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Friday stakes opinions
Tom Fool Handicap - Belmont - Race 8 - Friday:
Not sure where Not for Money came up with that 112 Beyer on May 23, but I don't trust it. He got away on the lead through an easy first quarter-mile over an inside, speed-favoring track, and will have to face tougher opponents here. One of them, Lucky Island, is three for three since Kiaran McLaughlin added Lasix to the equation, and he looked good taking the Bold Ruler on May 10. He has good tactical speed, and shouldn't be too far away when the field swings into the stretch. Tasteyville returned from a wrenched ankle none the worse for wear, scoring an easy gate-to-wire 110 Beyer win in the slop on May 31. It must be noted, however, that both of his 110+ Beyer performances have come on wet tracks. Team Zayat's Premium Wine didn't do much in the Met Mile, but gets some class relief.
Selections: Lucky Island, Not for Money, Tasteyville
Stars and Stripes Turf Handicap - Arlington - Race 8 - Friday:
Cloudy's Knight stretches out for his second start of the year, and he may have simply been a short horse when chasing Inca King in the Opening Verse. He was four wide for most of the way before understandably tiring in the stretch. He should get more pace to attack at Arlington with Canela, Rumor Has It, and, perhaps, A.P. Xcellent in the lineup, and the Cloudy's Knight that won the Canadian International last year would be a handful. Lattice handled this marathon distance beautifully in the Louisville Handicap, and has the tactical speed to find a good spot while saving ground. A.P. Xcellent rode an easy lead to victory in an optional claimer at Churchill, but will be tested at this distance, and he may have to sit just off the pace. Silverfoot hasn't won since May 29, 2006, but should get plenty of pace to run at.
Selection: Cloudy's Knight
Jersey Shore Stakes - Monmouth - Race 9 - Friday:
J Be K seems spotted nicely by Team Zayat as he preps for races like the King's Bishop at Saratoga. He's certainly the most accomplished horse in the field, and figures to be prominent when they turn for home at Monmouth. Indy Joe took the local Rumson Stakes over muddy going, and fired a bullet in his preparation for this event. He's pretty quick from the gate in his own right, and may be breathing down the top pick's neck on the backstretch. Silver Edition was stymied by a speed-favoring track in the Woody Stephens, and should get a nice pace setup here for Mr. Lukas.
Selections: J Be K, Indy Joe, Silver Edition
One of our bloggers asked about Friday's Wadsworth Memorial at Finger Lakes. I don't really have a strong feel for the race. Malibu Moonshine does look tough, and he was up against an intensely speed-favoring surface last time out at Pimlico. He won't offer much value so you may want to take a shot at the Charlton Baker-trained entry of Johnie Bye Night and Brocco Valley as well as Stronach Stables' Powerful Touch, and longshot Spirit Warrior.
More importantly, who do you like on Friday? I'd like to know.
Be back tomorrow night after the fireworks with some Saturday stakes opinions, and answers to your questions and comments.
Have a great and safe Fourth of July!
Alan my picks for the contest.I will also e-mail them to you. Salvador: Honest Man UN: Strike A Deal Roc
Hllywd Oaks: I believe your gonna see a repeat of LS with RawSilk, Darley, AG and KM. This horse is well meant. Another interesting choice is KM. JT combo are sneaky. BB was KM go to guy when he was in KY riding some LS. MBB would not surprise me. CashCall Mile:Believe its between DD and LOV(interesting)however they are putting earmuffs on LaTee, which TB suggested, seems like hes deadon nowadays.
