06/13/2007 11:00PM

With any luck, Grigorieva wins


NEW YORK - The main focus will be on Churchill Downs on Saturday, where the Grade 1, $750,000 Stephen Foster Handicap heads a card that includes five other graded stakes.

Sharing top billing with the Foster for the richest race in the nation is the Colonial Turf Cup at Colonial Downs, while the Grade 1 Ogden Phipps Handicap is the feature at Belmont Park. But there are several other interesting stakes on the slate, and that's where the Warrior will find his action.

All Along Breeders' Cup

There was a lot of buzz from the local bettors at Pimlico concerning Grigorieva in the Gallorette Handicap on the Preakness Stakes undercard. Although Grigorieva wound up fourth, it was easy to see why the locals were eager to get down on her. Grigorieva is a good horse waiting to happen, and she is a strong play in this supporting feature to the Colonial Turf Cup.

What got the Pimlico players excited about Grigorieva was her performance in the Dahlia Stakes at Laurel in her U.S. debut. Grigorieva lost contact with the field in the early stages. But she rallied so powerfully she very nearly erased a six-length deficit with a furlong to go. Grigorieva wasn't so far out of it in the early stages of the Gallorette, but she encountered some traffic entering the far turn, and then had to angle out for racing room in the stretch. Yet, she still finished well to be beaten less than two lengths. Grigorieva might be in with an easier group this time, and the added distance she gets should work to her benefit.

Susan's Girl Breeders' Cup

This is the local springboard to the $500,000 Delaware Oaks on July 14. Here's hoping that Forever Together, who fell a neck shy of remaining undefeated last time out in the Beaumont; Bear Now, who comes off a fast win in the Selene; and Greenstreet, who won a small stakes at the distance over the track most recently, take some action. If they do, that will help the odds on Winning Point.

Winning Point was a solid second last time out in the Black-Eyed Susan, and although she was only beaten a length and earned a good Beyer Figure of 94, there are reasons to think she can do even better.

Winning Point did not have an ideal trip. She was in traffic down the backstretch and was three wide on the far turn, while the eventual winner, Panty Raid, skimmed the rail. In addition, Winning Move swerved in and out in the stretch in response to the whip. Another reason to anticipate improvement is that Winning Point adds blinkers Saturday. She sports two sharp works since the Black-Eyed Susan, and presumably one, if not both, were with blinkers. Blinkers will also put Winning Move into the race earlier, a key consideration since there isn't a lot of serious early speed, and should help her run straight down the lane.

Chicago BC Handicap

As she has been in her last six starts, Victorina will probably be the favorite. But even though the race set up for her, Victorina didn't do much when fourth last time out in the Distaff Breeders' Cup. She is probably better than that, and has been freshened, but I think she is vulnerable.

I'm going with Cuaba, whose last three sprint attempts on dirt were all good. Two of those races were allowance wins at Gulfstream after displays of positional speed, and the other was a second most recently in the Winning Colors Stakes, in which she rallied from next to last. Outside of Lady Belsara, there isn't a lot of serious early zip in this race, and I expect Cuaba to be a force from the outset.