09/26/2007 11:00PM

Danzon repeats successful formula

EmailNEW YORK - For stakes racing aficionados, Saturday is like Christmas in September, with a plethora of rich events all across the country, many of them with major Breeders' Cup implications.

Kentucky Cup Distaff

Last fall, trainer Patrick Biancone switched Asi Siempre from the turf to Polytrack for the Grade 1 Spinster Stakes. Asi Siempre not only won the Spinster, she came back to finish second (disqualified to fourth) after a tough trip in the BC Distaff. Biancone is now attempting to repeat the pattern with Danzon, moving her off the turf onto Turfway's Polytrack for this spot, and I'm betting the maneuver proves similarly successful.

Danzon is a logical contender in this race, anyway. She is the only member of this field to have competed in two Grade 1 races this year, with one being a terrific effort and the other quite respectable. In her last start, she was beaten less than three lengths in the Grade 1 Diana Handicap, her closing kick compromised by a pace that wasn't that fast. Her big Grade 1 effort came against males on Kentucky Derby Day in the Woodford Reserve Turf Classic, in which she finished third, beaten just a length after a bit of stretch trouble. As for the surface switch, there are many examples of turf horses making winning transitions to synthetic tracks, and Biancone sports particularly good statistics in this category. Moreover, Danzon comes into this off a series of strong recent workouts on Keeneland's Polytrack.

Oak Leaf

Cry and Catch Me might have been beaten by an odds-on Tasha's Miracle when she made her debut in July, but I'm looking for Cry and Catch Me to turn the tables on her Saturday and win this race.

Although Tasha's Miracle beat Cry and Catch Me by 2 1/2 lengths in July, Tasha's Miracle had the advantage of a sharp prior race. In any event, Cry and Catch Me showed marked improvement in her second and most recent start, winning off at Del Mar and earning a Beyer Speed Figure of 92. That figure equaled the number earned by the colt Slam Slew at Hollywood Park, and is still the highest figure earned by a 2-year-old of either sex so far this year in Southern California. Ridiculously fast recent works suggests Cry and Catch Me retains her edge, and she should only benefit from the stretchout to two turns.

Kelso Handicap

I respect After Market, winner of four straight graded stakes on turf. And I recognize that the presence in this race of speedballs Jet Propulsion and English Colony is likely to set up this race to be won by a horse who can close, like After Market. Yet, I'm still going to try and beat him. After competing in races at 11, nine, and 10 furlongs in his last three starts, After Market could be a vulnerable favorite shortening up considerably in distance to one mile.

It might seem like a paradox, but I like Trippi's Storm, who is also shortening up after racing nine furlongs or longer in his last five starts. As game as Trippi's Storm was picking up minor awards in the Man o' War, Sword Dancer, and Bowling Green in his last three outings, he acted in his last two starts like a horse crying for a shorter distance. Trippi's Storm, who showed when second to Sunriver in the Bowling Green that he is good enough to win a race like this, will be a much bigger price than After Market.