07/05/2001 11:00PM

Michaels's weekend stakes outlook


The July Fourth stakes at tracks around the country have taken much of the bang out of this weekend's stakes menu. However, the weekend doesn't look like a total loss thanks to a good 3-year-old battle in the Dwyer at Belmont on Sunday, and a good Saturday lineup including the Cornhusker Handicap at Prairie Meadows, the Hanshin Mile at Arlington, and three stakes races at Hollywood, just to name a few.

The Grade 2 Dwyer shapes up as a rematch between Peter Pan first and second-place finishers Hero's Tribute and E Dubai, as well as Griffinite, I Love Silver, and two others. With Monarchos laid-up for a few months with a knee fracture, Hero's Tribute will have to be owner John Oxley's color-bearer this summer. He appears ready for the challenge based on his impressive Peter Pan victory last month.

On Saturday, Hollywood fans will be treated to a three-stake card including the Grade 2 Bel Air Handicap, the Grade 3 Royal Heroine, and the Grade 3 Landaluce.

The featured Bel Air is headlined by a pair of horses returning from layoffs, Freedom Quest and Out Of Mind. Both horses are certainly beatable in their return efforts, but the Bel Air field has come up soft this year, and one of the favored duo will probably win. Freedom Quest in particular looks tough based on his liking for Hollywood Park and the pace scenario of this race which sets up perfectly for a closer.

In the Royal Heroine, Garden in the Rain, trained by Julio Canani, could be ready to step up to the next level with a rallying trip behind what should be a fast and contested pace. Morning line favorite Georgia's Storm looks best in a field of seven 2-year-old fillies in the Landaluce.

Finally, a big week at Prairie Meadows will be capped off Saturday night with the $400,000 Cornhusker Handicap. Sir Bear will look to win this race two years in a row after beating Skimming and Ecton Park last year. However, he'll have his hands full with Dixie Dot Com, who comes in off Beyers of 111 and 113 in back-to-back wins at Lone Star and has been pointing for this race all along. His last two wins were by a combined 14 lengths, and he drilled a four furlong bullet in :46.80 over this track on Wednesday in preparation for this race.



Belmont Park, 1 1/16 miles, $150,000, Grade 2

Sunday - Race 8

1) Hero's Tribute

2) Griffinite

3) E Dubai


Hollywood Park, 1 1/16 miles turf, $100,000, Grade 2

Saturday - Race 5

1) Freedom Quest

2) Jorrocks

3) Smile Again


Hollywood Park, Saturday - Race 8

Fillies and mares,1 mile turf, $100,000, Grade 3

1) Garden in the Rain

2) Dianehill

3) La Ronge


Hollywood Park, Saturday - Race 3

2-y-o fillies, 6 furlongs, $100,000, Grade 3

1) Georgia's Storm

2) Miss Jeanne Cat

3) Roaring Blaze


Prairie Meadows, Saturday - Race 4

3-y-o & up,1 1/8 miles, $400,000, Grade 3

1) 4- Dixie Dot Com

2) 2- Sir Bear

3) 1- Euchre

There are so few quality mile stakes races these days, so when one comes along it is usually worth taking a look at. This weekend's Grade 3 Hanshin Handicap at Arlington, a one-turn mile with a purse of $100,000, has drawn a deep 10-horse field that looks like anybody's race.


Arlington, Saturday - Race 8

3-y-o & up,1 mile, $100,000, Grade 3

1) 7- Globalize

2) 2- Bright Valour

3) 4- Apt To Be

Globalize returned from a year layoff last month, and should be ready for this race after his good comeback effort (97 Beyer) in the seven furlong Barry Shipp Hcp. Toss out his ill-advised start in the 2000 Belmont Stakes. Globalize looks like a true miler and should be able to prove it in his second race off the layoff for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer. Two of his three career stakes wins - in the Cal Juvenile and the Golden State Mile - came at this distance, and he figures to get a dream trip from just behind a very contentious pace.

Globalize's top challenge should come from Bright Valour, who finished second in this race last year, but later was awarded the victory after winner Yankee Victor failed his drug test. Last year, Bright Valor had a mile prep for this race over the track. This year, however, he won't have that luxury as he comes here straight from a conditioned allowance sprint win at last time out at Churchill Downs. He appears to be back in form for trainer Al Stall, and also should sit a good trip from just off the pace.

If the top two flop, a pair of Arlington-lovers, Apt To Be, and Fan The Flame, could be there to pick up the pieces.

Apt To Be is 4-for-4 at Arlington including two wins at this distance, and a repeat of his 101 Beyer at this trip last July 4 should put him in the thick of this race. Fan The Flame, meanwhile, is currently in very sharp form, and owns a Grade 3 win in last year's Round Table in his only prior trip to Arlington. Both horses can win, but both will have to overcome each other as well as some other horses who may be seeking the lead.


Play a Globalize (#7)-Bright Valour (#2) exacta box and back up the bet with some trifectas including both Apt To Be (#4) and Fan The Flame (#9).

$20 exacta box 2-7 = $40

$5 trifectas - 2,7 / 2,7 / 4,9 = $20

$5 trifectas - 2,7 / 4,9 / 2,7 = $20

$5 trifectas - 4,9 / 2,7 / 2,7 = $20