07/03/2008 8:56PM

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!