Friday, June 16, 2006

Oh, Susanna!!!

Churchill Downs runs the big race this weekend, the Grade 1 $750,000 Stephen Foster Handicap, named for the man who penned the Kentucky Derby theme, My Old Kentucky Home. A very intriguing field of ten will go postward on Saturday in the Foster and I will top the tensome with West Virginia. Well, I know that is a ways from Kentucky, but this Todd Pletcher trainee has a win and a third in two starts since April Fool's Day and has won thrice at this distance in his career. Oaklawn Handicap winner, Buzzards Bay, is my second choice in the Foster. He has won two straight, but has been away from the races since April 8th. He does show a strong workout at Hollywood Park on June 10th. Love Of Money posted a 110 Beyer in running 2nd in the Westchester Handicap at Belmont Park on May 3rd. This horse should be toward the front almost all the way on Saturday and gets Edgar Prado aboard. Brass Hat will likely go off as the betting favorite in this race, but be careful with him since he is returning from Dubai and horses coming back from there rarely do as well as they did before the trip. The best of luck to you all.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Sidewalks of New York

I know they sing New York, New York before the Belmont Stakes nowadays, but not too long ago the traditional song of the race was "Sidewalks of New York". With that out of the way, I will go with Bob And John to win the 138th running of the Belmont Stakes on Saturday. Toss the Derby right out of consideration. He got a miserable trip and never really had a chance after the early problems. Also, if the track comes up sloppy, he won the Wood Memorial over a sloppy strip. For second, I lean toward morning-line choice and Derby runner-up, Bluegrass Cat. He is at best a weak morning-line favorite. He got the best trip of all in the Derby and was expertly ridden that day by Ramon Dominguez. So, the connections go back to John Velazquez to ride. He is no slouch and has won four times aboard this horse, but Dominguez deserved another shot. The price pick in the Belmont is High Finance because he has the best Beyer speed figure in this field ( a 103 last time out) and he has been quite impressive in winning his last two, including the last at Belmont Park. Sunriver, the winner of the Grade 2 Peter Pan Stakes at Belmont on May 20th, gets fourth placement with Rafael Bejarano aboard. The best of luck to you all.