Eclectic racing today, with everyone’s eye on Curlin in the G1 Man O’War. While I appreciate Curlin’s dirt dominance, he’ll have to prove his turf mettle. I have no idea what his connections would view as the appropriate outcome to continue on to the Arc, but if the final time is honest and he finishes in the money within a length of the winner, I suspect they would consider that a success. As he’ll likely to be way overbet, I’m looking elsewhere, though. Better Talk Now was unlucky last out in the G1 Manhattan, but breaking from the rail may not necessarily be beneficial. Still, he should be in the mix at the end, with Mission Approved serving as his surrogate pace rabbit. Usually I’d like Red Rocks, but he hasn’t impressed lately. For the win, I’m all over Grand Couturier, for obvious reasons, but more specifically due to his strong performance in last year’s edition behind Doctor Dino (who has continued his strong form this year) and the now-retired Sunriver, as well as his strong late run in first outing of 2008.
At Calder, I love Dancing Allstar in the G3 Azalea. Fell in love with her from the very start of her career last year, and glad to see her coming south from Canada (finally) to compete. Her greatest challenge should come from California invader Indyanne who has posted a series of stunning works this year; however, that one has yet to face the quality of competition that her challengers here offer so I doubt she’s really that dominant. Dancing Allstar has face far better competition, including stakes winners Remarkable Miss, Bear Holiday, Officer Cherrie and Sky Mom. Of the local runners, Orinoquia has proven her mettle, and Dite Moi should make an impact with Elvis Trujillo up.
Also like Man of Danger in the G2 Smile, Carson’s Legacy in the G2 Carry Back and Dream Rush in the G1 Princess Rooney.
At Arlington, the turf is soft as of this writing, so Communique may have an advantage over Ballymore Lady in the G3 Modesty, as the latter hasn’t seen anything less than firm since transferring to the U.S. from France. I’m a sucker for Lemon Drop Kid fillies, but rather than fruitlessly invest in Kiss With a Twist (again), I’m pegging the California invader Lemon Chiffon to get her first graded stakes victory here. However, part of me will be rooting hard for Quiet Queen who I have a gut feeling about here (and thus will probably toss a buck or two on).
The G3 Arlington Handicap is down to a four-horse field, making it even easier for Cosmonaut to three-peat. With the defections of both Blue Exit and Amazing Results in the G2 American Derby, Tizdejavu looks more like a cinch, although I’ll be curious how the European invader Great War Eagle does in his first route test; he’s being transferred to David Carroll’s stable after this year and staying in the U.S.
Tomorrow: the return of Southwestern Heat in the John McSorley at Monmouth. Yeah!