07/01/2006 11:00PM

Cold exacta box in Boiling Springs


NEW YORK - Welcome to the Holiday Warrior, a Fourth of July edition of the Weekend Warrior. And although most of the weekend's major stakes events will have been run before the holiday itself, there are still stakes races of interest Tuesday. They include the Grade 2, $150,000 Dwyer at Belmont Park; the Grade 3, $150,000 Boiling Springs Stakes at Monmouth Park; and a pair of 2-year-old stakes: the Grade 3, $100,000 Hollywood Juvenile Championship, and Belmont's $100,000 Tremont.

Boiling Springs Stakes

I'm going to include this race because it is one of the best and most interesting stakes on Tuesday.

Quite a Bride comes into this unbeaten and virtually untested since moving to turf three starts ago. But unless Quite a Bride shows a heretofore unseen ability to close, she is beatable. That is because thanks to the presence of No Reason, Stolen Prayer, and Somethinaboutbetty, Quite a Bride figures to encounter strong pace pressure, more severe than she ever has faced before.

The play in this race looks like a cold exacta box of Perilous Pursuit and Stadore, with extra Perilous Pursuit on top. Perilous Pursuit finished strongly to win both of her starts this year, both on turf in New York, and it is encouraging that at least in terms of Beyer Speed Figures, she has improved significantly over her solid 2-year-old form. Also, if forecasted showers provide some cut to the footing, it would suit Perilous Pursuit, as all three of her career wins came over turf courses labeled good. As for Stadore, throw out her last race in the off-the-turf Sands Point. She clearly fits in this spot off her stalking-trip win two starts back at Churchill Downs.

Hollywood Juvenile Championship Stakes

E Z Warrior, a $1.2 million 2-year-old in training sale purchase last March, won his debut last month at Hollywood completely geared down as the 1-2 favorite. Diamond Dave won his first race in his second start, winning in going-away fashion as the 6-5 favorite at Hollywood. These two appear to tower over the rest of this field, and they promise to be the first and second choices in the betting. But I like Diamond Dave to beat E Z Warrior.

E Z Warrior certainly did a lot right in his recent win, with the sole exception of ducking in at the start from the 1-hole. He drew the 1-hole again this time, and if he even thinks about looking to his left again, Diamond Dave is going to get a big jump on him. Diamond Dave was clear of all rivals in a matter of a couple of strides in his late-May maiden win, enabling him to get off the rail, and he went on to a thoroughly professional victory. I like that Diamond Dave drew the 3-hole, because even if E Z Warrior breaks straight, Diamond Dave is still quick enough to get a jump on him and keep him pinned down inside, which involves the intimidation factor, a big consideration when it comes to inexperienced 2-year-olds.

Mecke Handicap

Some might think that Magic Mecke, with his name and being a son of Mecke, is destined to win this race based on the Swami Angle, and even though Magic Mecke certainly can win on his best race, it is against my grain to take a horse that has raced only twice in the last 26 months like he has.

Lord Robyn is the bet. Lord Robyn was left in the gate in the Blazing Sword Stakes last time out, which usually spells doom for a pace player like him. But even with a clear run up the rail, he ran a freakish race to come from way back, win going away, and establish a career-best Beyer Speed Figure. Lord Robyn loves the Calder turf course, and a similar effort should be good enough to win.