07/02/2011 10:26AM

July 4 Weekend!!!

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There's a little treat for all handicappers over this holiday weekend.

Like turf horses?  How about the United Nations at Monmouth featuring European invaders CHINCHON and STACELITA?  Not to be outdone is the Shoemaker Mile at Hollywood Park where COURAGEOUS CAT, runner-up in the 2009 Breeders' Cup Mile, continues his comeback against defending champion VICTOR'S CRY, the solid CARACORTADO, and speedy LIBERIAN FREIGHTER. 

The Handicap division has been a bit of a dud in 2011.  Perhaps a new shooter will emerge in the historic Suburban Handicap at Belmont Park. 

With the 3-year-old Males in disarray as we begin the second half of the season, the Dwyer could launch a runner or two into some of the summer's bigger stakes events. 

The Salvator Mile looks like a dogfight in the making with MORNING LINE, SOARING EMPIRE and RULE renewing acquaintances.  The survivor gets a "Win and You're In" berth for the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile.  Then again, a big performance may vault the winner into some juicy Handicap pots.

How about sprinters?  The Triple Bend is shaping up as a nice race at Hollywood with SMILING TIGER and AMAZOMBIE expected to lock horns.

Even juvenile performers get an opportunity to earn some graded money (can't get enough of that with the Kentucky Derby ten months away) in races like the Futurity, Matron and Bashford Manor (the New York races better-known as 'N2L' races). 

Here are some opinions:

TRIPLE BEND HANDICAP - Hollywood Park - Race 9:

SMILING TIGER and AMAZOMBIE should prove very tough in the Triple Bend, but let's not completely ignore M ONE RIFLE, the 2009 Malibu winner at this seven-furlong distance.  M One Rifle has come to hand of late for trainer Bruce Headley, setting a new track record in the five-furlong Cool French Stakes two back (114 Beyer Speed Figure) before finishing third behind Amazombie and CAMP VICTORY in the Grade 3 Los Angeles Handicap on May 30. 
M ONE RIFLE probably wasn't going to win the Los Angeles with a clean trip, but he was bumped around pretty good in midstretch and still kept on grinding away for a minor award.  He has good speed and Chantal Sutherland may want to escape the inside post by sending the Cal-bred immediately to the front.  It will be a tall order for M One Rifle, but he's good enough on his very best day and will offer a hint of wagering value.
Selections:  M ONE RIFLE, AMAZOMBIE, CAMP VICTORY

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JERSEY SHORE - Monmouth - Race 9 (Sunday):

This six-furlong dash features the return of FLASHPOINT, the brilliant winner of the Grade 2 Hutcheson Stakes at seven furlongs during the Gulfstream meet.  After that effort, his connections came down with a case of Triple Crown fever and Flashpoint was promptly drubbed in both the Florida Derby and Preakness.  Flashpoint shows some quick workouts and will really appreciate moving back to a sprint, but there are some up-and-comers that deserve our attention as well.
PARENT'S HONOR is an interesting horse to analyze.  In his first seven race, he won twice with a career-best Beyer of 74.  Last time out, Parent's Honor freaked.  Entered for the $50,000 tag in a 'n1x' optional claimer at Delaware, Parent's Honor won off by seven lengths and received a 99 Beyer.  Did Parent's Honor simply figure the game out?  Or, is the 99 Beyer an anomaly that should be ignored on Sunday?  In these cases, the toteboard is your best friend.  If Parent's Honor is hammered in the wagering, it may be best to seek a price elsewhere.  With Flashpoint, the undefeated C J RUSSELL, Rumson winner ZERO RATE POLICY and Todd Pletcher's Cal Nation in the race, however, Parent's Honor may go off as a bettable price.  Besides, the last race was visually impressive as well.  Parent's Honor broke a half-length slow, was hustled up to track the leaders from the three path, moved four wide on the turn and blew the doors off everyone.  Yes, the pace collapsed that day, but Parent's Honor will once again receive quick fractions to attack.  Trainer Tony Dutrow has sent out nothing but live runners at Monmouth this meet. 
Selections:  PARENT'S HONOR, ZERO RATE POLICY, C J RUSSELL

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Some quick-and-dirty selections:

Dwyer:  TECH FALL, ADIOS CHARLIE, DOMINUS
Suburban:  HYMN BOOK, RODMAN, CONVOCATION
United Nations:  CHINCHON, STACELITA, TEAKS NORTH
Shoemaker Mile:  CARACORTADO, COURAGEOUS CAT, VICTOR'S CRY
Futurity:  GETUPWITHTHESUN, TARPY'S GOAL, LARGE KAUFY
Matron:  DEFY GRAVITY, SAY A NOVENA, BORN BULLISH
Bed O'Roses - TAMARIND HALL, HILDA'S PASSION, CURLINA

For in-depth video analyses, please click on the link below, scroll down to the second video player, and click on the name of the stakes race:

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

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

Enjoy the holiday!