07/19/2012 1:38PM

Weekend Warrior for July 21: Disposablepleasure can turn the tables

Barbara D. Livingston
Disposablepleasure will face off against Zo Impressive, who beat her in the Mother Goose last time out, in Saturday's Coaching Club American Oaks.

There is important stakes racing on Saturday, the first Saturday of the big summer meets at Del Mar and Saratoga. Unfortunately, most of it involves small fields. The Grade 1, $300,000 Eddie Read at Del Mar lured only five. The Grade 1, $300,000 Coaching Club American Oaks at Saratoga drew just six. The Grade 2, $750,000 Delaware Handicap at Delaware Park attracted seven entrants. The Grade 2, $600,000 Virginia Derby at Colonial Downs did go with nine, and the Grade 3, $150,000 Arlington Oaks went with eight, but the Grade 3, $150,000 Virginia Oaks back at Colonial has a field of just seven.

Coaching Club American Oaks

Yes, there are only six here, but it is one of the more interesting six-horse fields on the day. Zo Impressive and Disposablepleasure finished one-two in the recent Grade 1 Mother Goose. In Lingerie scored over Disposablepleasure in the Black-Eyed Susan in her most recent appearance. Questing earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 105, the best in this field by 11 large points, winning an overnight race last time out in just her second start on dirt. Yara upset Grace Hall in the Davona Dale early this year, and Funny Proposition is 2 for 2 on dirt, but they are the outsiders here. Yara’s Davona Dale looks more like a fluke with each passing unsuccessful start, while Funny Proposition must improve a ton to contend.

Although Zo Impressive was the better horse when she won the Mother Goose by three-quarters of a length, and In Lingerie scored over her at Pimlico in May, I like Disposablepleasure this time. Unlike the Mother Goose, the CCA Oaks is run around two turns. Disposablepleasure is a known commodity around two turns. Her best starts routing were when she overcame a horrendous trip to win the slowly run Demoiselle last fall, and her huge second in the Black-Eyed Susan. Conversely, Zo Impressive’s only two-turn start was in the Gulfstream Park Oaks, and her distant second in that race was arguably the weakest effort of her five-race career. That said, I do think Zo Impressive will probably do well routing. I just don’t want to take her as the likely favorite when I don’t know for certain and when there is clearly little difference between her and Disposablepleasure right now.

As for Disposablepleasure and In Lingerie, I thought Disposablepleasure was very unlucky to lose the Black-Eyed Susan. In Lingerie did stumble a bit at the start and had a three- to four-wide trip after that, but it was a clean trip and I believe she was out in the better footing. Disposablepleasure, meanwhile, raced on the deeper inside around the first turn, steadied on the rail going into the far turn, and steadied again on the deeper rail entering the stretch and in upper stretch before finally angling out and finishing well.

I found Questing troublesome in here. She might be the controlling speed and she will win if she comes close to running back to that last-out Beyer. But Questing is stepping way up, she might regress off that big fig, and I would think Yara and Funny Proposition will go up and put pressure on her at some point in the early and middle stages.

I should at least mention the Eddie Read and Del Cap because even if they aren’t good betting races, they are noteworthy. Acclamation will be the heavy favorite in the Read, and I want to see him win. Any horse who can win a 10-furlong Grade 1 off an eight-month layoff as Acclamation did in the Whittingham last month is okay in my book.

As for the Del Cap, it sports a tremendous matchup between Royal Delta and Awesome Maria. Royal Delta, last year’s champion 3-year-old filly, was awesome winning the Fleur de Lis in her first start after an awful trip in the Dubai World Cup. Awesome Maria is training like she will return to the form that enabled her to win six straight graded stakes prior to being upset last time. Awesome Maria did drill Royal Delta in the Sabin early this year, but Royal Delta was only prepping for Dubai that day. I’m in Royal Delta’s camp here, especially at the 10-furlong distance.

[CCA OAKS: Get PPs, watch video, and wager]

Virginia Derby

Silver Max is a cool horse. He comes into this off five straight front-running turf wins, the last four in stakes, and all by daylight margins. I also love that trainer Dale Romans is running Silver Max relatively frequently while he is sharp. It’s a throwback to the good old days. But this is a tougher spot than the American Derby that Silver Max scratched out of last Saturday, and it’s also a longer race. It might be unwise to put anything past Silver Max the way he is going right now, but I think the 10-furlong distance of this race is a stretch for him.

I’m going with Silver Max’s uncoupled barnmate Finnegans Wake. Finnegans Wake finished four lengths behind Silver Max when fourth in the American Turf two starts back, but he finished very well after being ridiculously far back early. Most importantly, that performance confirmed that Finnegans Wake, after experimenting on dirt, is much more effective on grass. Last time out, Finnegans Wake again showed a good late kick to win an overnight race at Churchill Downs, and he is bred to like the added ground he gets Saturday evening.

[VIRGINIA DERBY: Get PPs, watch video, and wager]

Osunitas Stakes

This is the supporting feature at Del Mar and it is a turf race that, at least on paper, has a fair amount of pace. I want closers, and after considering Byrony, who is 2 for 2 in the U.S., and Imperialistic Diva, who suitably cuts back in distance off a traffic-filled fourth in the Beverly Hills, I went with Hard to Resist.

I know that Hard to Resist had a perfect rail trip last time out in the Redondo Beach, but she still ran well to be a narrowly beaten second to the then-streaking All Star Heart. Hard to Resist won two starts back and she turned in one of her best performances when she won over this course last summer.

[OSUNITAS STAKES: Get PPs, watch video, and wager]