Thursday, August 24, 2006

The Summertime Derby

The 137th running of the Travers Stakes takes place on Saturday at Saratoga in upstate New York. The best in this field is the best horse currently in training in North America, Bernardini. He devastated the field in the Grade 2 Jim Dandy over this racetrack and he and jockey Javier Castellano are now a perfect 3 for 3 when paired together. The two Todd Pletcher trainees come next and I'll put High Cotton in the place position. He and Garrett Gomez are 2 for 2 when running together and this colt's workout on August 19th was a blistering five-furlong bullet. Bluegrass Cat won the Haskell Invitational at Monmouth on August 6th, but that came after almost two months off. I don't know if he will be as fresh as he needs to be to challenge the top pick. I'll round out the top four with Kip Deville, who is making the turf-to-dirt switch here and possesses plenty of early speed. He might get run into the ground by Bernardini, but if the pace is soft, he might hang in there for a piece of the action.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

One Million Dollars

The 24th running of the Arlington Million takes place in Chicago this Saturday. It is one of the better turf races in the world and always is instrumental leading into the fall season and the Breeders' Cup Would Thoroughbred Championships. We will go with English Channel to win even with the #11 post position. Trainer Todd Pletcher has been winning almost everything lately and this horse has been outstanding in every 2006 start, winning three of four. Cacique defeated the top pick at Belmont in the Manhattan Handicap on June 10th, but has lost twice to that colt as well. The Tin Man is an 8-year-old veteran that scored a win in a Grade 2 at Hollywood on July 2nd and gets Victor Espinoza aboard. He just might be in too tough here. The best of the Euro invaders appears to be Soldier Hollow. He has 6 wins at the distance and was Sired by former Breeders' Cup champ, In The Wings. Here's wishing the best of luck to you all.

Friday, August 04, 2006

A Haskell Happening

The Grade 1 Haskell Invitational is this Sunday at Monmouth Park in New Jersey. It is the highlight of the Jersey track's meet and since this is my old home state, let's take a good look at the Haskell. I will go with the John Ward-trained Strong Contender as the winner here. He posted a phenomenal Beyer speed figure of 109 in winning the Grade 2 Dwyer at Belmont Park on July 4th. While there is a bounce possibility, he will have Edgar Prado aboard and that should help with that factor. Bluegrass Cat was the runner-up in Kentucky Derby and the Belmont Stakes, but that is just the problem. He has finished 2nd in three of the last four races. His last win was an ungraded Stakes race at Tampa Bay Downs in February. Deputy Glitters might get the balance of the bucks here. He won the Grade 2 Ohio Derby at Thistledown last time out on July 15th and beat Bluegrass Cat in the Tampa Bay Derby in March. The longshot to like in here is Praying For Cash with Jersey Joe Bravo in the irons. This horse is 8-1 on the morning line and loves the Monmouth strip, winning three of four starts over this racetrack. Here's wishing the best of luck to you all.