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Saturday, July 21, 2007

Saturday Races

- Ron Ellis said that Buzzards Bay will go straight to the lead in the San Diego Handicap. This five-year old son of Marco Bay looked as if he could be a factor in the handicap division after two dominant stakes scores in the spring of 2006. But since those wins, he's raced only three times, with a 10 1/2 month gap after his 4th in the Stephen Foster as the 7-5 choice. I wasn't thrilled with his win in the Californian; he had a picture perfect trip and a slow last quarter mile to close into when nosing out the improving Sun Boat (also in this race). Even Ellis said, "I thought he should have been more impressive than that." [DRF]

He's back as the 2-1 morning line favorite after missing the Gold Cup with stifle problems. So let's try and beat him.

I'm actually surprised that Arson Squad isn't the morning line favorite. He certainly seems to be going in the right direction. However, he's never started on synthetic tracks (he's worked out twice at Del Mar). He also comes off a 5 1/2 month layoff, the longest break in his career. I think he'll probably vie for let's try and beat him too.

I'm going to try for a price with Heatseeker (10-1), from the hot barn of Bobby Frankel, who has had three winners from five starters thus far. Heatseeker was third, less than three lengths behind George Washington in the National Stakes in 2005. He makes his U.S. stakes debut here after crossing the wire second in allowance company, twice on grass and once on Cushion Track. In his last two, the last of which he was put up via a DQ unrelated to his journey, Joe Talamo has had trouble keeping him focused in the stretch - you can see him turning his head towards the stands both times. So Frankel adds blinkers here, and that's a 26% winning move for the barn over the last two years. I think this lightly raced four-year old son of Giant's Causeway has an upset chance here if he keeps his mind on the race.

Awesome Gem has been sharp in two races on the Cushion Track after a brief layoff. He showed class with a win in the G2 San Fernando earlier this year. Trainer Craig Dollase, also off to a good start at two for three, told the Form of the horse's last start, an optional claimer, "He had a little bit left in the tank." Indeed, he appears to have been pointing to this race and I think he'll go well.

The Osunitas Handicap is the other stakes on the Del Mar card, and this one goes on the grass. Let's go to the outside post for Arm Candy. She was a quite decent 6th in the Cash Call last out; before that was a very close third in a restricted stakes behind Somthingaboutlaura, winner of the G2 A Gleam in her next start, and the Grade 1 winnner Dancing Edie. Victor Espinoza is back on board, and he's won at a 40% rate (10 for 25) for trainer B.D.A. Cecil.

Frankel is in this race too, with morning line favorite Double Trouble. She beat four others in this field in an allowance race in her last, and did so with style, waiting patiently in last place to the stretch, waiting for room and weaving her way through for a win that looks easier on tape than in the pp lines. Fleetheart is an interesting entry; undefeated in four tries, two each on dirt and Cush, she tries the grass and stakes company for the first time. By Northern Afleet, she has four siblings with turf wins, including stakes winner Guardianofthegate.

- The Coaching Club American Oaks comes up as an interesting race in the absence of Rags to Riches, having attracted Darley's Folk, who ran her way into the UAE Derby with two dominant wins against the girls in Dubai. She'll face Pletcher's Octave, off her breakthrough in the Mother Goose following five straight seconds; as well as West Point's Lear's Princess, unbeaten in three races albeit on Keeneland Poly and turf. I plan to just watch and enjoy this race; good luck if you try to figure it out.

I like the third at Belmont on a card dominated by state-breds and claimers as everyone gets set for the Spa. Greater Fool needs a better start; he's had early mishaps in each of his last three races after getting good support at the tote. He put in a nice wide run for third at six furlongs last time in a race which has produced two next-out winners (2nd and 4th place finishers), and the extra distance would appear to help. Richard Violette, having a nice July at 21-6-2-5 at Belmont, turns to Johnny V, who doesn't often ride for the barn, but is two for three doing so at this meeting.

Timber Reserve makes his first start since fading to 4th behind Nobiz Like Shobiz in the Remsen. Prior to that, he beat a talented maiden field at Churchill which produced three subsequent winners and three seconds too. John Kimmel has had a couple of seconds with long layoff horses at this meet, and this $400,000 son of Forest Camp shows two fine five furlong works in preparation. Parading is the probable favorite for Shug; he whistled by four last month in his first race since last August. He beat, however, an extremely weak maiden field.

Good luck and have a great day; man, it's gorgeous here in New York. Hope you're having nice weather too.


El Angelo said...

I discussed the CCA Oaks on my blog, but I think it's pretty tough to get past Octave, and I'll try a few bombs behind him. Outside of the 3rd and the feature, it's a hideous card.

inthebeginningtherewasace said...

I like Mt Langfuhr at a price in the 6th. Agree about the CCA Oaks and the rest of the card in general - Spa can't open quick enough.

ljk said...

I'm also pumped for the start at the Spa. But I don't share the optimism that the cards won't be full of pathetic NY bred restricted races. I saw a bit in the Courier Journal where Churchill was analyzing what type of races attracted the largest pools. Any chance a wagering boycott of poor races would even be noticed by NYRA?

El Angelo said...

My instinct is the type of race that draws the largest pools are those with the biggest fields. Sadly, that's gonna be NY breds, to I think you're right. Still, even mediocre racing at Saratoga is special. The real key is if they can keep those races on the weekday cards and keep the weekends strong.