Some Monmouth thoughts for Saturday... Monmouth (7-5) R2--#4 Major Bob (6-1)…3rd off with imp pace figs in last two. Last time dueled with Levine dropdown who was 1-2, and now Major Bob drops to career low. R3--#2 Abbicadabra (4-1)…only one among the top 4 or so choices not taking a suspicious drop in class. R4--#1 Sundayattheshore (9-2)…53 week layoff for this 2nd time starter, who was 3rd with trouble of 11 in debut to solid local stakes horse Rough Road Ahead and Evenings End, who consistently runs figures in the mid 80s. R5--#3 Dear Henry (6-1)…This field easier than the version of the same 20k claimer 2 weeks ago when I bet this horse and lost. Previous two were good tries from posts 9 and 11 against better. Manning is heating up. R6--#8 Cheeca Storm (5-1)…3rd time starter who was 5th at Bel in debut, came back on 2 weeks rest and dueled with Bold Union while wide on rail track. Bold Union wins big at Belmont last week and now Cheeca Storm has 5 weeks rest. R7--#3 Sky Cup (6-1)…Closed in 45.8 last time in 30k claimer losing to Iwoman, who has won 4 of 5 including n2x on Wednesday. R10--#5 Maddy’s Lion (8-1)…Potential fast pace here. ML is improving 3rd off with two good closing runs this meet, the last behind a very slow pace. 3rd in first off bench to Ravalo, wire-wire winner who returned to win stakes at Presque. Also using Celtic Innis. R11—#2 Rathor (8-1)…Frankel horse who has been running/fading in turf/synth routes from 9-13 furlongs. 2-9 on turf and now cuts back dirt (3-5) mile and could sit in garden spot or win if Gotcha Gold gets company. R12--#9 Crown Point (20-1)…Don’t think he can win but I’m definitely using at 20-1… closed in 22.6 last time after some trouble early in the race. Winner is solid G2-G3 type and Grand Coutourier was 3rd. This is more of a G3 than a G1 race. I think Strike a Deal should be favored and will win. And in the Prioress, Ant Dutrow's horse, #1...from what I can tell not too many win on Cushion by 5 and that easily. Box with R Dutrows horse...very fast pace upcoming there. Good luck everyone.
Alan, For the contest: Salvatore Mile- Honest Man UN Stakes (turf)- Equitable Interesting use of the chart. This way all picks can be tracked and viewed for accuracy. Vicstu
Riley, Steve V, Justin and Sobhy, Just because your horses are "PREMIUM PICKS" doesn't exclude you from entering the contest - please join us and pick/root for your horses with us!! Now if you happen to pick against your horses, then...
Satuday Selections Cah Call-Diamond Diva American Oaks- Missit
johnnyz, Thanks for the prize donation!! As usual, you are extremely generous!! Now, what happens if you win the contest... Owenized, Here are the PPs for CRC11 tomorrow: http://www.brisnet.com/bris_link/pdfs/darley_116261.pdf BTW, the Breeze Figures for Storm Princess are very good!!! Group 1 OBSAPR08 (scratched from sale); 3-over-PAR; SL 22.90 was 0.61 over avgSL. 2ndTS East of Eaden has a good Grp2 BF with a SL =0.90ft above avg SL. There is a nice Medaglia D'oro FTS homebred for Ed Plesa running as well. Good luck Sunday!! Also, don't forget to enter the contest - you may want to win/eat some more crabcakes!! I'm traveling today so won't be able to check my email/laptop until we reach the hotel later this afternoon/evening. Please enter the contest if you haven't already, either by email (email@example.com) or right here on Formblog. You can also make changes to your picks if necessary - just send them to me!! I'll update the spreadsheet, including all new entries/changes, later tonight - until then, here is the latest update: http://spreadsheets.google.com/pub?key=p0punDkqmTL5nDMm2cvAzCg Good luck today!!!
Oh, and I almost forgot: Regarding Curlin and the Man-o War Stakes at Belmont, I think its probably the best fit for Curlin to cut his teeth running on grass. The UN field, especially at 11 panels, is pretty deep and the race is probably longer than Curlin is conditioned to run on turf at this present time. His workout looked pretty good...but we will not really know until Curlin runs in MOW and he crosses the wire. I don't think its a knock against Monmouth that they could not do something to land Curlin on turf. Certainly, its Asmussen's call-assuming the ownership issues and licensing can be hammered out by the entry deadline. Monmouth still has an interesting card for this weekend, and the Haskell will generate interest merely because BB has been entered. One thing is for sure. On dirt or on turf, the more stretch and less turn the better for Curlin. The stretch is longer at Belmont Park, and the turns are sweeping on the dirt and turf tracks. Perhaps that has as much as anything to do with it. And of course this year's UN turf is not as deep as last year's which had Better Talk Now and English Channel. Still, an unproven turf horse is best running at 9 or 10 panels for the first time. Then there is the whole win and you're in thing. Perhaps the connections do not want to win an automatic berth to the BC Turf...prehaps they have other plans.
