Updated on 09/16/2011 7:55AM

Lido Palace can beat Street Cry


NEW YORK - A racing aficionado could get spoiled with weekends like this. On Saturday, three of the best older horses in training - Street Cry, Lido Palace, and Macho Uno - are entered in Saratoga's $750,000 Whitney Handicap. On the Whitney undercard, Mayakovsky, one of the more intriguing candidates for this fall's Breeders' Cup Sprint, returns to the races in the $150,000 Amsterdam Stakes for 3-year-olds. And the top 3-year-old in the country, War Emblem, will break from the 6-hole in Sunday's $1 million Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park.

The racing action this weekend does indeed promise to be aesthetically pleasing. But, aesthetics don't pay the rent, or even provide you with a stake for that trifecta part wheel play you like in the last race at Arlington.

What to do? Here's how the Weekend Warrior will play these races:


Street Cry was impressive winning the Dubai World Cup and the Stephen Foster in his return to this country. But at even money, or perhaps a little less, bettors should exercise their right to ask questions. Yes, Street Cry crushed Sakhee in the World Cup, but Sakhee hasn't run since and you have to wonder if his wheels didn't fall off that night. And when Street Cry romped in the Foster, filling out the second and third slots were Dollar Bill and Tenpins, names that don't exactly strike fear in the hearts of top older horses. Maybe Street Cry has developed into a machine. But the Street Cry we knew in this country in his younger days was never automatic, and I don't think I want to pay to find out if he now is.

I like Lido Palace in the Whitney, anyway. He won the Whitney last year, and I thought his second in the Suburban last month was terrific. He was coming off a five-month layoff, and was victimized when E Dubai, who went on to win, got away with murder on the lead with very slow early fractions. Lido Palace still finished strongly through a fast final fraction to narrow the margin to less than a length, and this time, with Left Bank and Saint Verre in the Whitney, he should get a more honest pace to shoot at. It also doesn't hurt that he's trained by Bobby Frankel, who has already won three stakes at this young Saratoga meet.

If you like Lido Palace, then you can also consider Macho Uno. He was only a length behind Lido Palace when third in the Suburban while also being compromised by the slow fractions, and he now cuts back to 1 1/8 miles, the distance at which he was impressive winning the Massachusetts Handicap two starts back.


Mayakovsky will be the favorite in the Amsterdam, and he should win even though he has been away since his fourth in the Santa Anita Derby in April. He won the Gotham in his first start this year off an even longer layoff, and ran well in his two races over the Saratoga main track last year - a flashy maiden win and a game second to Came Home in the Hopeful. Mayakovsky projects to be the inside speed in this spot.

The key to the Amsterdam may be trying to beat the undefeated Greatness for second. Greatness earned the field's best Beyer Speed Figure (108) winning his second and most recent start. But that race was nearly two months ago, and it came in the slop. Big figure wins in the slop should always be viewed with some skepticism.

Instead of Greatness, I will try to get Bold Truth and Boston Common in underneath Mayakovsky. Bold Truth's last was a stinker, but he won big two back and, having recently gone longer distances, he has the bottom to get involved late. Boston Common comes off a career best in the Jersey Shore Stakes and can hang on for a piece.


Even if you suspect War Emblem isn't wound completely tight for the Haskell, it's hard to envision him losing. Barring bad luck out of the gate, which he had in the Belmont, War Emblem should be in complete control of the early pace. There is simply no one in the field to run with him. There is also no one in the field in his class. Medaglia d'Oro is close, but he is supposed to run instead in Sunday's Jim Dandy at Saratoga. Easyfromthegitgo is another Haskell entrant who may opt for the Jim Dandy.

Can anyone say cold Haskell trifecta? I can. Magic Weisner for second and Like a Hero for third, and if correct, I can turn 2-5 on War Emblem to win into a 10-1 tri.