Not much depth this weekend in some big races, most notably the G1 Mother Goose, which is a joke with its four-filly field. I can’t believe the three-year-old filly division is so darn weak that they could only round up four to run in this Grade 1 race! What a waste to bet! However, if I did…Even with Garrett Gomez up, Bold Assurance is way over her head here, so it basically comes down to a three horse race: Lady Joanne who ships in from Kentucky with Calvin Borel up; Boca Grande with Javier Castellano replacing Mike Smith, and John Velazquez on Octave. I really like Octave here to break out of her nasty habit of finishing second, and Boca Grande’s recent Belmont effort in the G1 Acorn should suit her well for second; Lady Joanne third.
In the G1 Suburban, without Invasor, this looks to be Corinthian’s race to lose—and I don’t think he will. However, I would not be surprised if Fairbanks put in a strong challenge, as Richard Migliore makes the trip in from the West Coast to ride. To finish out the trifecta? I suppose Hesanoldsalt, although I’m surprised Edgar Prado is off and Eibar Coa up. Prado gets on Evening Attire who also loses 9 lbs from his previous race, to run here at 114 lbs.
How is it that Corinthian carries the 119 lbs high weight in the Suburban, while Citronnade has to haul around 122 in Sunday’s G2 Beverly Hills Handicap? Still, none of these can beat her. Naughty Rafaela looks the best of the rest, with Memorette there at the end as well.
In the G1 Hollywood Gold Cup, Lava Man takes his first try on all-weather track. However, his sire Slew City Slew has had great success with his offspring on AW surfaces, with 20% wins, and 44.3% ITM, plus Lava Man has performed well on turf, so I’m not concerned about the new surface. Others question whether his form is off after that horrible Dubai performance, but it was what it was…a race outside California. In California, Lava Man is still the Man (despite that loss to After Market last out). However, if he is to be upset, I’m looking at Molengeo or My Creed.
In the G2 Firecracker at Churchill, I know Remarkable News is the lukewarm 5-2 morning line favorite, but I’m sold on Outperformance here, especially with Rafael Bejarano up. Completing the trifecta will be Brilliant who was nosed out by Sky Conqueror last time out in the G1 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic, and has never finished worse than second in four tries at Churchill.
Finally, at Lone Star on Saturday, Forty Grams looks to be the easy winner of the $100,000 Alysheba Breeders’ Cup Stakes, but I’m heavily favoring Strong City especially if the rain keeps up. Both of this colt’s previous wins were on dirt at one mile, his connections strong, and his last workout robust. If his post time odds are anywhere near his 8-1 morning line, the payout should be big.