10/17/2008 12:00AM

Three BC players pop off the page

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PHOENIX - Next Friday and Saturday present a veritable smorgasboard of wagering opportunities with the two Breeders' Cup cards at Santa Anita. There were a few items that jumped out at me my first time circling the buffet, and they require more scrutiny as potential plays.

Friday

Intangaroo (Filly and Mare Sprint): She's one of those horses that gets ignored, for whatever reason. She may not be the most glamorous runner and may not hail from high-profile connections, but she's a three-time Grade 1 winner this year at the seven-furlong distance of this race, and she has won those races at three different tracks - Santa Anita, Churchill Downs, and Saratoga. Yet you can pretty much count on the fact she will not go favored here. Surely, top 3-year-old Indian Blessing and a few other highly regarded runners will take more money.

But for those of us who believe, that's fine. I don't want Intangaroo to get respect. I want her to be ignored, to be dissed, to be discounted. You can get over that type of insult in about 30 seconds. It takes longer to recover from a torn-up ticket.

Like in those previous three Grade 1 wins, things figure to set up well for her. There is all sorts of speed signed up here. Indian Blessing has shown she can settle some, yes, but let's face it - she's just a naturally fast filly. There are others in here who will sizzle, too. Intangaroo won the Santa Monica, Humana Distaff, and Ballerina with huge, looping runs, and the same thing may happen here.

Saturday

Goldikova (Mile): Mind you, I'm a big fan of Daytona and of last year's BC Mile champ, Kip Deville. They're quality animals through and through. But I'm also a realist, and now the U.S. horses are playing in the Europeans' sandbox.

While Henrythenavigator and Raven's Pass are top milers, they are aiming for the Classic. But the filly Goldikova has been intended for the Mile all along.

She's just a 3-year-old filly, but a couple weeks ago you saw a 3-year-old filly whip some of the best 1 1/2-mile turf males in the world when Zarkava won the Arc. And, Goldikova is no stranger to beating the boys. She won the Group 1 Prix du Moulin, leaving males like Paco Boy and Henrythenavigator in her wake. Paco Boy came back to win a Group 1. Henrythenavigator came back to be second in the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth II.

And if you respect Zarkava, all Goldikova did was give that monster a legitimate scare when second to her in the Group 1 French 1,000 Guineas and third to her in the Group 1 French Oaks. Could any of the others in this race get that close to Zarkava?

Coronet of a Baron (Juvenile): He cost Darley $550,000, and while Sheikh Mohammed can likely find that sum under the sofa cushions, it still means he had to outbid others. And Darley doesn't buy merely to buy; it buys to win. So, there were some expectations here.

This guy hasn't disappointed, either. His debut win at Arlington was smart. He then went to Del Mar and finished a fine third in the Grade 2 Best Pal (moved up to second via disqualification). He then did everything but win the Grade 1 Del Mar Futurity. He stalked the pace, surged to the lead and battled gamely, only to get outnodded by a the late-charging Midshipman. It must be noted the third finisher of that race, Street Hero, came back to beat Midshipman in the Grade 1 Norfolk at Santa Anita.

Coronet of a Baron missed that race and some may wonder about that. Let me remind, you, however, that this ownership and trainer pulled a similar stunt with a 2-year-old filly back in 2001. Tempera won the Grade 2 Sorrento at Del Mar and then ran third in the Grade 1 Del Mar Debutante. She missed the Oak Leaf as her connections cited the need for more time. Then she went to Belmont and dominated that year's BC Juvenile Fillies, so the layoff actually did her some good. Coronet of a Baron has worked smartly over this track and is bred to route, and maybe he can make like Tempera and take a huge leap forward off the freshening on the day it counts the most - and at a price.