07/31/2010 10:35AM

Diana, Fourstardave, Haskell, Jim Dandy


Over the last few days, I've had the same conversation with at least six dozen racing fans.

THEM:  "Hey Dan, how was your work week?"

ME:  "Extremely embarrassing and frustrating."

THEM:  "Care to elaborate?"

ME:  Not really.

I'm terribly sorry that this new blog has caused so many problems to so many people. 

I would be lying if I told you that it's easier for me to post content and comments in this format. 

I've sent some of your concerns on how to make things better and easier, as well as some of my own, to our tech department.  I'm hoping to hear back in a few days. 

As for now, I suggest we all take it slow for the next few days and see how it all pans out. 

Let's skip HandiGambling this week so cayman01 and I can figure out who won last week's contest and give that person their deserved prize. 

I will be uploading comments on both sites for as long as they allow me to, but I believe that would cause two separate FormBlog universes for discussion purposes. 

As I said, it's terribly frustrating.

For now, I would love to hear your opinions on what should be a huge week of racing. 

Here are some of my own:

*Jim Dandy: - Saratoga - Race 10 (Saturday):

FLY DOWN is the most accomplished horse in the race with a six-length win in the Grade 2 Dwyer followed by a rallying runner-up performance in the 1 1/2 mile Belmont Stakes.  He shows some quick moves in preparation for the start of his second-half season and he likely will make his presence felt in a deep renewal of the Jim Dandy. I wasn't exactly blown away by the Dwyer (one of the few, I know), however, and I feel compelled to bet against Fly Down if he goes off at a drastically underlaid price. 

AFLEET EXPRESS is a scary contender as he tracked and pounced his way to a score in the Grade 3 Pegasus at Monmouth last time out.  That was his first race around two turns and he can work out a nice inside-out trip this afternoon under the hot-riding Javier Castellano. 

Still, I'm a loyal guy and I'm going to stick with A LITTLE WARM, a colt that I selected to win the Louisiana Derby in his first try around two turns back in March.  Sent off at 6-1 that day, A Little Warm controlled the pace and hung in gamely only to lose by three-parts of a length.  Now, this 1 1/8 distance may be stretching his capabilities, but A Little Warm looked good in his most recent start around two turns at Delaware (his first since missing the Preakness due to a temperature and a bleeding incident).  That afternoon, he tracked lone pacesetter Miner's Reserve through fast internal fractions and put that one away in upper stretch en route to a big Beyer score.  Perhaps A Little Warm can work out a similar trip with Miner's Reserve in the lineup and he can get the jump on the closers turning for home.

Selection:  A Little Warm

*Diana - Saratoga - Race 9 (Saturday):

A contenious renewal of the Diana features two-time defending champion FOREVER TOGETHER, Just a Game winner PROVISO and multiple graded winner PHOLA as the top three morning line choices.  Add in SHARED ACCOUNT (two-time graded winner), MARAM (Grade 3 winner), My PRINCESS JESS (three-time graded winner) and DYNASLEW (Grade 3 winner) and you have a whale of a race.

There doesn't seem to be much early speed in the Diana and that may give the tactical Proviso an advantage, much as it did in the Just a Game on June 5.  That afternoon, she prompted moderate fractions and just was able to hold off the late surge of PHOLA.

Still, I'm a loyal guy and I'm going to stick with Phola this time around.  Off a beat slowly in the Just a Game, she was far, far behind for the first five furlongs before finishing her last quarter in 22 1/5 to get within breathing distance of Proviso.  The pace scenario is a huge concern, but Phola kicks like a mule when she's right and she may be approaching peak form for Todd Pletcher and Ramon Dominguez.

I've been married to My Princess Jess forever without going on a honeymoon with her, but she can be up close to the pace.  On her best day, she can threaten for a piece.

Selections:  Phola, My Princess Jess

*Haskell - Monmouth - Race 12 (Sunday):

An exceptional race with the one-two finishers in both the Kentucky Derby and Preakness (SUPER SAVER, ICE BOX, LOOKIN AT LUCKY, FIRST DUDE) hooking up with some intriguing new shooters. 

Count me as one of the folks that was impressed with TRAPPE SHOT's win in the Long Branch, the local prep for the Haskell on July 10.  Trained by Kiaran McLaughlin, Trappe Shot bobbled slightly at the start, then was sent up to prompt a three-ply pace situation while down on the rail.  All four of the Long Branch runners were right there after a half-mile, but Trappe Shot professionally moved through along the fence to take the lead with three furlongs to run.  After that, he turned on the jets to win nicely with a 105 Beyer Speed Figure.  Trappe Shot draws a tough outside post position and there's a chance that he will be floated wide going into the first turn of the Haskell, but his tactical speed should have him right off the leaders.  We'll see how good he is on Sunday. 

Selections:  Trappe Shot

*Fourstardave - Saratoga - Race 7 (Sunday):

GET STORMY had a five-race winning streak snapped last time out at Woodbine, but I'm going to draw a line right through that race.  First of all, I'm not sure that the configuration of the Woodbine turf course (one-turn mile, long stretch) played to Get Stormy's speedy strengths.  Second, Get Stormy was rated coming out of the gate and he felt pressure from both sides for the first half-mile. 

In the Fourstardave, Get Stormy draws inside and Javier Castellano figures to get him right out to the early lead.  When he dictates terms, he is tough to run down.

Selection:  Get Stormy

Best of luck to all.