09/20/2008 8:29AM

Saturday stakes opinions


This looks more like a "Win and You're 30-1 or More in the Breeders' Cup" than a true challenge series race.  Jonesboro is the deserving favorite as he's a legitimate listed stakes horse going against mostly high-level allowance runners.  He was beaten at short odds last time out at Remington, albeit with the help of a poor ride by Ramsey Zimmerman, and may get cooked up in an early duel with Longley.  Jonesboro is the most likely winner, but may not be worth the short price.  Smokeyjonessutton is the classic sucker horse, but I'm a classic sucker, and I'll land on him despite his 2-21 record, and multiple failures at the 'n2x' level.  He's been facing some solid runners in his recent races (Ravel, Mambo in Seattle, Past the Point), and has the tactical speed to sit just off Jonesboro and Longley.  Got the Last Laugh defeated Street Sense as a two-year-old in the Arlington-Washington Futurity, but he hasn't done much since.  He raced evenly in the Evangeline Mile last month, and can sit a decent ground-saving trip from the rail.  If he summons some of that back ability, he can be there at a price.  Autobeacat may be a bit more effective on the grass, but there's no denying he's in career-best form.
Selections:   Smokeyjonessutton, Jonesboro, Got the Last Laugh

Super Derby:
Macho Again looks like a strong favorite, but in keeping with the theme of today's blog, I'll try to beat the chalk.  He had trouble in the Travers, but reportedly came out of the race a bit sore.  He's fine now, and is the most established horse in the race, but the price is simply unappetizing.  His big score came in the Jim Dandy, and that race was slower than Mambo in Seattle's nine-furlong race a half-hour earlier at the Spa.  There's no telling how good Forest Command will be, but I'm not sure I want him trying two turns for the first time from the far outside post at what may be underlay status.  He was an easy winner at Saratoga last time, but drifted out noticeably in the stretch, and is spotting valuable experience to his rivals.  I'll take a shot with local hope Star Production, a triple-digit Beyer winner two back against Louisiana-breds.  He followed that up with a game score against open opposition in the Prelude.  The distance is a question mark, and so is the pace scenario, but this gelding is in career form.  I'm hoping Forest Command and My Pal Charlie leave him alone in the early part of the race although that may be asking for too much.  My Pal Charlie has bounced around the division content to pick up a few checks here and there.  He didn't have an easy trip in the West Virginia Derby when asked to move into the teeth of a hot pace.  Real Appeal's late kick in the WV Derby was probably aided by that pace.  Golden Yank is an intriguing runner.  He goes second off the layoff after rallying into modest splits in the Prelude, and may get a better setup here.
Selections:  Star Production, Macho Again, Forest Command

He's not going to pick against Commentator, is he?  I am although it's probably foolish to do so.  He's one of the fastest horses in the country, faces suspect competition, and has been free of the physical ailments that plagued him in recent years.  Although Riversrunrylee has some speed, Commentator has classy speed, and he should be able to flick that foe away down the backstretch.  He's just not playable at the price.  Cuba is probably a stretch, but I landed on him to pull off the upset.  He had a terrible time of it during the stretch run of the Iselin as he had no place to go while trapped in behind horses.  He's probably not in Commentator's league, but is worth a flier at a better price.  I'm not really a Dr. Pleasure fan although it's possible he's finally turned the corner.  His most recent win at Saratoga was easily the fastest race of his career, but he was drifting out while well clear, and just hasn't been that reliable. 
Selections:  Cuba, Commentator, Dr. Pleasure

I've probably just put all of the favorites in the winner's circle.

Let me know who you like this weekend.

Back Monday evening with weekend thoughts and Beyers.