07/12/2006 11:00PM

Upsets brewing in 3 major races


NEW YORK - If you thought there might be a lull in national stakes action just before the openings of the biggest meets of the summer, Del Mar and Saratoga, think again. On Saturday, there is the Summit of Speed at Calder Race Course of eight sprint stakes, the Claiming Crown at Canterbury Park, a million-dollar race at Colonial Downs in the Virginia Derby, a half-million-dollar race at Delaware Park in the Delaware Oaks, plus the Ohio Derby at Thistledown. And on Sunday, there is another million-dollar race in the Delaware Handicap at Delaware Park.

Delaware Oaks

The 110 Beyer Speed Figure Hystericalady received in winning the Hollywood Breeders' Cup Oaks last time out absolutely towers over her opposition in this race, and if she even only approaches that kind of number Saturday, she'll win. But Hystericalady was a surprising winner of the Hollywood Oaks, and the moderate pace she disputed combined with the soft level of her competition made conditions ripe for a big Beyer Figure. Hystericalady might still be a new horse, but since she is likely to be the favorite, and considering that this will be her first start outside of California, I'll try and beat her with Gasia.

Gasia comes into this off wins in 3 of her last 4 starts, and she demonstrated marked improvement winning last time out in the Susan's Girl Breeders' Cup, the local prep for this event, beating a solid field decisively and earning a career-best Beyer Figure of 95.

Virginia Derby

This is the second leg of the Colonial Downs Grand Slam of Grass series. The first race in this series, the Colonial Turf Cup, was not the kind of race you see every day. Kip Deville ran off to an enormous early lead through scorching fractions that at two points of call was estimated to be as big as 15 lengths. Kip Deville understandably ran out of gas late but still held on for second. He was beaten by Showing Up, who is passing this race. I couldn't argue with anyone who takes the position that Kip Deville will be tougher this time with a more prudent ride, but I still feel that this 1 1/4-mile distance is a touch too far for him.

I like Proudinsky, who was beaten a nose in the Arlington Classic in his recent U.S. debut. That field was nowhere near as tough as the one he faces this time, but he was very impressive visually in what was likely a prep for this race as well as next month's Secretariat back at Arlington. Proudinsky angled out for room in upper stretch, and when he didn't find any, he cut back in and finished like a wild horse. And, he has shown he will love the added distance he gets here.

Smile Sprint Handicap

In Lost in the Fog's two defeats, the Breeders' Cup Sprint and the Golden Gate Sprint, he was undone by severe pace pressure around the far turn during the second quarter-mile. And when Lost in the Fog regained winning form last time out in the Aristides Breeders' Cup, at least part of it was due to a soft second quarter-mile fraction. Lost in the Fog might not be so fortunate this time. Quality horses such as Friendly Island, Gaff, Pomeroy, and Weigelia are capable of taking the starch out of Lost in the Fog around the far turn in this race.

I took Kelly's Landing to upset Lost in the Fog in the Aristides, and I'm going right back to him. He made a huge run at Lost in the Fog in the Aristides before finishing second. With a more favorable pace setup, Kelly's Landing can make the most of his off-the-pace move.


Delaware Park: Delaware Oaks
Fillies, 3-year-olds, 1 1/16 miles

Approximate post: Eastern-3:54 p.m., Central-2:54 p.m., Mountain-1:54 p.m., Pacific-12:54 p.m.; Stanton, De., forecast: Sunny, 92¦

1Peak Maria's Way79908812-1
2Mia's Reflection87887610-1
3Diamond Spirit80838410-1
6Last Romance8581893-1

Track morning line odds

Colonial Downs: Virginia Derby
3-year-olds, 1 1/4 miles, turf

Approximate post: E-5:40 p.m., C-4:40 p.m., M-3:40 p.m., P-2:40 p.m.; New Kent, Va., forecast: Chance of thunderstorms, 91¦

1Seaside Retreat9088626-1
2Go Between9386875-1
3Spider Power90887812-1
5Manchu Prince87837212-1
6Kip Deville9599679-2
9Sir Classic Chris88767020-1
11Roman Dynasty90977712-1
12Yate's Black Cat88808920-1

Track morning line odds

Calder Race Course: Smile Sprint Handicap
3 and up, 6 furlongs

Approximate post: E-5:40 p.m., C-4:40 p.m., M-3:40 p.m., P-2:40 p.m.; Miami, Fl., forecast: Isolated thunderstorms, 89¦

1Universal Form97779430-1
2Kelly's Landing108955610-1
3Joey P.1048410415-1
5Nightmare Affair105989412-1
6Friendly Island104112876-1
8Gold Storm999410930-1
10Lost in the Fog11197981-1
11B. B. Best96196830-1
13Mister Fotis751029320-1

DRF odds