10/01/2011 9:57AM

A Super Weekend

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It's a Super Weekend for racing fans and handicappers!

Here are a few opinions on some of the major stakes races:

Arc de Triomphe - Longchamp (Sunday)

The horses running in the Arc, one of the crown jewels in racing, have amazing credentials.  Don't believe me?

Horse - Grade/Group 1 Race Won

Workforce - 2010 Epsom Derby, 2010 Arc de Triomphe
St. Nicholas Abbey - 2009 Racing Post Trophy, 2011 Coronation Cup
Hiruno d'Amour - 2011 Tenno Sho
Nakayama Festa - 2010 Takarazuka Kinen
So You Think - 2009 Cox Plate, 2010 Underwood Stakes, 2010 Yalumba Stakes, 2010 Cox Plate, 2010 MacKinnon Stakes, 2011 Tattersalls Gold Cup, 2011 Coral-Eclipse Stakes, 2011 Irish Champion Stakes
Sarafina - 2010 Prix Saint-Alary, 2010 Prix de Diane (French Oaks), 2011 Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud
Snow Fairy - 2010 English Oaks, 2010 Irish Oaks, 2010 Queen Elizabeth II Commemorative Cup, 2010 Hong Kong Cup
Treasure Beach - 2011 Irish Derby, 2011 Secretariat Stakes
Meandre - 2011 Grand Prix de Paris
Masked Marvel - 2011 English St. Leger
Reliable Man - 2011 Prix du Jockey Club (French Derby)
Danedream - 2011 Grosser Preis von Berlin, 2011 Grosser Preis von Baden
Galikova - 2011 Prix Vermeille

It's a 16-horse field at 1 1/2 miles over the Longchamp green and I'm going to focus my wagers on MASKED MARVEL, currently trading around 12-1 in the international pools.  Supplemented to the Arc for 100,000 Euros, Masked Marvel most recently won the Group 1 St. Leger at 1 and 13/16 miles.  Some may say that the Arc's distance is a bit too short for Masked Marvel, a true stayer, but he remained fairly close (about five lengths off) to a grueling pace in the St. Leger.  While most of his rivals were being asked for run, Masked Marvel traveled smoothly until the two furlong mark.  When he was produced by his jockey, William Buick, Masked Marvel moved to the front and was never threatened late en route to the course record win.  His trainer, John Gosden, certainly knows what he's doing and Masked Marvel may have a bit more in the tank. 

Selections:    MASKED MARVEL, NAKAYAMA FESTA, RELIABLE MAN

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Flower Bowl - Belmont - Race 5:

STACELITA, a five-time Grade/Group 1 winner, is obviously the short-priced horse to beat following a perfect-trip win in the Grade 1 Beverly D. at Arlington.  She's the one you probably want to lean on most heavily in multi-race wagers, but I'm going to take a shot with DYNASLEW.  After a successful 2010 season (Grade 3 Beaugay, Grade 2 Ballston Spa Handicap), Dynaslew went off form to begin 2011.  Her most recent effort, a second in the Grade 3 Glens Falls at Saratoga, indicates that Dynaslew may be slowly rounding back into form.  With the addition of blinkers, she showed good early speed and took a challenge from a longshot late on the backstretch before opening up a big lead on the final turn.  She failed to stave off EMERALD BEECH in the lane, but may be the lone speed once again in today's Flower Bowl.  If her opposition falls asleep at the wheel and lets Dynaslew steal away, she may prove hard to catch.

Selections:    DYNASLEW, STACELITA, EMERALD BEECH

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Vosburgh - Belmont - Race 7: 

The scratch of BIG DRAMA makes TRAPPE SHOT a big favorite and I'm not going to try and beat him in the Vosburgh.  Last year, he showed the natural ability to stretch his speed around two turns and he was even the favorite in the Travers at 1 1/4 miles.  But he's always been a sprinter at heart.  This season, Kiaran McLaughlin concentrated on short-distance races with Trappe Shot and the results have been excellent (three starts, three triple-digit Beyer).  He just missed last time out in the Grade 1 Vanderbilt and draws a comfortable outside post from which he can stalk the pace.

Selections:     TRAPPE SHOT, CALIBRACHOA, EUROEARS

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Kelso - Belmont - Race 8:

A man has a right to change his mind.  In my video preview of the race with Mike Beer (see below for links), I sided with UNCLE MO, last year's juvenile champion making his second start following a serious illness.  And he is the most likely winner of the Kelso.  But after some study, I'm going to try to beat him with JERSEY TOWN, the winner of the 2010 Cigar Mile for trainer Barclay Tagg.  Jersey Town underwent ankle surgery after the Cigar and Tagg has taken it very slow with his Grade 1 winner.  In his first start of the season, Jersey Town finished second behind the quick Force Freeze while defeating millionaire, and next-out 98-Beyer winner, Ravalo.  Last time out, in the Grade 1 Forego, Jersey Town broke well, but was rated back to track the pace from the inside.  He angled four wide turning for home and stayed on well to run second behind JACKSON BEND.  Jersey Town has to improve, but he's shown a natural progression in his two starts since the surgery and may be ready for another forward move.  He has sneaky early speed and may try to control this short field from the rail.

