08/21/2010 10:59AM

Alabama, Arlington Million Weekend!


Let's take a look at some of today's major stakes races.

Iselin - Monmouth - Race 11:

I really liked REDDING COLLIERY'S performance in the Grade 3 Lone Star Park Handicap on May 31, and am very interested to see if he can put together back-to-back big races.  Not only was the 111 Beyer for the Lone Star race impressive, but he did it the right way, prompting a quick pace under a confident Rosie Napravnik before taking over for good at the quarter-pole.  The runner-up that day, the hard-knocking Awesome Gem, returned to win the Grade 1 Hollywood Gold Cup. 
The race flow may work in Redding Colliery's favor this afternoon as he can track the likely pacesetter, Our Edge, before getting first crack on the far turn. 
Selections:  Redding Colliery, Duke of Mischief, Our Edge

Alabama - Saratoga - Race 10:

Most are conceding the Alabama as a two-horse affair between BLIND LUCK and DEVIL MAY CARE, the best three-year-old fillies in the country.  I think that HAVRE DE GRACE isn't that far behind them in terms of ability, however, and I'm going to pick her to upset the apple cart this afternoon. 
Last time out, in the Delaware Oaks, Havre de Grace didn't seem to care for the wet footing.  She was under a drive with 2 1/2 furlongs to go and looked to be spinning her wheels turning for home.  She still collared the pacesetter in upper stretch, however, and then gave Blind Luck all she could handle going down to the line, losing by a dirty nose.
A lightly-raced filly, Havre de Grace may still have some upside and her good tactical speed should allow her to get the jump on Blind Luck once again turning for home.
Let's not forget about CONNIE AND MICHAEL as an upset possibility.  I don't think that 10 furlongs is her best game, but she may attempt to shake loose on the front end.
Selections:  Havre de Grace, Devil May Care, Connie and Michael

Beverly D. - Arlington - Race 9:

The defection of RAINBOW VIEW due to injury compromises the prices of some of the other strong contenders, but this year's renewal of the Beverly D. looks like a fun, wide-open affair. 
AVE has yet to win since shipping from Europe, but she's run pretty well in all three of her stateside starts.  In the Gallorette at Pimlico on May 15, her first start of the year, Ave broke poorly and was last on the rail turning for home.  She still gave a strong rally to just miss by a half-length.  Two back, in the New York, there wasn't much pace signed on and Ave altered her running style to prompt the pacesetter.  I think she's more comfortable making one run so I'll forgive her lack of finish that day.  Last time out, at Woodbine, Ave made that strong late run, losing a head-bob to Mekong Melody. 
Ave worked in 58 and change on the grass leading up to the Beverly D., switches to Ramon Dominguez, and should be kicking hard once again in the stretch. 
Selections:  Ave, Pachattack, Eclair de Lune

Secretariat - Arlington - Race 8:

It's hard to believe that PADDY O'PRADO was still a maiden in March.  Since then, he's done a great amount of racing in a short amount of time and that's truly a credit to the connections and to the horse.  He's emerged as the best three-year-old turf horse in the country after big victories in the Colonial Turf Cup and Virginia Derby and should be tough as nails in the Secretariat. 
In the Virginia Derby, Paddy O'Prado raced far behind a moderate pace before uncorking an eye-catching move on the far turn.  He scooted through an opening along the inside in upper stretch and there was no doubt who was best. 
The scratch of TWO NOTCH ROAD may slow down the pace, but there should be enough to properly setup Paddy O'Prado's late move.
Selections:  Paddy O'Prado, Wigmore Hall, Workin for Hops

I must admit that I don't have a very strong feeling about the Million.  I'm slightly interested in TAZEEZ, a European import with a hint of early speed, but I won't be investing heavily in the race.

More importantly, who do you like this afternoon?  I want to know.

Enjoy a great weekend of racing.