07/05/2006 11:00PM

Last two point out Win McCool


NEW YORK - Even though it attracted a field of only five, the Grade 1 Hollywood Gold Cup tops Saturday's national stakes action. There are also two other Grade 1 events on Saturday, the Prioress Breeders' Cup at Belmont, and the United Nation Stakes at Monmouth. There is also the Grade 2 Swaps, the supporting feature to the Gold Cup, which lured a field of only four.

Prioress BC

This race attracted a very good field, with five of the nine entrants having won their most recent start decisively, and the other four having won in clear-cut fashion two starts back. Undaunted by the highly competitive nature of this field, and hoping that this will result in value on the tote board, I like Win McCool.

Win McCool's narrow loss two starts ago in the Nassau County BC was a real eye- opener. She set a fast pace and held a clear lead into deep stretch before weakening late. She was beaten only a neck by Hello Liberty, who came back to give Bushfire everything she could ask for in the Grade 1 Acorn. Bushfire, of course, came back to win the Grade 1 Mother Goose to establish herself as the top 3-year-old filly in the nation.

In her last start, Win McCool overwhelmed an allowance field as an odds-on favorite. There were a few things to like about that effort. For one, she willingly conceded the early lead, and the ability to rate effectively will be an asset for her Saturday. Secondly, she showed no sign of drifting out late, as she did when she was nailed by Hello Liberty in the Nassau County. Finally, that win had to be a big confidence booster for Win McCool.

Redondo Beach

Neither the Hollywood Gold Cup nor the Swaps looks like an attractive betting race. Lava Man seems very hard to beat at a short price, especially considering the lack of other serious speed in the race. If Point Determined doesn't win the Swaps at a win payoff of around $3.60, A. P. Warrior probably will at around even-money.

But the Redondo Beach, an overnight stakes on the Gold Cup undercard, is an interesting event, and Toupie is a solid play. Toupie is running back only a week after competing in last Saturday's CashCall Mile. Although she finished seventh, she was in with a Grade 1-class field, and this is a considerably easier spot. Toupie was a good third off a layoff two starts back in a prep at a shorter distance than she prefers, and in her U.S. debut, she was beaten less than two lengths in the Buena Vista Handicap by the then red-hot Silver Cup. Last year in France at this distance, Toupie finished second to both Divine Proportions, who was hailed as something of a super filly at the time, and to Gorella, who is perhaps the best female turf horse in this country right now.

United Nations

I'm glad a New Jersey budget deal will likely be reached in time for this race to be run, because it promises to be a terrific event. It lured three of the four horses (Cacique, Relaxed Gesture, and English Channel) involved in that blanket finish in the Manhattan Handicap, as well as last year's U.N. winner, Better Talk Now.

Relaxed Gesture was brutally unlucky to lose the Manhattan by a head to Cacique, and is the bet because he just can't be that unlucky two races in a row. In the Manhattan, Relaxed Gesture steadied on the rail on the first turn and lacked room on the rail around the far turn, all while being bottled up behind a pace set by Cacique that was very slow, even considering the yielding footing. Despite that, and despite his jockey dropping his whip in the stretch, Relaxed Gesture rallied furiously into the fastest fraction of the race to fall one jump short.


Monmouth Park: United Nations Stakes
3 and up, 1 3/8 miles, turf

Approximate post: Eastern-4:52 p.m., Central-3:52 p.m., Mountain-2:52 p.m., Pacific-1:52 p.m.; Oceanport, N. J., forecast: Sunny, 81¦

1English Channel1071081053-1
3Relaxed Gesture108n/a1094-1
4Better Talk Now105n/a965-2
6Shake the Bank90187950-1

Odds by Art Gropper

Belmont Park: Prioress Breeders' Cup Stakes
Fillies, 3-years-old, 6 furlongs

Approximate post: E-5:15 p.m., C-4:15 p.m., M-3:15 p.m., P-2:15 p.m.; Elmont, N. Y., forecast: Sunny, 83¦

2Misty Rosette8091865-1
3Wild Gams331019110-1
4Wildcat Bettie B9873875-1
5Capote's Crown10190673-1
7Diplomat Lady4686798-1
8Livermore Valley96918612-1
9Win McCool9096705-1

Odds by Art Gropper

Hollywood Park: Redondo Beach Stakes
Fillies and mares, 3 and up, 1 mile, turf

Approximate post: E-7:21 p.m., C-6:21 p.m., M-5:21 p.m., P-4:21 p.m.; Inglewood, Ca., forecast: Sunny, 89¦

3Candy Factory85767512-1
5Cyber Slew72777315-1
7Bond Deal7781978-1
9Conveyor's Angel8491798-1

Odds by Michael Hammersly