Selections:     JERSEY TOWN, UNCLE MO, JACKSON BEND

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Lady's Secret - Santa Anita - Race 6:

BLIND LUCK is a wonderful, wonderful filly that is going to be a deserving short price in the Lady's Secret.  I'm not extremely confident, but I'll try to take her down with ZAZU, a three-year-old filly that is very consistent.  Two back, Zazu received a perfect ground-saving trip on her way to winning the Grade 2 Hollywood Oaks over cushion track.  Last time out, in her first race against her elders in the Clement L. Hirsch at Del Mar, Zazu again attempted to save ground, but she had to wait just a bit before shooting through the rail in upper stretch.  She was moving strongly at the end, but race-winner ULTRA BLEND had most of the momentum and Zazu had to settle for second, beaten a neck.  Zazu is capable on dirt and will get the jump on Blind Luck turning for home.  This is a tall task, but Zazu is pretty solid.

Selections:     ZAZU, BLIND LUCK, ASK THE MOON

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Goodwood - Santa Anita - Race 7:

ACCLAMATION is likely to scratch from here to run Sunday on turf and that may leave GAME ON DUDE loose on the lead.  Game On Dude may not have taken to the polytrack surface at Del Mar in the Pacific Classic and now gets back to the scene of his Big 'Cap win.  He's going to be dangerous, but I'm looking for a big price with GOLDEN ITIZ, a horse trying dirt for the first time for trainer Ron Ellis.  Golden Itiz hinted at being a player in the 3-year-old division last year after winning three of his first four races, but physical problems relegated him to the sidelines for the second half.  Golden Itiz put up a big number sprinting two starts back before a dreadful performance over the polytrack in the San Diego Handicap.  I'm hoping that the last race was more due to the surface than to any other factor.  He'll be a big price in the Goodwood and deserves one more chance.

Selections:     GOLDEN ITIZ, GAME ON DUDE, AWESOME GEM

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Yellow Ribbon - Santa Anita - Race 10:

DUBAWI HEIGHTS had her four-race win streak snapped by the good Stacelita in the Grade 1 Beverly D., but Dubawi Heights earned her career-best Beyer in that excellent runner-up effort.  She set moderate fractions, but gave up the inside to the pocket-sitting winner turning for home.  Once passed, Dubawi Heights refused to quit and she tried hard all the way to the wire.  She doesn't need the lead to succeed but she should be close when the real running begins.  There are some good runners, as usual, in the Yellow Ribbon, but Dubawi Heights' 'A' race might be too tough for the rest.

Selections:     DUBAWI HEIGHTS, MALIBU PIER, MEDAGLIA D'AMOUR

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Clement L. Hirsch - Santa Anita (Sunday) - Race 4:

ACCLAMATION has won four in a row and figures to be wheeling-and-dealing on the lead in the Hirsch.  He's been a revelation this year and figures extremely tough on Sunday.  Still, I'm wondering if CHAMP PEGASUS will try to keep Acclamation somewhat honest for the backstretch run.  That could set things up for IMPONENTE PURSE, a much-improved 5-year-old for trainer A. C. Avila.  Imponente Purse saved ground in midpack behind a slow pace, but rallied nicely along the rail for third and galloped out with gusto.  The Hirsch distance may be a bit short for Imponente Purse, but he's in excellent form and should be rallying stoutly in the lane.  All he needs is a bit of pace.

Selections:     IMPONENTE PURSE, ACCLAMATION, CHAMP PEGASUS

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Here are quick and dirty selections for some of the other big stakes:

Turf Classic:     CAPE BLANCO, MISSION APPROVED, TEAKS NORTH
Cotillion:          IT'S TRICKY, PLUM PRETTY, LOVE AND PRIDE
Beldame:         HAVRE DE GRACE, ROYAL DELTA, LIFE AT TEN
JCGC:              FLAT OUT, STAY THIRSTY, RODMAN
Norfolk:           DRILL, CREATIVE CAUSE, BASMATI
Miss Grillo:      SLIP ALONG BAND, SWEET CAT, ALAURA MICHELE
Pilgrim:           STATE OF PLAY, SHKSPEARE SHALIYAH, KNOCK ROCK
Oak Leaf:        CANDREA, SILENT SAGE, WEEMISSFRANKIE

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For a more detailed analysis, check out the videos that Mike Beer and I filmed earlier in the week.

http://www.drf.com/events/jockey-club-gold-cup-belmont

http://www.drf.com/events/ladys-secret-santa-anita

http://www.drf.com/events/arc-de-triomphe-longchamp

http://www.drf.com/events/cotillion-stakes-parx-racing

http://www.drf.com/events/oak-leaf-stakes-santa-anita

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

Enjoy the races!