I took a look around at the holiday stakes events and I was rather underwhelmed. The Tom Fool and Dwyer will be good races to watch but with Frankel removing his contenders from both of those races they are likely to be chalk dominated. The Stars and Stripes features Always First, a horse who I think is very good at the distance but I just don't trust him this time.
With First Defence out this race is all about Any Given Saturday. Basically if he's fit, and I expect he is, he should win this one comfortably. Sure he did lose to both of his main competitors in the Wood but he was off that day. His best race is better than anything Nobiz like Showbiz or Sightseeing can produce. Pletcher is also deadly off the shelf like this.
Any Given Saturday
Hollywood Juvenile Championship
Most races packed with horses who have only run once or twice are pretty wide open and this affair is no exception. The morning line favorite, Booted, is still a maiden. He was well backed in his first effort but did not get on track until too late and just missed. I'd expect much more professionalism from him here and the added distance will aid him greatly. But he is still a maiden so you have to consider other options. I love the Miller horse Whatever Whenever, if he came from a different barn perhaps he'd be more respected but Miller is very good with young stock. This horse may just be the speed of the speed and for a race with this many young horses there does seem to be a surprising lack of speed on paper. In his first start he actually looked as if he had some class and his numbers are right in line everyone else. He could shock some people. Another horse I'd toss in the mix is Overextended. One has to wonder what he is doing in the race. There are three maidens in the line up and one of them is the favorite, another is a 50/1 first time starter who was an $8.5k purchase and goes for a trainer who has not won a single start this year. Overextended on the other hand was 7th in his only start. He was the second most expensive purchase in the race and he is in the care of Doug O'Neill, who certainly knows how to win a race with a 2yo. This horse missed the break badly in his debut and was 10 lengths out the back before he knew it. He made a decent weaving rally up the inside to be beaten only by 4 lengths. The winner of that race is back in here and the second place finisher won a maiden next time out so the form of the race is pretty good. At 12/1 Overextended is worth a long look.