09/24/2011 10:32AM

Gallant Bloom, Kentucky Cup Sprint, Selene

Email

Let's take a peek at some of this weekend's stakes races.

Gallant Bloom Handicap - Belmont - Race 9

We've had a ton of rain in the New York area over the past couple of days so expect "Big Sandy" to be "Big Muddy."  An interesting aspect of this race is that many of the top contenders have excellent records over wet tracks. 

TAR HEEL MOM - 10-6-1-1
MOONTUNE MISSY - 1-1-0-0
BUCKLEUPBUTTERCUP - 1-1-0-0
TAMARIND HALL - 3-3-0-0

I'm interested in a filly with no prior wet-track experience.  POMEROYS PISTOL is a 3-year-old facing elders for the first time, but she's run some solid races against Grade 1 company in her last two outings and draws a good attack post position in the Gallant Bloom.  Last time out, in the Test at Saratoga, Pomeroys Pistol was no match for top sophomore filly sprinter Turbulent Descent, but she tried hard all the way to the wire and galloped out past the winner.  Earlier in her career, Pomeroys Pistol was somewhat speed-crazy, but she's learned to rate.  She should be close by when the real running begins. 

Selections:  POMEROYS PISTOL, TAR HEEL MOM, MOONTUNE MISSY

***

Kentucky Cup Sprint - Turfway - Race 8

Usually, when handicapping polytrack races, I am unable to select a dirt horse trying synthetic for the first time.  But, I was so impressed with WILL'S WILDCAT's most recent start at Saratoga that I'm willing to take a leap of faith.  Racing in an 'n2x' optional claimer over a sloppy track on August 21, Will's Wildcat was engaged in a speed duel from the moment the gates opened.  First, he put away second-choice Just Hold On (finished last), but was immediately confronted by Understatement (seventh) and favored Bojan (sixth).  After dispatching of those two, Will's Wildcat built a commanding lead in the stretch, but was nosed on the wire by Slevin, an older New York bred with over 300K in the bank.  Will's Wildcat has enough speed to try and pop this field, but he's also won from just off the pace.  This race all boils down to price.  If Will's Wildcat gets hammered at the windows, I probably will back off due to his lack of experience racing on synthetic surfaces.  If he stays at his morning line, or thereabouts, I'll give him a shot.

Selections:  WILL'S WILDCAT, CAL NATION, MATTHEWSBURG

***

Selene Stakes - Woodbine (Sunday) - Race 8

INGLORIOUS, the Queen's Plate winner, is most obviously the horse to beat in the Selene.  She is coming off a horrendous effort on dirt in the Grade 1 Alabama, however, and I just can't pick her as the odds-on favorite following such a sub-par race.  Certainly, she should appreciate getting back to Woodbine's polytrack surface (5-5 there) and it wouldn't be surprising if she wins by ten.  Still, that last race weighs heavily on my mind.  Instead, I'll take a shot with SMART STING, a beautifully-bred filly switching to the main track for the first time after some okay efforts on grass.  Smart Sting has an underrated break from the gate and may get the jump on Inglorious in a race lacking much pace.  Breaking from the far outside in the Grade 3 Ontario Colleen last time out, Smart Sting was taken back to avoid being caught wide for the backstretch run.  She split horses turning for home, altered course to the outside in midstretch and came home with a good late kick to finish second behind good-trip winner ANNE'S BEAUTY.  If Inglorious is ever vulnerable, it could be today so Smart Sting is the tepid choice at a price.

Selections:  SMART STING, INGLORIOUS, ANNE'S BEAUTY

***

Quick-and-dirty selections:

Kent Stakes:  WILLCOX INN, CASINO HOST, BREATHLESS STORM
Gallant Bob:  HE'S SPEIGHTFUL, POSEIDON'S WARRIOR, INDIANO
Kentucky Cup Distaff:  UPPERLINE, LA GRAN BAILADORA, AILALEA
Pennsylvania Derby:  TO HONOR AND SERVE, RATTLESNAKE BRIDGE, RULER ON ICE
Kentucky Cup:  WORKIN FOR HOPS, BARYSHNIKOV, SHEDIAK

***

For a more in-depth analysis, check out the handicapping videos that Mike Beer and I produced for the major stakes races.  Just head down to the second video player and click on the race name.

http://www.drf.com/events/gallant-bloom-handicap-belmont

http://www.drf.com/events/pennsylvania-derby-parx-racing

http://www.drf.com/events/kentucky-cup-turfway

http://www.drf.com/news/weekend-stakes-preview-videos

***

Much more importantly, who do you like this weekend?  I want to know.

Enjoy the weekend.