05/08/2010 12:57PM

Weekend opinions


I'm currently sans a pair of wisdom teeth - left side - so my handicapping opinions this week won't only be painful to all of you.

The pair of graded stakes races for three-year-olds came back a bit light on paper, didn't they?  The Lone Star Derby is a tough one to look at without getting dizzy and the Dwyer features several runners looking to make a name for themselves in the division. 

RAIL TRIP is back in action in the Mervyn LeRoy Handicap for older runners at Hollywood Park.  If he's fully recovered from his feet woes, he very much looms the horse to beat (every Beyer figure earned in his career is faster than the last-race Beyer from each of his opponents) in a race I won't be betting.

Dwyer - Belmont Park - Race 9:
There doesn't appear to be a ton of speed in the Dwyer and that may help out the lightly-raced REMAND, a colt that stretches out after finishing third in the seven-furlong Bay Shore at Aqueduct.  Remand won his debut for trainer Tim Hamm last year over the Keeneland polytrack and was then puchased by Sovereign Stable.  Turned over to John Terranova, Remand had the misfortune to try Eskendereya in his lone start over the winter at Gulfstream.  Toss in the fact that he acted up terribly in the gate, banging his head and ankle in the process and that race becomes a throw-out.  I liked his performance in the Bay Shore.  After being impeded at the start, he rushed up to track the pace while wide and in-and-among horses.  He made a three-wide bid before finishing evenly for third behind next-out Derby Trial winner Hurricane Ike. 
The distance may turn out to be the main stumbling block for Remand, however.  His sire, Successful Appeal is a source of sprint and mile speed.  The dam's only win came sprinting.  A half-brother won at 1 1/16 miles, but that race was on grass.  Still, this horse has some promise.  If he is ever going to get the distance, it may be around one-turn with the aid of a moderate to slow pace.
Selections:  Remand, Drosselmeyer, Fly Down

Lone Star Derby - Race 9:
Unlike the Dwyer, the pace should be quick in the Lone Star Derby.  Stretchout spriner HENSHIN HERO figures to be gunning to the lead and he could face some pressure from first-time router WANDO REDD and recent gate-to-wire winner THATLLEAVEAMARK.  Henshin Hero is quicker than those two, but he is questionable to stay the trip. 
GAME ON DUDE and CRIDER look like the logical horses to pick up the pieces if the speed collapses.  I'm not a fan of the former, a Bob Baffert-trained gelding adding blinkers for the first time.  I'm looking for his good race and can't find one.  He prompted the pace over a speed-favoring track in his debut only to come up short.  He won the slower division of one-mile maiden special weights at Gulfstream on February 27, and then didn't do anything in the Florida Derby.  He missed the Lexington with a lung infection and didn't pick up his feet over sloppy going in the Derby Trial.  I'll let him beat me. 
I'll go with Crider, a Steve Asmussen-trained colt that disappointed at 1-2 last time out at Oaklawn Park.  He made a clear lead turning for home that afternoon only to be run down by a newly-blinkered closer named A Student.  Crider had no chance chasing Conveyance over a speed-biased track in the Southwest in his previous outing.  Perhaps, he doesn't want to go this far, but he should receive a good pace setup.
Selections:  Crider, Henshin Hero, Wando Redd

Unbridled Sidney - Churchill Downs - Race 9:
I know that CANDY CANE was beaten for $50,000 in her most recent start and now has to deal with a decent group of filly and mare turf sprinters in this stakes race, but she'll make her first start off the Richard Dutrow Jr. claim and has been given plenty of time to acclimate to her new boss.
Candy Cane has some tactical speed, was bumped around a bit last time out at Gulfstream, and has hit the exacta in 18 of 33 lifetime starts.  She also has a hint of back class and she just missed by a nose over the course and distance last Fall. 
Selections:  Candy Cane, Knockout Bertie, Selva

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

Best of luck to all.