11/17/2011 1:37PM

Weekend Warrior for Nov. 19

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Michael Amoruso
Arthur’s Tale (No. 4), second to Toby’s Corner in the Wood Memorial on April 9, returns to Aqueduct for Saturday's Discovery Handicap.

We have a million dollar race on Saturday. We also have a Grade 1 event on Saturday. The only thing is, they aren’t the same race.

The million dollar race is the Grade 3 Delta Downs Jackpot, which is supported by several stakes on the undercard, most notably the Grade 3, $500,000 Delta Downs Princess Stakes. The Grade 1 event is the $250,000 Hollywood Turf Cup. The two other graded stakes Saturday are both Grade 3, $100,000 handicaps – the Discovery at Aqueduct, and the River City at Churchill Downs.

Discovery Handicap

The opportunities for 3-year-olds to remain within their age group at the stakes level are dwindling at this time of the year. But this is one of the remaining such races, and it attracted a few very interesting horses.

Certainly, Redeemed’s recent company lines jump off the page here. After winning three straight to begin his campaign, Redeemed moved up to stakes competition and finished second in the Amsterdam behind Caleb’s Posse and ahead of two next-out winners. Caleb’s Posse, of course, came back to win the Grade 1 King’s Bishop (with a 106 Beyer Figure) and most recently won the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (111 Beyer) to enter the discussion for champion 3-year-old.

Following the Amsterdam, Redeemed finished second in the Smarty Jones Stakes to Wilburn, who in his next start won the Indiana Derby (beating Caleb’s Posse) with a 103 Beyer. In the Smarty Jones, Redeemed also again finished ahead of two next-out winners, one being I’m Steppin’ It Up, who won stakes in his next two starts with Beyers of 97 and 95. And last time out with blinkers on, Redeemed got up to win the Oklahoma Derby, beating Alternation, winner of the Peter Pan, and Prayer for Relief, winner of the Iowa, West Virginia, and Super derbies.

Raison d’Etat is also intriguing. This regally bred son of A.P. Indy and Sightseek wasn’t ready for the Travers Stakes most recently. But he showed a lot of potential in his previous two outings, an impressive maiden romp, and a second in the Curlin Stakes to Turbo Compressor, who last Saturday won the Rose Classic by the length of the stretch with a 103 Beyer.

There is little wrong with Redeemed and Raison d’Etat in this spot. Redeemed figures to sit in perfect striking range of an early pace that shouldn’t be all that fast, and Raison d’Etat shows some excellent recent workouts. Moreover, Raison d’Etat is backed by trainer Bill Mott, whose barn certainly has a lot of momentum right now after he sent out Royal Delta to win the Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic and Drosselmeyer to win the Classic. But I just prefer Arthur’s Tale.

Arthur’s Tale certainly classes up here given his sharp, if surprising second in the Grade 1 Wood Memorial at the distance over the track last April. Arthur’s Tale finished ahead of Uncle Mo in the Wood while being beaten just a neck by Tobys Corner, but was denied any shot he had at the Triple Crown races when he came up with a stress fracture.

In his one start since, Arthur’s Tale finished fourth in the Pennsylvania Derby, but for several reasons, that outing was better than it might appear at first glance. For one, Arthur’s Tale had a license to need that race since he was coming off a 5 1/2-month layoff. Also, the Pennsylvania Derby came up tough as the first three finishers all ran back in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, with runner-up Ruler On Ice finishing third in the Classic. And there are folks who insist that the Parx main track was speed-favoring on Pennsylvania Derby Day, so Arthur’s Tale’s off-the-pace style might have been compromised. Arthur’s Tale has worked steadily since, and is expected to deliver a peak performance Saturday.

Delta Downs Jackpot

On paper, Drill, winner of the Grade 1 Del Mar Futurity, might look like a layover. But this race will be run on dirt around two turns, not on paper, and that’s how Drill might be vulnerable despite his class edge. Drill’s one big score came around one turn on Del Mar’s Polytrack. He was odds-on to carry that winning form over to two turns on dirt in the Norfolk, but was a no-excuse, soundly beaten second with as mediocre 78 Beyer, and he was never in contention when 10th in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile most recently. I’m not saying that Drill won’t ever win routing on dirt, or that he has no chance of doing it Saturday. I am saying that off his last two outings, I don’t want him at the short price he’s sure to be.

I’m going with Seven Lively Sins. Seven Lively Sins ran well last time out when second in the Iroquois Stakes in his stakes debut. Granted, Seven Lively Sins did enjoy an uncontested lead in the early stages. But when he was passed in the stretch by Motor City, who previously showed ability when third in the Arlington-Washington Futurity, Seven Lively Sins came back on him to be gaining at the finish, and was out well past the wire. Seven Lively Sins has good speed, and is capable of controlling the pace here.

Hollywood Turf Cup

This is an odd spot for Miss Match because she doesn’t seem suited to the surface or the 12-furlong distance, but Bourbon Bay and Sanagas fit the conditions perfectly, and are obvious prime win threats. Then again, Bourbon Bay and Sanagas looking so good here says something. While both are admirable hard hitters, neither is terribly imposing.

I will be up front about it. I am taking a total flyer here. But there is something about Goldwaki that I find strangely compelling. It certainly doesn’t have anything to do with what he did in the American Handicap and Eddie Read in his first two U.S. starts because he was a badly beaten last in both races. But Goldwaki is now stretching out significantly to a distance at which he was a Group 3 winner and nearly Group 1-placed last year in France. Goldwaki’s recent workout line is also an eye-catcher. His most recent work was at a mile, and his four prior published works were all at seven furlongs. And I find it intriguing that a couple of seasoned veterans like owner Dick Duchossois and trainer Ron McAnally are going back to the Grade 1 well again with Goldwaki when they really don’t have to do so. It makes you wonder if they think they still have something here.