Monmouthisajoke, I can understand your disenchantment with Monmouth, but your assessment of last year's Haskell field as being "weak" is curiously bizarre. Curlin, Hard Spun, Any Given Saturday, Cable Boy (who set the track record at Monmouth for 1 mile), Xchanger, and so on...Just how is that a "weak" field? Curlin (HOY) and Hard Spun were the top 3 year olds in the country (along with Street Sense); and Any Given Saturday won multiple graded stakes races. Both Haskin and Pletcher called last year's Haskell field the best in the past decade-possibly the last 25 years. So, you are undermining your credibility when you knock last year's Haskell field. You cannot seriously be suggesting that last year's Traver's sported a better field than the Haskell, are you? Street Sense and a bunch of grade 3 runners. You cannot even say the names Grasshopper and CP West in the same breath as Hard Spun or Any Given Saturday. There is no doubt whatsoever that last year's Haskell was far deeper than the Travers (unfortunately). Usually, the Travers is the Haskell's daddy, but not last year. I will give you that this year's Haskell will probably be a weaker field than the Travers (as it usually is). Still, name me one 3 year old not named Big Brown that will be running in the Travers this year that could match strides with either Hard Spun or Any Given Saturday when they were racing. Surely not Colonel John. He is a nice horse, but HS would clean CJ's clock, CJ would never get up in time running behind HS type fractions, because CJ would be forced to step it up to stay within range (thus spending up most of his late kick). Perhaps CJ has moved forward since the Derby, those Tiznow's are late bloomers; he would have to move forward about 8 lengths to be in the same class as Hard Spun or Any Given Saturday at this point in their 3 year old careers. The point I am trying to make here is that last year's Haskell, which was won by AGS and did feature a tired Curlin and Hard Spun (who ran in all 3 TC races), was an unusually deep race for that race and last year's Haskell was indeed a grade 1 caliber race. And it was a nice springboard for both Curlin (who was 3rd) and HS (2nd). Curlin went on to win the Jockey Cup Gold Cup and the BC Classic. HS went on to win the grade 1 Kings Bishop, beat his nemisis Street Sense at the grade 2 Kentucky Cup Classic at TP, and was a strong runner up to Curlin in the BC Classic, several lengths ahead of the rest of the field after setting the pace. And AGS went on to win a prep race and also ran in the BC Classic. So, all in all, 3 of the very best 3 year olds (in the deepest 3 year old crop in at least 10 years) ran in the Haskell at Monmouth last year. 3 BC Classic horses ran in the Haskell last year, and another (Xchanger) was in the BC Dirt Mile. You may be generally correct about Monmouth, and you raise good points about certain angles, but I agree with Greg on this one. Monmouth may usually be a joke, but last year's Haskell was not a joke- maybe because the top 3 year olds wanted to get a run in on the 2007 BC track. But the same can not be said about this year's Haskell-save BB. I cannot imagine too many top 3 year olds commiting to the Haskell this year given its proximity to the Travers. And, of course, BB should have another work in the next week or so, and it should be a lung opener where they will try to either tire the horse or get him on his feet to run a quicker time. Another lackluster 5 or 6 furlong breeze and I think it may be time to get concerned about the conditioning or health of Big Brown. As it is, the horse had not seriously run in about 2 months, so the slow work is probably expected (and no, the Preakness was not a serious run).
Annie In ref to your thoughts on HLWD #9... 7/5 American Oaks, I also like Annie Skates.. (and not because of your Annie Oakley namesake..he-he-he) In this race I like: Annie Skates Raw Silk Pure Clan Good Luck ! SR Vegas..