04/21/2012 10:08AM

Weekend Stakes Opinions

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Let's take a look at this weekend's graded stakes races:

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*Some quick-and-dirty tablesetters:

*Jerome Stakes:  TERM LOAN, THE LUMBER GUY, STIRRED UP
*Lexington Stakes:  NEWS PENDING, JOHANNESBOURBON, MORGAN'S GUERRILLA
*San Simeon Handicap:  AIN'T NO OTHER, COMPARI, IRISH ART

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SIXTY SAILS HANDICAP - HAWTHORNE - RACE 9:

SHE'S ALL IN, an Oklahoma-bred that won her maiden for $15,000 at Will Rogers Downs in 2010, has blossomed this winter at Oaklawn for trainer Donnie Von Hemel.  A ten-time winner, She's All In recently finished an excellent second in the Grade 3 Azeri Stakes on March 17.  That afternoon, she was involved in a pace dispute with favored Absinthe Minded from the inside and she felt strong pressure from second-choice Joyful Victory when that one made a wide bid on the final turn.  She's All In fended both of those foes off, but couldn't beat back the late challenge of Tiz Miz Sue.  She's All In earned a career-best 97 Beyer Speed Figure for that effort and she seems just as effective when rating off the pace.  She gets nine pounds from highweight ARENA ELVIRA and looks like a decent chance at her 5-1 morning line odds.

SELECTIONS:  SHE'S ALL IN, BELOVEDA, JUANITA

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SANTA BARBARA HANDICAP - SANTA ANITA - RACE 9:

I'm looking for a longshot chance in the Grade 2 Santa Barbara and will take my shot with HARD SEVEN, a filly that has never been off the board in five turf races.  A multiple stakes-winner on grass at Turf Paradise, Hard Seven was hardly disgraced when she tried the big time in the Grade 2 Santa Ana Stakes on March 25.  Dismissed at 67-1 odds, Hard Seven prompted the early leader from the two-path and looked to be in a bit of trouble when she had to be ridden on the final turn.  But, to her credit, she stayed on very gamely while in between horses, only lost by a half-length and galloped out past the field.  Although she was fast enough to win her debut at 4 1/2 furlongs on dirt at Prairie Meadows, her recent race indicates that she stays.  I'm expecting her to be close to the pace once again and she should get the jump on the logical closers turning into the stretch. 
 

SELECTIONS:  HARD SEVEN, VAMO A GALUPIAR, CAPITAL PLAN

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WHIMSICAL STAKES - WOODBINE (SUNDAY) - RACE 8:

HONEY CHILE scratched out of a race at Keeneland on Saturday for a run in the Whimsical and her form may be dirtied up due to circumstance rather than her tailing off form.  Grade 2-placed on synthetic, Honey Chile has excellent early speed. She made the front in her last two races, but Julien Leparoux wrangled her back to track the pace from the inside.  Two back, in the Ladies Turf Sprint at Gulfstream, Honey Chile finished an even third after being discouraged.  Last time, at Keeneland, she just didn't do any running and faltered badly.  I'm hoping the Keeneland running line sends bettors scurrying to others and that Honey Chile is allowed to use her greatest asset - her speed - in Sunday's Whimsical at Woodbine. 

SELECTIONS:  HONEY CHILE, ATLANTIC HURRICANE, SWEET CASSIOPEIA

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BEN ALI STAKES - KEENELAND (SUNDAY) - RACE 8:

This race marks the return of WISE DAN, a Grade 1 winner on dirt, a Grade 2 winner on turf and a Grade 3 winner on synthetic and he is quite obviously the horse to beat in the Ben Ali.  But, he'll have to give five pounds to all as he makes his first start of the year at a demanding nine-furlong distance.  He will take a ton of money and I will look elsewhere for value.  For me, ROGUE ROMANCE looks like the play.  Away from the races for over a year due to a heel bruise and a fractured wing bone in his left front foot, Rogue Romance showed no rust when winning an 'n2x' optional claimer at Gulfstream on Florida Derby afternoon.  He professionally rated along the inside and seemed to be outmoved when angling three wide and in between horses on the far turn.  Rogue Romance dug in, however, and was drawing away at the end of his three-length score.  He earned a career-best 100 Beyer Speed Figure and his previous winning experiences on turf may hint at synthetic ability.

SELECTIONS:  ROGUE ROMANCE, WISE DAN, CEASE

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*LAST, BUT NOT LEAST:

*SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO HANDICAP:  BOURBON BAY, HOG'S HOLLOW, HARRODS CREEK

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For a more-detailed analysis of this weekend's stakes races, check out the "Handicapping Preview" videos that Mike Beer and I produced:

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.

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Remember, Mike Beer and I will be out at Golden Gate next Saturday (April 28) for San Francisco Mile day.  We'd love to meet any FormBloggers.