Updated on 09/16/2011 8:14AM

Abreeze can beat Dollar Bill again


Between the five stakes that make up the Kentucky Cup card at Turfway Park and the four stakes at Belmont Park, there are enough races Saturday to satisfy all types of handicappers.

The Kentucky Cup stakes are the $400,000 Kentucky Cup Classic, $200,000 Turfway Park Breeders' Cup, $150,000 Kentucky Cup Sprint, and two $100,000 2-year-old races, the Kentucky Cup Juvenile and Juvenile Fillies.

The Belmont stakes are the $300,000 Ruffian, $200,000 Belmont Breeders' Cup, $150,000 Jerome, and $100,000 Floral Park.

The three that grabbed my attention were the Kentucky Cup Classic, Kentucky Cup Sprint, and the Ruffian.

Kentucky Cup Classic

Once upon a time, I was the unofficial chairman of the Dollar Bill fan club. Every bad trip and each stroke of brutal racing luck encountered by Dollar Bill kept me coming back for more, despite attempted interventions by well-meaning, and as it turned out, smarter friends. Eventually, I saw the light. Dollar Bill doesn't win nearly often enough to merit such loyalty.

I finally wound up doing a 180-degree turn on Dollar Bill, and adopted a policy of betting against him in stakes races, especially when he is well backed. This system has worked out pretty well this year, as Dollar Bill is 0 for 5 in stakes. Let's hope it continues to hold in the Classic, for which Dollar Bill is DRF's 3-1 morning-line favorite.

I like the dramatically improved Abreeze to win the Classic. Abreeze, who could have been claimed for $35,000 in June, was a very good second in the Saratoga Breeders' Cup in his last start. He was run down very late by the underrated Evening Attire going a distance, 1 1/4 miles, that was probably a bit too far for him. Yet, he still finished a fat 5 1/2 lengths in front of Dollar Bill. Abreeze won decisively at Saratoga two starts back at Saturday's 1 1/8-mile distance, and I think he's the main speed here, even faster early than the fresh Tenpins.

As much as I like Abreeze, I'm also afraid of There's Zealous. There's Zealous is an unknown at this distance, but he comes into this off two big wins in one-turn mile races with blinkers on, an equipment change that has clearly brought out his best. A price of 6-1 on There's Zealous Saturday may be big enough to overlook the distance question.

Kentucky Cup Sprint

The field in the Sprint may not be as strong as in years past, but with 11 entered, betting value should be available.

My pick is Day Trader, whom I envision being the controlling speed in a race that surprisingly doesn't have all that much early gas. Day Trader went head and head early last time out in Saratoga's King's Bishop with Boston Common, who is one of the quickest 3-year-olds in the East (and who will attempt to stretch out to a mile in Saturday's Jerome at Belmont). In his first start at the Saratoga meet, Day Trader lost a heartbreaker, but that was against solid older allowance horses, and the Beyer Figure he earned that day is certainly good enough to win this race.

Those who can be used underneath Day Trader in exotic wagers include the logical pair of Sky Terrace and Ecstatic, but you also should consider Richest Half, who could be overlooked here. Richest Half had every right to need his recent return from a three-month layoff, and he did win his first five career starts at under a mile.

Ruffian Handicap

There may be only five in the Ruffian, but it is a very well-matched field. And, though I do respect her, I think You is vulnerable as the probable favorite.

That You is taking on older opponents doesn't bother me, because I think the 3-year-old fillies are going to do well against their elders this fall. What does bother me is that You isn't getting the long rest she was originally scheduled for after laying it all out on the line when third in the Alabama last month. Also, the 1 1/16-mile distance of the Ruffian is stretching You's envelope.

I'm going with Raging Fever to avenge her half-length defeat (as the favorite) to Shine Again in the recent Ballerina at Saratoga. Raging Fever was returning from a two-month layoff when she ran in the Ballerina, and now returns to her beloved Belmont, where she boasts a record of five wins and a second from six starts.