02/11/2012 11:47AM

Saturday Stakes Opinions

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Let's take a peek at some of this weekend's stakes action:

DEARLY PRECIOUS STAKES - AQUEDUCT - RACE 4:

Only a field of four are scheduled to compete in the Dearly Precious following the scratch of outsider MARVELOUS MARGARET, but the top three betting choices look close on ability.  WELL KEPT and CORDEROSA, the two-three finishers of the Ruthless Stakes on the Aqueduct inner track on January 14, don't have to face the talented Agave Kiss this time around and that is a big class relief.  Both of Well Kept's lifetime victories have come over wet going and she catches a slushy day in New York this afternoon.  I'll give her a slight nod over Corderosa, who certainly has scope for improvement in her third lifetime start.  SINGLET blew away a pair of next-out optional claiming winners when taking the Xtra Heat Stakes by six lengths here on January 5 and may work out a good stalking trip from the outside. 
SELECTIONS:  WELL KEPT, CORDEROSA, SINGLET

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SUWANNEE RIVER STAKES - GULFSTREAM - RACE 9:

As of this writing, the Suwannee River is still scheduled to be contested over a "good" turf course. HIT IT RICH fits the profile of a late-blooming Shug McGaughey-trained runner, and she won at Saratoga over "good" ground last summer.  She was very impressive in taking her last two starts and her tactical speed should put her in good stead this afternoon.  SPEAK EASY GAL and PERSUADING both have early foot and Hit It Rich may work out a good trip tracking those two from close range.  Hit It Rich didn't beat the toughest field in the world when taking the Grade 3 Long Island Handicap in her 2011 finale, but she did it the right way and looks like a solid play if she goes off at close to the track's 8-1 morning line.
SELECTIONS:  HIT IT RICH, SPEAK EASY GAL, HEAVENLY LANDING

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DONN HANDICAP - GULFSTREAM - RACE 10:

It's a classy renewal of the Donn with classic winners SHACKLEFORD and RULER ON ICE tackling TRICKMEISTER, immaculate after five lifetime starts.  Sprinkle in six more graded winners and a sloppy track and just about anything can happen here.  I'm a big fan of REDEEMED and will go with him to pull off the mild upset.  Never off the board from eight lifetime starts, Redeemed came into his own at the end of 2011, taking the Oklahoma Derby at Remington and the Grade 3 Discovery Handicap at Aqueduct with identical 94 Beyers.  There is no doubt that Redeemed needs to run faster against this tougher company, but this professional 4-year-old seems like an up-and-comer that could work out a good trip tracking Trickmeister and Shackleford. 
SELECTIONS:  REDEEMED, SHACKLEFORD, MISSION IMPAZIBLE

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SAN MARCOS STAKES - SANTA ANITA - RACE 9:

SANAGAS looks like the horse to beat in the San Marcos, but ten furlongs might be a little too short for him and the main goal down the road is the Melbourne Cup at the end of the year.  NORVSKY, on the other hand, might find this distance a bit too far, but he was very impressive in taking the Grade 2 San Gabriel Stakes over two quality performers in Jeranimo and THE USUAL Q. T.  Norvsky is in career form for trainer Donald Warren and it will be interesting to see where Joe Talamo places him in what looks like a paceless race.
SELECTIONS:  NORVSKY, SANAGAS, THE USUAL Q.T.

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Check out the video previews that Mike Beer and I produced at the following link:

http://www.drf.com/events/weekend-stakes-previews-picks-analysis-more

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