09/30/2005 12:00AM

Let's focus on cashing, not the Cup

Benoit & Associates
Quero Quero, victim of a hot pace and a tough trip in recent starts, may have an easier time in the Lady's Secret.

PHOENIX - No doubt the long-term implications of Sunday's three big races at Oak Tree at Santa Anita (the Norfolk, Clement L. Hirsch Turf Championship, and Lady's Secret) are tuned toward the Breeders' Cup at the end of the month. But the short-term implications are those that may directly affect your wallet.

So let's take a look at the three races and how we can play them Sunday. We'll worry about their Breeders' Cup ramifications another time.


With Stevie Wonderboy not running, the Norfolk looks like a good spot for Brother Derek. Brother Derek hinted at significant ability when he won his May 14 debut at Hollywood Park. He then had some health issues and wasn't seen again until the I'm Smokin on Sept. 5 at Del Mar. He broke slowly and never got involved, plugging along to be third, beaten eight-plus lengths by the ultra-quick Bro Lo. Trainer Dan Hendricks took the blame.

"All his works, the further he went the better he went," said Hendricks, "but I just worked him too much and pressed too hard to make that race.

"He's had two easy works going into the Norfolk. He didn't need anything. I just want him fresh and happy, and he's doing good."

That may mean Brother Derek is ready for his best at what should be a nice price.

Lady's Secret

Unlike the Norfolk, this race has no standout. With the West Coast female division a modest group at best, that may mean the Lady's Secret is ripe for an upset, and Quero Quero can fit the bill.

A daughter of Royal Academy, Quero Quero is best known for her work on turf, but she has shown ample ability on dirt, too. Her recent form doesn't look sharp, but she had legitimate excuses. In the Osunitas on the Del Mar turf, she had a terrible post (10) and very wide trip. Before that she made a threatening move into some quick fractions in the Hawthorne at Hollywood Park (on dirt) and paid the price as she faltered in the lane. She is likely at her best when she can bide her time and make a sustained run. With no speed merchants signed up here, she doesn't figure to fall too far off the pace, and with the smallish field she should also avoid traffic problems.

Clement L. Hirsch

The turf distance division out West has been a game of musical chairs the past couple seasons. Continental Red, Exterior, Laura's Lucky Boy, Leprechaun Kid, and Runaway Dancer all have had their moments in the sun. Maybe it's time for someone else, and that someone may be Fourty Niners Son.

Trained by Neil Drysdale, Fourty Niners Son has quietly worked his way up the ladder among the elite. After a winter vacation, he came back with three straight smart allowance wins. That was enough to convince Drysdale to try Hollywood's Grade 2 American, and Fourty Niners Son ran on smartly to be a close third. Next came deeper waters - the Grade 1 Eddie Read at Del Mar. Again he outran his odds, finishing well to be a strong second, not quite able to get to winner Sweet Return, who got away with setting a dawdling pace.

Drysdale was so encouraged he sent Fourty Niners Son to the Grade 1 Arlington Million. Lost in the ruckus created by the dazzling win by Powerscourt and the return of champion Kitten's Joy was Fourty Niners Son's strong rally to finish third. He finished ahead of last year's BC Turf hero, Better Talk Now, who since won the Grade 1 Man o' War at Belmont.

Fourty Niners Son has worked strongly of late. It's his turn to take center stage, and what's more, he again figures a square price.