05/05/2010 11:00PM

Slew's Tiznow could surprise


NEW YORK - There is a very light stakes schedule Saturday, and what's more, many of the races have light fields. In an odd piece of scheduling for the weekend between the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness, three of the four stakes with six-figure purses are for 3-year-olds. So it is no surprise that Belmont Park's Grade 2, $200,000 Dwyer, Lone Star Park's Grade 3, $200,000 Lone Star Derby, and Woodbine's $100,000 Wando Stakes attracted fields of seven, six, and five. The only other graded stakes on the schedule is the Grade 2, $150,000 Mervyn LeRoy Handicap at Hollywood Park, which lured seven entrants.

Mervyn LeRoy Handicap

Rail Trip makes his eagerly awaited 2010 debut in this race, and if he returns on his game, everyone else in here will be running for second money. Rail Trip is arguably the best older male in California, and he loves Hollywood Park. Both points are supported by the way he spread-eagled a big field in last summer's , earning a field-best Beyer Figure of 111. But Rail Trip is not invincible. He suffered the first defeat of his career in this race last year at 3-5, and he is coming into this off an eight-month layoff. Although he does show a purposeful workout line, I'm hoping Rail Trip, with an eye toward a possible defense of his title in the Hollywood Gold Cup, might not be completely wound up for this, which might leave just enough room for another horse to upset him.

Tres Borrachos was easily second to Rail Trip in last year's Hollywood Gold Cup, earning a 106 Beyer, and he also likes Hollywood's Cushion Track. But Tres Borrachos hasn't come close to matching that Beyer in six subsequent starts. Dakota Phone was very close to Rail Trip on three occasions last year, but while he has a license to improve switching back to a synthetic surface, the way he stopped cold on dirt in the Oaklawn Handicap most recently might have knocked him out of form.

I'm going with Slew's Tiznow. He ran reasonably well winning an overnight race and narrowly missing in a listed stakes in his last two at Santa Anita, which is encouraging for two reasons. First, Slew's Tiznow looked early in his career like he might turn into a top horse, considering the way he got his maiden win at Saratoga, finished second in the Grade 1 Breeders' Futurity, and dominated the El Cajon in his first start at 3. Perhaps he is finally ready to realize his potential. There is also reason to believe that he might be at his best on Hollywood's synthetic surface. Slew's Tiznow has run on this surface only once, and that was in an off-the-turf stakes. But he ran away with that race, earning by far the best Beyer Figure of his career.

Winter Melody Stakes

This is the feature at Delaware Park, and it gets bonus points for attracting a comparatively huge field of nine. Even more intriguing is that neither of the first two probable favorites, Taptam and Miss Match, has to win.

Taptam finished second to Zenyatta last time in on the Kentucky Oaks undercard. As for Miss Match, she got a good Beyer last time when she was fourth in the Rampart to Unrivaled Belle, who came back to upset Rachel Alexandra in the La Troienne. But Miss Match's Rampart Beyer was so much better than her previous best that I'm tempted to consider it a fluke.

Tammy's Victress is my play. She didn't do much running at Oaklawn in her first two starts this year, but she should be primed for her best in her third start off a layoff. She also moves to her favorite racing surface: Tammy's Victress is 4 for 12 at Delaware and has finished worse than third there just once. Elsewhere, she is 2 for 15. Moreover, her three best Beyers have come at Delaware, including a field-best 95.

Dwyer Stakes

It will be interesting to see what the lack of pace in this race does to Drosselmeyer, who finished close up in the in his last two starts. It might help him, but one-paced horses like Drosselmeyer just aren't my cup of tea.

I think Remand is in position to capitalize on the pace scenario here. Remand was sluggish out of the gate last time when third in the - he is now pointing to the Preakness - and if it rains Saturday in New York as predicted, Remand's excellent wet-track pedigree could be an asset.