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Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day

Some good stakes action is on tap for Memorial Day, topped by the G1 Met Mile at Belmont. Todd Pletcher’s trio—Aikenite, Caixa Eletronica and Ibboyee—is impressive, but for my trifecta (boxed)  I like Soaring Empire, Tackleberry and Tizway, in a repeat finish to the G2 Gulfstream Park Handicap. All three have been working gangbusters for this event; Tizway loves the track and Tackleberry should enjoy getting back on a dry surface.

One race prior, the G2 Sands Point will doubtlessly see Winter Memories go postward a short-priced favorite—and rightly so—but overall it’s actually quite an impressive field. Not a lot of early speed, which is going to impact the pace quite a bit, and probably set things up perfectly for Winter Memories, but I’m quite interested in Christophe Clement trainee Naples Bay, who just happens to be a half-sister to Medaglia d’Oro. She’s lightly raced, but progressing well. Mystical Star will enjoy getting back on turf and shortening up. I know my favorite Brooklyn Backstretch denizen will be rooting for Celestial Kitten while I have to go sentimentally with Parting Words, a Foolish Pleasure damline descendent, and half sister to Maximus Ruler.

The G1 Gamely at Hollywood features Carla Gaines trainee Malibu Pier attempting to extend her win streak to three races. Cozi Rosie and Restless Soul have every right to flesh out the trifecta, but 7-year-old Celtic Princess (previously a G1 winner in Brazil) has posted smoking workouts in advance of this 2011 debut; Bejarano aboard is a bonus, but she probably isn’t up to the class of these. Much more likely, though, is Dubawi Heights who will be stretching out beyond 8.5 furlongs for the first time. Turning Top loses Bejarano, but gains Garrett Gomez which makes her my top choice for this race.

Race 5 at Churchill—a maiden special weight for 2-year-olds going 4.5 furlongs—features a field of 10, with the far outside starter being a Johannesburg colt named Brown Eyed Jozi with Calvin Borel up. Calvin rode his dam Brown Eyed Beauty when she crushed her maiden start, winning at Churchill at first-ask by 5.5 lengths. His half sister Brown Eyed Baby won second out as a juvenile, after running second first out, so I wouldn’t expect anything less from him. D’Wildcat Road has posted sharp works from the gate in advance of this at Keeneland, and if he gets a strong start, he could be a serious force. He’s closely related to Forestry Type, who broke his maiden second out at three and won the Prairie Mile over a sealed sloppy track. The other one in here with sharp works is Jonmil Johnny; his half sister Jonmil’s Edge took three attempts to break her juvenile maiden—all three races over synthetic surfaces—and then finished third in the Presque Isle Debutante. Interestingly, she also finished third behind Brown Eyed Baby in a Churchill allowance race in the finale of her juvenile campaign, so maybe a little sibling rematch is on.

Good luck with all your wagers, and be safe this Memorial Day.