06/18/2010 8:52PM

Saturday Stakes Opinions


Let's take a look at some of Saturday's stakes races:

All Along - Colonial Downs - Race 9:
The usual nice grouping at Colonial Downs.  TIZAQUEENA has won three of her last four and is a stakes-winner on synthetic, turf, and dirt.  SHARED ACCOUNT goes second off the layoff and showed a fondness for this surface when headed by BLIND DATE in last year's Virginia Oaks.  CASABLANCA SMILE makes her first start in North America after competing in two-thirds of the Chilean Triple Crown.  Second in the Clasico El Ensayo Cristal (first leg), she skipped the St. Leger Cristal (second leg) to narrowly win the Chilean Oaks before taking El Derby by six lengths.  Away since late January, she is now in the Shug McGaughey barn and the workout on May 30 matches up with McGaughey's filly Consequence (2009 American 1000 Guineas winner finished third with an 88 Beyer in a 'n2x' optional claimer at Belmont on June 11). 
I'll go with New York invader Dynaslew, a filly that is a perfect 2-2 since joining Seth Benzel's barn earlier this year.  Dynaslew put them to sleep on the front end last time out in the Grade 3 Beaugay at Belmont, defeating a pair of next-out winners (Chestoria, 91 Beyer in Mt. Vernon Stakes and Strike the Bell, 93 Beyer in 'n2x' allowance at Monmouth).  She seems equally effective from just off the pace and may work out a nice ground-saving, pace-tracking trip under Alan Garcia.
Selections:  Dynaslew, Shared Account, Omega Cat

Colonial Turf Cup - Colonial Downs - Race 10:
This marks the return of PADDY O'PRADO, third in the Kentucky Derby and a Grade 3 winner on grass.  He figures to take a good deal of money along with my top selection, DOUBLES PARTNER.  The impeccably-bred Doubles Partner (by Rock Hard Ten out of a full sister to Serena's Song) is 3-3 on grass for trainer Todd Pletcher.  He received an excellent setup last time out in the Grade 2 American Turf on Kentucky Oaks afternoon at Churchill Downs as he rallied into a hot pace to win well over Asphalt.  There should be enough pace to aid him once again at Colonial with TWO NOTCH ROAD and WORKIN FOR HOPS in the lineup.  Doubles Partner has had plenty of time to recover from that Beyer top earned on April 30, shows three consecutive five-furlong breezes for Todd Pletcher, and should be charging hard in the stretch. 
Selections:  Doubles Partner, Paddy O'Prado, Workin for Hops

Affirmed Handicap - Hollywood Park - Race 8:
GOLDEN ITIZ figures to be warm on the toteboard following a pair of nice victories and one could argue that the Tiznow colt has the most promise of any three-year-old in the field.  I'll give SKIPSHOT one more chance after the ridgeling finished an even fifth in the Grade 3 Lazaro Barrera Memorial going seven furlongs on May 22.  He'll go second off the bench for Jerry Hollendorfer and figures to be close up to the projected moderate pace in this two-turn test.  Skipshot has done his best running over the Tapeta surface in Northern California and still must prove he can hang on this circuit.  This may be his last chance to prove that he can be a reliable second- or third-tier option in the division.
Selections:  Skipshot, Golden Itiz, Distorted Dave

New York - Belmont - Race 9:
I'll try to beat GOZZIP GIRL, last year's American Oaks winner that went off form from a speed figure perspective (albeit on soft turf courses) in her last two races of 2009.  She'll have to successfully navigate a demanding 10 furlongs in her first start since October and she won't be facing any pushovers. 
AVE looked good in her North American debut for Roger Attfield and will get my money on Saturday.  In the Grade 3 Gallorette on Preakness afternoon, Ave broke slowly, and trailed the field while saving ground.  She was last on the rail turning for home, but put in a good late run to finish third, beaten only a half-length by Rainbow View.  Ave is a Group 3 winner at 9 1/2 furlongs and should appreciate today's added distance for her second start of the campaign.  The major concern is pace as there doesn't appear to be much speed in the lineup. 
Selections:  Ave, Daveron, Lady Shakespeare

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

Best of luck to all.