Looking over the PP’s for the coming weekend, I see that Cobalt Blue (Golden Missile) is entered in the $75,000 Alydar Stakes (1-1/8 mile) at Hollywood Park (race 8). Also entered are previous-Derby trail colts Level Red (Aptitude), who finished last in the Santa Anita Derby most recently (and was beaten by Cobalt Blue two back in the San Felipe), and Pirates Deputy (Bertrando) who ran disappointingly in the Sham.
Indian War Dance, who was scratched from Wednesday’s race 2 at Belmont, is entered as a MTO entry in Saturday’s Elkwood Stakes (1 mile turf) at Monmouth (race 10). Prime contenders in that race are Bill Mott’s Classic Campaign who failed as the favorite last time out in the G3 Miami Mile Breeders’ Cup Handicap at Calder, and Park Avenue Ball who suffered a similar fate last out in the Artax Handicap at Gulfstream. Todd Pletcher’s Host who finished extremely poorly in March’s G1 Dubai Sheema Classic is also entered here.
Dreadnaught, who ran fifth of 11 in the tragic G2 Dixie Handicap at Pimlico on Preakness Day, comes back one week later to run in the Eight Thirty Stakes (1-1/8 mile turf) at Delaware on Saturday (race 7). His main competition looks to be Shug McGaughey’s Minister’s Joy who last finished second by a nose to Jade’s Revenge in the G3 Benali Stakes at Keeneland on April 26. Also running with be Shadwell Stables’ Kiaran McLaughlin-trained Shakis who hasn’t been in the money running in the UAE this year, and finished poorly in 2006 G1 Dubai World Cup, but seems to be training well this year at Belmont and probably benefits from added Lasix. Another interesting addition to this field is steeplechaser Mixed Up, who has been running in (and winning) G1 extreme route races (2 miles plus) for the past three years, including winning the G1 Royal Chase for the Sport of Kings.
Bold Start (Jump Start), who last finished third (as the favorite) in the Derby Trial, starts for Ken McPeek in OC80Kn2x (1-1/16 mile) at Churchill Downs on Saturday (race 4). Small field, but look for third time (undefeated) starter Mount Wilton (Graeme Hall) to give BS all he can handle at this distance.
Churchill’s race 10 on Saturday—the G3 Louisville Handicap (1-1/2 mile turf)—looks like a rerunning of Keeneland’s G3 Elkhorn (April 27), with the second through sixth place finishers back here (Always First, Drilling for Oil, Transduction Gold, Cloudy’s Knight, and Ramazutti). Add to the mix the second and third place finishers in March’s G3 Pan American Handicap at Gulfstream (Hotstufanthensome and Fri Guy), and this is a tough handicapping challenge. I'll probably weigh in my picks later in the week.