Updated on 09/15/2011 1:35PM

Dream Supreme only safe single in tough pick four


ELMONT, N.Y. - If someone writes a book about turf sprints they are guaranteed at least one sale, because I'm absolutely clueless when it comes to doping out these races. Put me down for an advance order.

Such ignorance, coupled with the fact that Saturday's five-furlong Calder Turf Sprint Handicap looks wide open, means I may be forced to go "all" to start off my Summit of Speed pick fours.

Things don't get much easier in the second leg, but at least the Azalea is on the main track so I feel as though I've got a fighting chance. A preliminary run-through shakes out these contenders: Hattiesburg, Spanish Glitter, Cheryl P., Silk Concorde, and Southern Tour.

Great. I'm going 7x5 to start out, which has the makings of a substantial investment unless things can be narrowed down in the last two legs.

Wait a minute, this just in: City Zip has scratched from the $250,000 Carry Back with a cough. This is good, because I didn't know what to do with him.

City Zip will pose a typical handicapping conundrum when he does run.

After being tried and found wanting in routes, City Zip has recaptured top form since turned back to sprints. He has won both of his recent six-furlong starts, coinciding with the addition of blinkers, and has run Beyer Speed Figures of 104 and 102.

On the other hand, advanced speed handicapping theory also holds that City Zip is now set up perfectly for the dreaded bounce, because that 104-102 is a forward move of several lengths over his previous "top."

So, which will it be - City Zip the big fig, or City Zip the bouncing ball? There is no "correct" answer.

Anyway, with City Zip out, I'm going with Red's Honor and Beyond Brilliant.

Red's Honor looks fast early off those two allowance wins at Churchill Downs, until you realize that six-furlong races at that track feature a tremendously long "run-up" to the official timing pole, which makes eye-catching early fractions commonplace. When Red's Honor wired his three-other-than allowance on May 25, for example, he set splits of 21.29 seconds and 44.87. That would be great guns just about anywhere else, but earlier on that same Churchill card, maiden fillies at the same distance went faster than Red's Honor, going 20.92 and 44.76.

Beyond Brilliant, who has never been worse than second in a sprint, will be my key. He has been on a once-a-month schedule all year, and has had four big works at his Golden Gate base since shipping cross-country to win a minor stakes at Delaware Park in early June. His stalking style and outside post are ideal.

Now we're at 7x5x2, so we need a single in the Princess Rooney Handicap, which, at $400,000, is the richest sprint for filly and mare sprinters on the calendar.

The singleton is Dream Supreme, who was humbled at 4-5 in the Vagrancy Handicap at Belmont Park when last seen four weeks ago.

Dream Supreme was up against a double-whammy in the Vagrancy. The first obstacle came to light courtesy of a column, "Derby Day produced a string of 'bouncers,' " written by Dick Jerardi in the Daily Racing Form June 22.

Along with Monarchos, Love at Noon, Lake Pontchartrain, Alannan, Open Story, et al, Dream Supreme ran an all-out effort on Churchill's souped-up surface on Derby Day, and paid the price in the Vagrancy next time out.

Compounding that scenario was the fact that, in the Vagrancy, Dream Supreme broke from post 1 and raced on a dead rail every step of the way.

In the Carry Back, Dream Supreme gets a rider switch back to Pat Day, which is significant because that combination has produced five wins from six starts.

Which way is E Dubai headed?

Speaking of lightning-fast tracks, last Sunday's Dwyer for 3-year-olds was run in the slop, and it was one of the fastest surfaces of Belmont's spring/summer meet.

"[The track surface] was packed, sealed. It was the closest thing you can get to a paved road," said Robbie Davis, who rode Windsor Castle to a runner-up finish, nearly six lengths behind front-running E Dubai.

E Dubai will be a difficult read when he races back. On one hand, even though the surface was more than a full second fast to the pace call, he still ran the first six furlongs of the Dwyer in 1:07.93. On the other hand, this type of fast-fractioned, wire-to-wire win is a common theme on slick, superfast sloppy tracks, and inside speed types were having a field day all through the Dwyer program.

E Dubai. Another handicapping puzzle coming soon to a racetrack or simulcast facility near you.