Some nice workouts Friday in advance of the G2 Sanford Stakes at Saratoga next week for two-year-olds. My early-bird BC Juvenile pick, Ready’s Image, handily blazed four furlongs at Belmont in 47:11 (1/31), while his stablemate in the Pletcher barn, The Roundhouse, breezed five furlongs in 1.02:14 (2/5). Two-year-old wunderkind filly One Hot Wish (who scratched from Friday night’s $125,000 California Thoroughbred Breeders Association Stakes) handily went five furlongs in 1.00.40 (3/61) at Del Mar yesterday; apparently, she may start against the boys again, in Wednesday’s $125,000 Graduation Stakes at Del Mar. Another two-year-old filly to watch, Sea Chanter, who is nominated for next week’s G2 Schuylerville Stakes at Saratoga, handily covered four furlongs in 47.62 (2/7) at Saratoga this past Monday, while Glacken’s Gal (aimed for the same race) worked a five furlong bullet 1.00.80 at Monmouth on Friday. At Woodbine on Saturday, the undefeated filly Dancing Allstar is favored to win the $125,000 Colin Stakes against 8 juvenile males.
Cable Boy and Street Sense provided two incredible works in the past two days, but I was intrigued by another workout yesterday: Stormello who handily worked seven furlongs at Del Mar in 1.31.20 (2/4) …on the TURF? Could he be aiming for the grassy G2 Del Mar Mile on the G1 Pacific Classic under card on August 19? I still think this speedy colt is a born miler (at best).
Among those nominated for the G2 San Clemente Handicap at Del Mar on July 28 are Baroness Thatcher (who weakened badly in finishing 8th in the nine horse G1 American Oaks at Hollywood on July 7), Rutherienne (who comes off two strong G3 races on the east coast), Super Freaky (who owns two straight second-place finishes behind Valbenny) and Tough Tiz’s Sis, most recently scratched from the G2 Delaware Oaks.
For Saturday’s graded stakes, I going chalky, favoring Cosmonaut in the G3 Arlington Handicap and Arson Squad in the G2 San Diego Handicap. With Rags to Riches out, and Octave in, I’m going with the big gray to crush this field. Her only competition (in my eyes) is Folk, who may or may not be the same filly who won the UAE One Thousand Guineas and UAE Oaks earlier this year before severely failing in the G2 UAE Derby in March, her last race. By default, Lear’s Princess warrants consideration in the exotics.
In the Virginia Oaks, I gotta go with my girl Bit of Whimsy who has been working well for Barclay Tagg. I’m not as happy with Christmas Kid’s works (and I was a BIG fan of hers earlier in the year), and Dreaming of Anna just doesn’t seem like the same filly that won the BC Juvenile Filly last year. For a longshot, I like Graham Motion’s Bees A LOT, with Ramon Dominguez up. Considering she was beaten last time out by Moon Catcher, who crushed the G2 Delaware Oaks field last weekend, I’m liking the company she keeps. In addition, three back, she lost by a neck to Panty Raid, who was a winner in the G1 American Oaks on turf last out.
In the grassy $1 million G2 Virginia Derby, I like Summer Doldrums, who was on my Derby list way back in March, but seems better suited to turf. Pletcher’s desperate throwing Circular Quay in here, hoping his class overcomes his rather iffy turf pedigree. And, for a piece of a $1 million pie, why not? But, I ask you, if the Toddster were serious about CQ here, why didn’t his top rider John Velazquez come with him to Colonial Downs instead of Garrett Gomez (who is no slouch, mind you, but has rode Octave before)? Yes, Gomez has ridden CQ too, but Pletcher tends to send Johnny V with his top horse… I wouldn’t be surprised to see Duveen take this race, and as an added bonus, he gets turf master Edgar Prado up. My super, super longshot here? Let me offer up Love Dubai, whose connections I abhor, but who put up a nice late charge in the G3 Colonial Turf Cup here on June 16. Three nice workouts since then…so he could be a surprise in the exotics.
Finally, for irony’s sake, I’ll go with QuasiCOBRA to win the G2 American Derby at Arlington for Patrick Biancone :)