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Saturday, September 1, 2007

Saturday's Graded Stakes

G1 Woodward:
I like Lawyer Ron…really, I do. But…I’m going to go against him here. I wouldn’t be surprised to see an upset by Diamond Stripes who looks to advance off two consecutive third place showing in G1 races with the ever-wise Edgar Prado up. And while I like Corinthian, he too much a wild card, so I’ll pass on him here. I’m going to go a little deeper for my picks. Pletcher’s other entry Magna Graduate wasn’t as close to the pace as he likes in the Whitney, and breaking from post 3 should help him position himself better early. I see Wanderin Boy going to the lead, and the battle ultimately emerging between he and Magna Graduate with…Sun King in the mix at the end. So, $1 tri box 3-4-6.

G1 Forego:
High Finance is the morning line favorite off his G2 victory in the Tom Fool last out on July 4, but historically hasn’t necessarily impressed after layoffs, so I don’t see him as a mortal lock here—especially starting from the 10 post. Attila’s Storm has run very consistently over the past three years, and scored an impressive second place showing versus Diabolical last out in the G2 Vanderbilt. Chatain ran impressively versus Invasor in the G1 Donn earlier this year, and after a break, came back in a sprint last out which he won easily. I look for him to be there at the end for sure. My choice: Bob Baffert brings Midnight Lute in from the West Coast, and I like him—especially that bullet August 27 4 furlong work in :46 over this track. $1 tri box 7-8-9

G3 Kent BC:
I like Nobiz Like Shobiz, but after his recent turf win in the G2 Hall of Fame, he will be overbet. Thus, while I will definitely keep him in my trifecta, I’m rooting for either Strike a Deal after his strong second place finish in the slightly longer G2 Virginia Derby, where Red Giant nosed him out, and his previous second place finish—by a head—to Summer Doldrums in the G3 Colonial Turf Cup. The latter is also in play for me here, especially if he goes off anywhere near his 12-1 morning line, with Garrett Gomez newly aboard. $1 tri box: 3-5-8

G3 Red Bank:
Icy Atlantic finished well here in the G3 Oceanport last out, and, as a son of Stormy Atlantic, should like the lesser distance, but I’m banking on former Better Talk Now rabbit Shake the Bank to break out here with a win. Throw in Baron Von Tap to complete the trifecta: 4-3-2

G3 Arlington-Washington Futurity:
I love juvenile races! And this one is a challenge on many levels: it’s on an all-weather surface and it’s 1 mile, which only 1 of the entrants has traveled before. Let’s start with him, Texas Wildcatter who won his maiden race on this track, at this distance on August 4. No red flags, so definitely in the mix. I am tossing—rightly or wrongly—T. J.’s Posse, who is 2 for 2, including a win in the Jamestown Stakes at Colonial last out, but I just can’t believe the Posse offspring can get the distance. Yes, they have been very precocious this year at the shorter juvenile distances, but…we’ll see how that talent holds. Sebastian Country greatly interests me, not only with his 2 for 2 record, but his pedigree. His mother Double Park was stakesplaced in England at 2, and has produced precocious offspring, most notably his full-brother Cactus Ridge (by Hennessy) who won this very race in 2003. He can’t be discounted, as neither can Blackberry Road whose half-brother Vindication won the 2002 G1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and G3 Kentucky Cup Juvenile. He finished 4th behind Kodiak Kowboy last out in the G3 Bashford Manor Stakes on July 7, but I’m concerned that his three works since then haven’t exactly improved. Bill Mott’s Riley Tucker tired badly in finishing a distance third behind Kodiak Kowboy and The Roundhouse in the G2 Saratoga Special on August 16, so I’m not sure the extra distance is something he is ready for yet, or ever, considering the limitations of Harlan’s Holiday. Gold Coyote looks to be on the lead early and could take it wire-to-wire. $1 tri box 2-5-8