05/26/2005 12:00AM

Starship Zim has closing edge


NEW YORK - The biggest races over the Memorial Day weekend, like the Met Mile, the Shoemaker Mile, and the Gamely, are reserved for the holiday itself on Monday. That gives the Warrior the chance to look in more esoteric spots for his betting opportunities Saturday.

Simply Majestic Stakes

Lord Robyn and Nicandro are the only unrestricted turf stakes winners in this event for 3-year-old grass performers at Calder, and they also own the highest turf Beyer Speed Figures in the field. But they do not have this race to themselves. Lord Robyn and Nicandro may actually do each other in, as both are front-runners who have been most effective when in control of the early pace. Add in the early foot of Dream On Dream On, and Favre, and this event takes on the look of a race crying for a closer.

Starship Zim is the pick to be just that horse. Starship Zim was a fast-closing third in his last start despite traffic trouble in the stretch. The most important thing about that effort, however, is that it suggested Starship Zim is returning to top form, and his best form is certainly competitive with these. He was game finishing second twice to Lord Robyn late last year in races where Lord Robyn went pretty much unchallenged on the early lead. And early this year, Starship Zim came from way back to be fourth, beaten only two lengths, in a well-run allowance race at Gulfstream that saw Tadreeb prevail over Guillaume Tell.

Hanshin Cup Handicap

Crafty Shaw won this race last year with a Beyer Speed Figure of 111, which beats the best Beyer of any of his opponents. But he is coming into this in completely different fashion than he went into last year's running of the Hanshin. Last year, Crafty Shaw was coming off four solid performances at Oaklawn Park. This year, he is coming off an absence of nearly eight months. Although he has run well fresh in the past, and has worked well recently at Churchill Downs, Crafty Shaw is still no bargain here at a low price.

I like Lord of the Game, who comes out of the toughest race, the National Jockey Club Handicap at Hawthorne. Lord of the Game lost for the first time in six starts when he ran third in that race, but he was beaten by Pollard's Vision, who came back to be second in last Friday's Pimlico Special, and the high-class Badge of Silver, either of whom would be heavily favored in this spot. Despite that defeat, on the basis of Beyer Figures, Lord of the Game maintained the sharp form he demonstrated in his prior starts, which included two triple-digit Beyer Figure performances. He also has the pace-involved style I prefer in one-turn mile races.

Red Bank Handicap

Remind will be the solid favorite here, and I have no knocks on him other than his low odds. He is consistent, is in sharp form, and can change his running style to fit any pace scenario. But Trade Fair is intriguing enough for me to pick him, and he should offer at least a little betting value.

Trade Fair earned some very good Timeform ratings earlier in his career in Europe, and was not disgraced by one of this country's best turf horses, Artie Schiller, last time out in the Maker's Mark. Trade Fair was beaten a little more than four lengths, and after contesting the early pace, which may not be his most effective way of running. There is a lot of early speed here, and that combined with his draw toward the outside suggests Trade Fair will be taken back early, which should work to his benefit.


Calder Race Course: Simply Majestic Stakes
3-year-olds, 1 1/16 miles, turf

Approximate post: Eastern-3:33 p.m., Central-2:33 p.m., Mountain-1:33 p.m., Pacific-12:33 p.m.; Miami, Fl., forecast: Slight chance of thunderstorms, 89 degrees

1Captain Lindsay77736520-1
2Turk's Ransom7977739-2
3Dream On Dream On8858835-1
4Lord Robyn7977774-1
6Magic Speed39946020-1
7Talented Prince73777212-1
8Sand Man7228-15-1
9Starship Zim75646910-1
11Running Surprise7871686-1

DRF odds

Monmouth Park: Red Bank Handicap
3 and up, 1 mile, turf

Approximate post: Eastern-5:21 p.m., Central-4:21 p.m., Mountain-3:21 p.m., Pacific-2:21 p.m.; Oceanport, N. J., forecast: Chance of thunderstorms, 70 degrees

2American Freedom94972030-1
3Ricardo A96779630-1
4Tap Day85988120-1
5Royal Affirmed94726312-1
8Big Booster9198974-1
9Spruce Run82829620-1
10Trade Fair9794n/a5-2
11Midnight Express61668150-1

Odds by Art Gropper

Arlington Park: Hanshin Cup Handicap
3 and up, 1 mile

Approximate post: Eastern-6:07 p.m., Central-5:07 p.m., Mountain-4:07 p.m., Pacific-3:07 p.m.; Arlington Heights, Il., forecast: Chance of showers, 65 degrees

1Crafty Shaw90911042-1
2Home of Stars96919510-1
3Stormy Impact96999010-1
4Gouldings Green10495959-2
5Pass Rush8588784-1
6Lord of the Game97981025-2
8Nkosi Reigns91877220-1

Track odds