Updated on 09/17/2011 8:55PM

Viable alternative to Eddington


NEW YORK - The focus Saturday will be squarely on Santa Anita and Gulfstream Park, as the nation's two premier winter racetracks present programs packed with rich and prestigious stakes events.

The biggest race in the nation is the $1 million Santa Anita Handicap, one of two Grade 1 events on the Santa Anita card along with the $300,000 Frank E. Kilroe Mile Handicap on the turf.

But there is also a big emphasis on 3-year-old racing. The Grade 2 Santa Catalina Stakes, in which last year's champion 2-year-old, Declan's Moon, makes his first start at 3, is on the Big Cap undercard.

At Gulfstream, four of the five Grade 2 stakes on the card are for 3-year-olds, topped by the Fountain of Youth Stakes.

Gulfstream Park Handicap

Contante is a strong play in this $300,000 event for older horses.

A Group 1 winner in his native Argentina, Contante ran a huge race most recently in the Hal's Hope early in the meet, showing dramatic improvement at 21-1 in his first start for trainer Stanley Hough. Contante launched a big rally on the far turn, and looked like he was going to win in deep stretch, only to weaken late and finish third. He was beaten only 1 1/2 lengths by Badge of Silver, and less than that by Dynever. Either of those would be imposing figures in this spot, and Contante still earned a 109 Beyer Speed Figure, which is the best last-out figure in this field.

The favorite figures to be Eddington, who has a tendency to look terrific beating up on tomato cans, but to this point in his career, has always come up short in races with real meaning.

Frank Kilroe Mile

This race came up very strong, with the defending Breeders' Cup Mile winner Singletary, Grade 1 winners Leroidesan-imaux, Meteor Storm, and Pellegrino, and last year's Kilroe Mile winner Sweet Return among those entered. But Singletary is coming off a layoff, and he usually needs a race before he really hits his peak. Meteor Storm and Sweet Return are coming off longer absences, and Pellegrino is cutting back in distance from 1 1/2 miles. I have absolutely no knock on Leroidesanimaux other than he won't be much of a price. In any case, I'm going to try and beat them all with Cajun Beat.

Cajun Beat defeated a much softer field last time out in the Hollywood Turf Express Handicap, but looked tremendous doing it. He unleashed a big stretch kick to win by a widening three lengths in only his second career attempt on turf, and was probably more impressive visually than he had been since he won the 2003 Breeders' Cup Sprint. And while Cajun Beat is 0 for 1 around two turns, something he must negotiate here, he is by Grand Slam, and that means he has a license to be a top-class turf miler.

Fountain of Youth

I'm going with Kansas City Boy, not only because he comes into this off a surprisingly good second in the Holy Bull at the distance over the track, but also because he can work out a good trip from post 2, which is a major consideration in light of the short run to the first turn in 1 1/8-mile races at Gulfstream.

Kansas City Boy set the pace in the Holy Bull, but with speed horses breaking to his inside and outside, and with blinkers off likely helping him relax, I expect him to sit just off the lead this time, like he did when a sharp third two starts back in the Lecomte.

Papi Chullo, a maiden who was beaten only a length when second in the Sham last time out, also merits respect here.


Gulfstream Park: Gulfstream Park Handicap
3 and up, 1 3/16 miles

Approximate post: Eastern-5:13 p.m., Central-4:13 p.m., Mountain-3:13 p.m., Pacific-2:13 p.m.; Hallandale Beach, Fl., forecast: Sunny, 75 degrees

1Seek Gold92108999-2
2Kennel Up99939310-1
6Pies Prospect82110999-2
8Collateral Damage921009412-1
9Classic Endeavor1041041047-2

Coupled: Seek Gold and Pies Prospect; odds by Art Gropper

Gulfstream Park: Fountain Of Youth Stakes
3-year-olds, 1 1/8 miles

Approximate post: E-5:45 p.m., C-4:45 p.m., M-3:45 p.m., P-2:45 p.m.; Hallandale Beach, Fl., forecast: Sunny, 75 degrees

1B. B. Best72878520-1
2Kansas City Boy9681878-1
3General John B82888815-1
4Park Avenue Ball84738010-1
5Papi Chullo9887738-1
7High Fly95100948-5
9Wild Desert8770708-1
10Dearest Mon73847920-1
11Natural Phenomenon89605920-1

Coupled: Kansas City Boy and Wild Desert; odds by Art Gropper

Santa Anita: Frank E. Kilroe Mile Handicap
4 and up, 1 mile, turf

Approximate post: E-7:32 p.m., C-6:32 p.m., M-4:32 p.m., P-4:32 p.m.; Arcadia, Ca., forecast: Partly cloudy, 65 degrees

1Night Patrol92915530-1
3Musical Chimes88911029-2
5Meteor Storm941091026-1
6Sweet Return949710710-1
7Romeo Plus91n/an/a20-1
9Buckland Manor10410410510-1
10Cajun Beat1071031028-1

Odds by Michael Hammersly