There will be a plethora of exciting racing action this weekend. Quality Road, Blame, Mine That Bird, and Haynesfield are all part of the stellar field in the Whitney at Saratoga on Saturday. Zenyatta tries to make it 18 wins in a row in the Clement Hirsch at Del Mar also this weekend. However, the fields for those races came up a little short on quantity, so They Are Off will look elsewhere for a race to handicap and actually look at the OTHER Grade 1 race at The Spa on Saturday, the Grade 1 $250,000 Test Stakes:
Of course, with the Test this year, you have to acknowledge the scratch and subsequent retirement of #5 Franny Freud, who likely would have gone off as the betting favorite in what had been a field of ten. Now, we are down to nine and the original morning-line odds could be slightly skewed. I am still going with a double-digit price on that original morning-line and take the Asmussen trained, #8 Ash Zee. She has only run three times and is making a major leap up in company, but the seven furlong distance seems to suit her nicely and her times running it in her maiden-breaker at Churchill Downs and an Allowance race at Saratoga on July 24 were certainly comparable to what she will be facing in the Test. 10-1 on that morning-line is also very attractive. I will put #4 Bonnie Blue Flag second with John Velazquez aboard. She also has a win at this elongated sprint distance on her record, in the Cinemine at Lone Star Park on May 31. She ran 3rd behind the retired Franny Freud and one of her other competitors in here in the Grade 1 Prioress. That competitor is my third choice, #3 Champagne D'Oro. She won the Grade 1 Acorn earlier this year at odds of 40-1 in a front-running performance. I think that way of running might compromise her chances here, though, as there appears to be other prominent speed that might not allow to coast on an uncontested lead. Finally, I will jump in the Way Back Machine and select #9 Christine Daae for fourth. Earlier this year, she was the hot property at Gulfstream Park. That was before she got smoked in the Bonnie Miss by Devil May Care. She first arrived on the scene winning a seven-furlong race at Gulfstream with a time of 1:21.3. Patrick Biancone is putting blinkers on for the Test. We'll see if she can dig deep and recapture some of her lost glory. Here is the play for the Grade 1 $250,000 Test Stakes:
$5 WP #8
$1 EX BOX 3-4-8
$1 TRI BOX 3-4-8
Remember, They Are Off accepts no responsibility for any wagers placed in conjunction with these selections. They are merely suggestions. Tune in again next week for more from They Are Off. For right now, I am Gone... GOODBYE!