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Saturday, June 13, 2009

Saturday Stakes

Advice is listed as the 5-2 morning line favorite in the G2 Jefferson Cup at Churchill on Stephen Foster day today. Don't know if that's going to be the case; he's not even amongst the top three in the Form consensus box (which at least in the past used to be a better barometer of the ultimate public sentiment). But if he is favored based on his mere appearance in the Kentucky Derby and his success on synthetics, particularly in the Lexington, then he seems an obvious bet against in this spot. No Inflation (7-2) has been no worse than second in four turf tries, and has shown major improvement this spring for the sharp Tom Proctor barn (four winners in his last six at Churchill). He made a decisive move to the lead after tracking the pace setter in the Arlington Classic, only to be reeled in by the classy Giant Oak. Nobody of that ilk in this race, and the speedy Florentino (3-1) may play the role of the target here.

The G3 Northern Dancer has another morning line favorite who is questionable in my mind; Warrior's Reward is listed at 6-5 off his gaudy 113 Beyer earned on a sealed track at seven furlongs. This race is a different story at a mile and an eighth, and this horse is 0 for 2 around two turns. I mean, as far as opposing favorites go, it doesn't get more obvious than Advice and this guy. Doesn't mean that they'll lose, but, in my humble opinion, you're dropping the ball like Luis Castillo if you accept low odds on horses like this. Dicey heat here with second choice Successful Dan (7-2) trying a route for the first time; so let's take a shot with Parade Clown (8-1). Synthtetic stakes winning son of Distorted Humor found Grade 2 company to be a bit too much; but showed promise on this surface with a wide, fast-closing second in a one-turn mile after early troubles. Stretch out to two turns could help here. Omniscient (9-2) is two-for-two in two-turn dirt races for Asmussen.

In the G2 Fleur De Lis, Temple Street (8-1) has a bit of that Diamondrella vibe going on - no six race winning streak here, but here's another horse with a consistent late kick at sprints stretching out ....and with the breeding to do it. She's a five-year old mare by Street Cry out of a Pulpit mare; and if you go back to her third dam, underneath you'll see names such as the marathoner Marsh Side and Stage Colony; as well as the champion Pleasant Stage, and the ill-fated A Phenomenon (best known as a sprint/middle distance specialist, but also the winner of the Jim Dandy). This mare is already quite a story having been claimed from Ken Ramsey last fall for 15K and finishing a close second in the G1 Humana Distaff on Derby day. Julien Leparoux is up; he won his last two tries on Temple Street, and trainer Brad Cox is three for ten at the meet. Now, if you go way back in her pp's, she does have three dismal efforts around two turns. But she's a different animal now, so seems worth a shot to me at a fair price.

Good luck everyone and have a great day!