Ogden Phipps Handicap
It's not often you face the prospect of getting some real value out of a 6 horse field but I see this race as a real opportunity. First of all I dislike Teammate with a passion. I do not think she is anywhere near good enough to beat Take D'Tour. Sure she is riding a two race winning streak and she beat the progressive Sugar Shake last time out. But I don't think she will be quick enough to be close to the pace early and I don't see her as a good enough closer to track down Take D' Tour who won't be stopping. This race, to me, seems quite simple. Take D' Tour will go to the front and the rest of the field will be hard pressed to keep up. Bushfire has some speed but she is not naturally as quick so to get in front she'll have to be used hard. I think the field will actually back off of Take D' Tour even though they know it might be impossible to catch her. Take D' Tour naturally wants to set a fast pace and it will be up to Coa to see that she rations her speed. She will either run off with this race or she will get run down late on by a single closer. That is what has happened in 8 of her last 10 races. The horse I like to run her down is Miss Shop. She is far and away the best closer in the race but she also has some other positives. She is coming back just 7 days after her last race which was on the Turf. Miss Shop won the Rampart earlier this year off an identical move. 7 days rest, turf to dirt. Actually the Turf to Dirt angle has worked well all her career. She is 4-2-0-1 in Turf to Dirt moves. Her lone off the board finish came in a sprint where she lost all chance at the break. Miss Shop actually beat Teammate easily the only time they met and she was within half a length of Take D' Tour last year in the Ruffian. Miss Shop has also run some of her career biggest figures at Belmont. I often have trouble getting it right with Jerkens trainees but all the signs appear to be good with Miss Shop, I still use Take D' Tour though just because she is quite good and should control the pace.
Take D' Tour
All Along Breeders Cup Stakes
This is a good race but unfortunately its one where the favorite does not have many holes. Masseuse is breaking from the outside which is a disadvantage but other than that it is difficult to find fault with her. I am only drawn to this race because of the presence of two fillies that I have been following. Grigorieva looked very talented in her North American debut and I used her in the Gallorette on Preakness day. She was blighted by a slow pace that time so I'd like to give her a chance again. She could win up proving herself to be in a different class. I also like Silver Charades. She has never really tried this class but she has some very positive angles going for her because of her connections. Marty Wolfson is one of the savviest shippers in the country and when his #1 jockey Eddie Castro comes along for the ride he is doubly dangerous. Wolfson is also adept at getting the best out of horses from other barns and Silver Charades won very impressively for him first time out and has been working very well for him ever since. At 10/1 she is a steal.
Colonial Turf Cup
Most of the attention in this race will center around Adagio. He has faced some very good runners overseas and Americans love European shippers in this context. I think you have to use him but this race is by no means his to lose. The one thing that was painfully obvious about Adagio in Europe is that he failed to stay in his only attempt beyond a mile. He absolutely threw in the towel in the Dante and this race will surely stretch him as well. It is true that because of undulations European horses can stay further in America than they can in Europe but it's still a question mark. He goes first time for Dutrow who is not renown for being great with Euro's first time. It is interesting also that he does not get any race day medication or equipment changes. He is also a very poor starter and in the US that weakness will be magnified. He could easily win, he could also lose. I am wary of Mysterious Peintre but I would not back him. His record is excellent but he has done most of his racing at Lyon-Parilly which is sort of like the Mountaineer, or Thistledown of France. Most Europeans are stepping down in class when they come to America, he is stepping up. I think Soldier's Dancer is overrated, we already know what he has and it isn't enough to beat the A races of many of these horses. Summer Doldrums has a chance but I don't see him as a horse who will do better at near 10f than he did at 8f. Stamina may let him down. The horse I really like is Strike A Deal. His Turf record is excellent and he should only improve from his first start this year. The distance won't trouble him and I think he'll get an excellent pace setup when stalking from mid-pack.
Strike A Deal