09/29/2007 11:39AM

Saturday's Prep Lineup


There are 49 stakes races across the country today but the really key Breeders' Cup preps are the seven Grade 1 or 2 stakes races on the crowded calendar. Here's a handy-dandy lineup card:

4:31 p.m. EST, OSA race 3: G1 $400k Yellow Ribbon 1 1/4m-T (BC F&M Turf)
A field of six with two standouts and one mildly intriguing shipper. The principals are Nashoba's Key, undefeated in six career starts, the first three on grass and the next three on synthetics including the G1 Vanity; and Citronnade, who won five straight stakes in California this year (including the G1 Gamely) before a poor-start clunker as the 2-1 favorite in the G1 Beverly D. Citronnade appears to have a tactical advantage as the lone speed but 10 furlongs is stretching it for her. Nashoba's Key has a flawless record but was facing much weaker in her three previous grass tries. The interesting shipper is Mauralakana, coming off a very fast-closing second to Rosinka in Saratoga's G3 Glens Falls.

4:40 p.m. EST, Bel race 8: G1 $600k Flower Bowl, 1 1/4m-T (BC F&M Turf)
Last year's Yellow Ribbon winner and champion 3-year-old filly, Wait a While, stays home this year and heads a strong field of nine. Wait a While avenged two losses to My Typhoon and returned to top form winning the Balston Spa last time out. My Typhoon was a dull sixth that day and faces a distance hurdle here as she is 7-for-10 at a mile and a sixteenth and under and just 2-for-10 at a mile and an eighth or over. Other contenders include Beverly D. winner Royal Highness, the streaking Rosinka, and perpetual bridesmaid Argentina.

5:12 p.m. EST, Bel race 9: G2 $250k Kelso H. 1m-T (BC Mile)
After Market is the field's lone G1 winner but may be vulnerable conceding 7 to 12 pounds to his 10 rivals while shortening up to a mile off four straight California stakes scores going longer. Icy Atlantic and Kavafi are his most accomplished rivals, and stretch-out turf sprinter English Colony is an interesting prospect in his graded-stakes debut. ML second choice Art Master has been scratched.

5:42 p.m. EST, TP race 10: G2 $350k Kentucky Cup Classic 1 1/8m-Poly (BC Classic)
Most of the Kentucky Cup races came up weak ones this year, with few or any serious BC propects in the two juvenile races, the Sprint or the Distaff, but the main event got Street Sense and Hard Spun, ducking Lawyer Ron and the Jockey Club Gold Cup. As discussed earlier this week, Hard Spun may have things his own way today as the lone speed in a field of five, and Street Sense is unlikely to be fully cranked up and has a history of using these Polytrack preps purely as preps for bigger things.

6:30 p.m. EST, OSA race 7: G1 $250k Oak Leaf, 1 1/16m-Cushion (BC Juv. Fillies)
All the leading contenders will be trying two turns and the distance for the first time, so take your best guess on who's going to stretch out. Cry and Catch Me is the 5-2 ML favorite off a big-figure maiden win, but that race was at 5 1/2 furlongs. Tasha's Miracle, who beat Cry and Catch Me in the latter's debut and then won the Sorrento, looks more solid, as does Sorrento runner-up Set Play, who then returned to win the G1 Del Mar Debutante. The Golden Noodle beat a few of these in the Landaluce and figures to stretch out nicely but hasn't been out since June 30 and may need one.

6:50 p.m. EST, Haw race 10: G2 $500k Haw. Gold Cup, 1 1/4m-dirt (BC Classic)
Student Council will try to validate his Pacific Classic upset victory and found a pretty soft spot to try it, a $500k race for older horses where no one routinely puts up triple-digit Beyers. A.P. Arrow seems victory-averse but his best races are a little bit better than these, and front-running Jonesboro is the only other graded-stakes winner in the field of six.

7:37 p.m. EST, OSA race 9: G1 $500,000 Goodwood H., 1 1/8m-Cushion (BC Classic)
Lava Man is the 2-1 ML favorite and one of six in the field of 10 who were beaten by Student Council last time out. Lava Man runs better on Cushion Track than the Polytrack over which he floundered at Del Mar, but the bigger question is whether he's the same horse he was in previous years. His Hollywood Gold Cup was a stirring but slow triumph over second-raters who have never run as well before or since. The plausible alternatives include Arson Squad, Tiago, Awesome Gem and Lewis Michael.

Fasten your seat belt and get used to the pace: tomorrow and both days next weekend are just as crowded.