she showed talent and tenacity in equal measure when re-rallying to miss out by a head in the seven-furlong 2023 G2 Eight Belles at Churchill Downs. She will go out fast again, but this is a very hot contest and there is a suspicion she may lack absolute killer class.

We don’t know exactly how good Maple Leaf Mel (2-1) might be because she is still unbeaten. Not only that, she has never even been headed, having led at every call on the way to racking up a five-streak in majestic fashion, culminating in a totally dominant score in the 2023 G3 Victory Ride over six and a half furlongs at Belmont, when Interpolate (15-1) was beaten 11 lengths into fourth.

She is ready for the upgrade, she won her first two starts here last summer, and the hope is that she and Munnys Gold don’t blow their chance by getting caught up in a speed duel.

The others have a mountain to climb. Clearly Unhinged (12-1) won a sprint allowance at Santa Anita in June, Jersey Pearl (15-1) did the same at Ellis Park last month, Tappin Josie (50-1) won a sprint stakes at Parx in March. None can be seriously considered.

2023 Test Stakes Odds

This takes Pretty Mischievous out of her comfort zone, and the marvellous MAPLE LEAF MEL can beat her for speed and extend her unbeaten record to six.

HorseJockeyHorse Racing Odds by Jazzsports
Pretty MischievousTyler Gaffalione+180
Clearly UnhingedJavier Castellano+1200
Tappin JosieKevin Gomez+5000
Jersey PearlLuis Saez+1500
InterpolateFlavien Prat+1500
Dorth VaderJohn R. Velazquez+600
Munnys GoldIrad Ortiz, Jr.+350
Maple Leaf MelJoel Rosario+200

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