08/20/2009 12:00AM

You and I Forever offers square price in Iselin

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Racing at Calder Race Course, You and I Forever looked poised to stroll to victory. Fresh off an allowance victory in his preceding start and catching the slop, a surface on which he was second in last year's Jerome Handicap, the public backed him down to Zenyatta-like odds of 3-10.

Then the gates opened. You and I Forever was bumped and quickly lost interest, struggling over the wet footing and making only a belated rally to grab third, beaten 2 3/4 lengths.

Even taking into account the poor start, his performance was dismal and was reflected in his 81 Beyer Speed Figure, a number 23 points below his career best of 104.

Which is why I am enthused about betting him in Saturday's Grade 3 Iselin Handicap at Monmouth Park Saturday.

The reason? On the basis of his last race, I doubt many will view him as ready to win - not against Iselin competitors like Coal Play, Researcher, and Solar Flare - graded-stakes-quality horses whose career achievements dwarf those of You and I Forever.

Undoubtedly, trainer Marty Wolfson understands the merits of You and I Forever's opponents as well as anyone, and yet here the colt is, testing deeper waters.

Forget regrouping in the allowance ranks. Wolfson is going for the knockout, and with You and I Forever at 6-1 on the morning line and likely to drift higher, I'm encouraged by the confidence he is displaying in his horse.

Beyond that positive signal, there are other things to like.

For starters, You and I Forever is training much faster than he did prior to his last start, and he also happens to be making the third start of his form cycle, which could result in a peak effort.

Secondly, he acts like a horse that should appreciate a stretchout to 1 1/8 miles. Most of his better races have come at a mile or more, which is what one would expect from a son of A.P. Indy.

You and I Forever also should get a lively pace to aid his stalking rally. There is a legitimate amount of speed in the race, and no one is going to want to let Coal Play, the wire-to-wire winner of the Salvator Mile, get away with stealing the Iselin.

The primary appeal, however, is You and I Forever's anticipated price. He is not the most probable winner, but I would consider fair odds on him to be 5-1 - and barring scratches, he should be in excess of that Saturday.

Funny Moon showed quality CCA Oaks

Funny Moon's winning Beyer in the CCA Oaks, an 86, won't send horseplayers running to the windows to bet her in Saturday's Alabama Stakes at Saratoga, nor will her neck margin of victory in the race.

All of which is fine with this horseplayer. To these eyes, she showed her quality by winning a race she had little right to win due to a wide trip.

Stuck breaking from the far outside post, she was five wide from start to finish, losing more ground than any of her competitors. Yet once the field straightened up in the lane, when being out in the middle of the track was no longer a detriment, she proved superior.

As for Careless Jewel, the morning-line favorite for the Alabama, she won't be caught if she runs back to her winning performance in the Delaware Oaks, when she posted a 104 Beyer for winning that race in wire-to-wire fashion by 7 1/4 lengths.

But as the favorite, she is a target, and stretching out three-sixteenths of a mile in distance to 1 1/4 miles, she is vulnerable to regression, particularly coming off a race that was so freaky fast.

If Careless Jewel bounces, Funny Moon should capitalize at a distance over which she has already proven her ability.

Well Monied set to rebound in Del Mar Oaks

In four races since late March, Well Monied has outrun 40 of 41 fillies she has faced. Only Gozzip Girl - arguably the best 3-year-old turf filly in the country - has been able to defeat her, beating Well Monied by 3 1/4 lengths in the Grade 1 American Oaks at Hollywood Park on July 5.

The good news for Well Monied in Saturday's Del Mar Oaks: Gozzip Girl is not in the race.

A reasonably good field is assembled, but it is not on par with the American Oaks, which drew 14 fillies, including three foreign competitors, thanks in part to its $700,000 purse.

In contrast, the $350,000 Del Mar Oaks drew only one horse that last raced outside Southern California - longshot Donttellmewhattodo - leaving Well Monied poised to continue her West Coast dominance.