Arlington Classic Stakes
I don't think bettors will really know what to do with this race. Mott's horse Vaunt is the favorite based on his 3 90+ Beyer figures on the Turf. No other horse in the race has even recorded a single 90+ BSF on the Turf. So figures wise he's the dominant force. But he has run all of his North American races in California. The turf at Arlington is a far cry from the Californian sod. Vaunt has also never won a race in America. This is his first start with Mott so he's likely just trying to figure him out. It's a bad time to take 5/2 on him. I much prefer the consistent Tom Archdeacon. 5 starts on the grass and he's never been worse than second. He got to the front a little bit prematurely last time and it left him exposed late but with a more patient ride he's the one to beat in my opinion. Beta Capo is also dangerous for the streaking Asmussen barn. He may try to win this race all the way on the front and he may just be successful at it. He's looked a new horse on the grass and was maybe just undone by the soft ground last out.
New York Stakes
One of the most competitive races of the entire weekend. Honey Ryder and Safari would likely handle this field fairly easily but neither of them were entered. Instead Pletcher has left it to Jade Queen who is 5/2 and will be beatable amongst these. I think she will try to take it all the way on the lead as she attempted in the Flower Bowl but Vacare, Masseuse and For Always will be close enough to see that she doesn't steal it. I think Prado and Gomez would be content to lead it all the way around slowly then have it out between themselves in the lane but I'm hoping longshot For Always steps in and heats things up a tad. There are cases to be made for several longshots here. Bond's filly Hostess has been a new creature since turning 4 years old. She had trouble when facing Honey Ryder last time out. She actually matched her through the straight despite being wheeled in and out. Belmont is clearly her favorite track as her 3 highest BSF's have all come in her 3 starts at Belmont. She can lay close to the pace and still kick on as she is likely the stoutest stayer in the race. Masseuse also has a great chance. She has not yet gone this far but she is bred for it. She has been very consistent and I think she won in spite of the ground last time out. With firm turf I think she is as good as any horse in the race. Makderah also has a really great chance. She won with some authority in her last race and McLaughlin has done quite well with Turf runners at Belmont. She certainly would not surprise me. I see Vacare as being vulnerable. She has never been this far and is coming off the worst finish of her life as well as a cross continent plane ride. Now her last race was not all that bad, it just was not as good as her wins and it's worth noting that she chased the lone speed (Cittronade) all the way around and came up empty in the stretch. She could easily have the same scenario behind Jade Queen and she ran out of gas going 9f, I don't like her more going 10f. I think you have to include Jade Queen despite the tempting longshots but if you're just playing this race on its own you could certainly go for a price.
Queen's Plate Stakes
I'm quite pleased to see the Canadian showpiece getting so much attention from the major websites. Although it's a million dollar race the quality usually isn't there and often it gets lost in the shadows but it is a great race and in fact the captivating 1996 renewal was responsible for my keen interest in racing. Many of the horses in the Queen's Plate are either not very good or not yet exposed. I tend to side with either improving horses or classy horses. I think the classiest horses in the race are Twilight Meteor, Jiggs Coz and Leonnatus Anteas. The prices on Twilight Meteor and Jiggs Coz won't be all that great I think you have to decide to go against one of them. That one for me is Twilight Meteor. I know he has the top figs in the race and runs for the best connections but he has been somewhat spotty in his career and I truly believe his best race will come on the Turf. Many of the well touted Americans that come to this race are beaten. Jiggs Coz does not have great two turn figures but he's 4 for 5 lifetime and his only loss came in the Coronation Futurity which was his second lifetime start and he was ridden all wrong. Leonnatus Anteas should be back to his beat and might prove very tough for Jiggs Coz to outpace. I think Canadians would all love to see these two decide the race in a head bobbing finish. Leonnatus always looked like a horse who would be better at 3 and I think his performance against older horses last time was marvellous. I think most of all though I like the underrated Daaher. In his first race he was completely taken out of it at the break. It was mostly his doing but it is certainly a valid excuse. He then came back to win in fine style at Belmont against older horses. His sire won this race off of two lifetime starts and he may do the same. The polytrack is a slight question but fitness wont be. He's been working over the deep training track at Saratoga. He could easily prove to be the best horse in this field when all is said and done and at 10/1 or more I may just back him to prove it.