12/15/2007 1:37PM

Grand Slam II


Four of Saturday's five graded stakes nationally are the Grand Slam II races at Calder. There's a 50-cent minimum pick-four on the quartet, which look chalky on the turf and wide-open on the dirt to me.

3:28 pm EST, CRC race 8, G2 $200k La Prevoyante H., 3+f, 1 1/2m-T
If Dalvina repeats her last-out performance in the G3 Long Island, where she stormed from last place behind a slow pace to drown Barancella, My Rachel and Green Girl, she'll win in a gallop. The latter two are back for another try and might be next best but had no excuses last time out. Redaspen's a little intriguing second off a layoff but a complete unknown beyond nine furlongs. The pricey horse I'll include is Sans Souci Island, who still has upside after just six career starts and was beaten only three lengths by Sealy Hill in her last.

3:53 pm EST, CRC race 9, G3 $100k Kenny Noe Jr. H., 3+, 7f
Trainer Kirk Ziadie scratched two-thirds of his formidable entry here (Fortunate Trail and D'artagnans'spirit) but his remaining entrant, Paradise Dancer, can still get the job done. I'll go four-deep here, also using turnbacking Yes He's The Man, back-classy Santana Strings, and third-off-the-layoff Storm In May.

4:18 pm EST, CRC race 10, G3 $100k Fred Hooper H., 3+, 1 1/8
This is the skullbuster in the sequence. The top five finishers from the Nov. 11 Rose Classic H. are back from a race where too many horses ran career tops for me to be confident it's as good a race as the time suggests. I'll play against the perfect-trip winner, Electrify, and cast a wide net emphasizing two fresh faces from New Jersey, Actin Good and Indy Wind. Actin Good sports low figures but was very game beating Now a Victor in the opener on the BC Day card and may be blossoming as a racehorse. Indy Wind has won 3 of his last 6 and faced much better in his three losses.

4:45 pm EST, CRC race 11, G2 $200k McKnight H., 3+ 1 1/2m-T
Stream of Gold is still seeking his first U.S. victory but towers over these off his second to English Channel in the Turf Classic and a close-up fourth in the Canadian International. He meets no legit G1 horses here and is going to be tough to beat. The admirable veteran Revved Up is solid at this course and distance and appears the next most likely winner. If you're hunting for bombs underneath, Kiss the Kid could take them a long way on the lead in the absence of other early speed, and Presious Passion got questionable rides in his last two.

Keep an eye on the weather at Calder, where the forecast is for thunderstorms. Speaking of weather watches, you might not want to put a lot of time into Aqueduct's Sunday card until it's clear how severe a dire forecast of overnight icestorms turns out to be. [Update: Aqueduct has cancelled Sunday's card, due to what Tom Durkin just called "anticipation of apocalyptic weather." With a holiday break scheduled to begin Monday, that means today's is the last live card at Aqueduct until Wednesday, Dec. 26.]

Saturday's other graded stakes is not the 137-year-old Ladies Handicap at Aqueduct, now an ungraded stakes (where I like Cryptoquick and Wow Me Free), but the G1 Hollywood Starlet:

7:05 pm EST, HOL race 8, G1 $421,500 Hollywood Starlet, 2f, 1 1/16m
Country Star circled the field to win the G1 Alcibiades and passed the BC Juvenile Fillies, where she would have been the second choice, to point for this race. The daughter of Empire Maker has trained sharply over the Hollywood track and could be something special. The value in the race might come from playing against ML second choice Spritely, whose two Kentucky victories earned low figures against weak fields but who will be overbet due to Pletcher/Gomez connections. Grace Anatomy, Grace and Power or The Golden Noodle are reasonable alternatives underneath the favorite.

cjdstable More than 1 year ago
Steve -- Love the blog -- keep up the good work. After playing the card at Hollywood on Sat, I agree with your comment that Country Star may be something special. Also keep an eye, however, on a 3yo filly that raced in a nw1 a few races earlier on the card named Zenyatta (trained by Shirrifs). It was one of the most visually impressive wins Ive seen in some time; while 2 ticks slower than CS, she was never asked by Flores.
Kevroc More than 1 year ago
It pays to pay attention... I did not know that Sunday's card was cancelled until it was too late. I get stable mail about any carryovers, and my inbox showed the double carryover, so I went to drf.com and downloaded the PP's for Sunday. I stayed up til 2am handicapping and making tickets. I felt good about the card... and then Sunday morning I read on NYRA's site about the cancelation.. I wish drf wouldn't have let me purchase the PP's.
jrzingg More than 1 year ago
I noticed you said Presious Passion got questionable rides the last two races. He won the McKnight on Sat. That's a nice observation, but how did you come up with it. Did you see the two races, or what?
tracy hernandez More than 1 year ago
I see I'm the only upset that aqueduct cancel their card today...yesterday before they ran saturday......DRF is scare to respond to this event....I still say they cancel because Dutrow threaten to scratch his horse in the grade 3 sprint. DRf should respond to this unpredcent canceling of races while still ore than 24 hours away and running races....?????
Teresa More than 1 year ago
Mr/Ms Hernandez: I can't say for sure, but I think that I can recall other times that racing was cancelled the day before. Given the forecast, it makes complete sense that racing was cancelled ahead of time; just this week, NYRA received bad press for waiting until the last minute to cancel racing. So, damned if you do, damned if you don't. Unlikely that anything other than the weather contributed to yesterday's decision.
Phil J. More than 1 year ago
jrzingg, PP was hung 3 wide almost the entire trip in the stake on the soft ground at the Big A. I liked him next out at Calder at a price but he disappointed and I didn't feel he had an excuse in that one, so I got off him Saturday.
C More than 1 year ago
I live about 15 minutes from Aqueduct. They could've raced today with no problem. However, I can understand that the weather wasn't supposed to be this mild. The inner dirt track is already 'winterized', right? Would anything have changed if Aqueduct had a synthetic 'all-weather' surface? Probably not. I think they would've cancelled either way.
cayman01 More than 1 year ago
Steve, hope you had a nice saver ticket at 67-1 on Presious Passion. If not, then that sound I here outside isn't thunder but you kicking yourself home from the Big A.
Parfour More than 1 year ago
Gee steve, wish i read this blog entry alot sooner. Hope your stand against Electrify at calder didn't cost you the P4. 67/1 on Precious in the nightcap, sometimes those under horses can suprise; like a $10K p4, was live myself to 3 runners on a $18 ticket for $1.
Pat More than 1 year ago
The promise of a $162K Double Carryover for the 26th at AQU will have me waiting on those PP's like a child looking for Santa...