Cash Call Mile Invitational
Very tough race to decipher as typically foreigners have done very well but in this case the form of the Japanese horses has been indifferent. The best of the Japanese would seem to be Koiuta but she has not done very well of late. She won her last start at 59/1 but prior to that was winless in 8 starts. I don't trust her here, of the Japanese entrants I actually prefer Kiss To Heaven. Although she has not won since last April she has run consistently better than Koiuta. If you remove the races that were beyond her effective range she has never been beaten by more than 4 lengths and she has faced some very good horses. This is a class drop for her and 12/1 looks square. Price Tag is definitely the one to beat though. If not for the fact that she is going to be heavily favored I might be tempted to single her. Her only loss has come to Citronnade and even that race was not well suited to her. She is a G-1 winner over the course and has been doing very well of late. Lady of Venice has done very well at the distance but with the cloud over Biancone's stable I can't really back his runners right now. If you're looking for a longshot look at Dancing Edie. I can't figure out how the lone speed can be 20/1, especially when you consider that she has never really run a bad race on the Turf aside from her effort in the BC. It's true that she is not especially effective at either the course or distance, 9f at Del Mar seems to be her best game, but if left alone she will be very difficult to catch. Arm Candy and Precious Kitten seem like the only horses with the speed to challenge her and even both of those would have to be used suicidally in order to effect her.
Kiss To Heaven
If Rated Fiesty is really as fast as she seems on paper then this race is a formality. She got a 102 BSF for her last win and a horse she beat into third that day, Ready's Image, came back to post a 99 BSF in an easy Tremont win. But this race contains the speedy American County as well. Rated Fiesty did outpace her when they met in a maiden but American County may be sent early on to keep her honest. Dreabons Legacy also has speed, perhaps speed enough to push Rated Fiesty faster than she wants to go. If that were to take place I think the race would fall to the other Asmussen horse Wonderful Luck. She was well beaten by Rated Fiesty in the Kentucky BC but that over a sloppy track. Otherwise she has been a very effective late runner. Her figures aren't very fast but she reminds of Octave as a young 2yo. Asumussen should win this race though as he has the best speed and the best closer.
Bashford Manor Stakes
Asmussen is one a personal mission to sweep the 2yo stakes at Churchill but I do not really like any of his entrants. I think the favorite Kodiak Kowboy is a bad gamble. I did not like his race at Woodbine very much I think he's suspect here. I see the class of the race as being Little Nick from Dale Romans barn. The only horse to beat him was Ready's Image and he came right back to beat Hargill who is 4/1 with Asmussen in this race. He may just be the speed of the speed in this race. The wild card is Motovato, he destroyed his rivals at Delaware then got transferred to Pletcher. Most of his rivals that day ran well next time out but none of them won so he isn't getting the greatest for reference. Although he beat them by 9 lengths so clearly he was in a different class. I think you have to include him out of respect for Todd but don't use him heavily. The most interesting horse in the race is Ascot Hall, he has the lowest BSF in the whole field and yet he shipped from New York especially for this race. Dutrow basically never ships his 2yo's in their second career start but he is 41% with second timers. This horse closed strongly to deny a Pletcher maiden who had just run well against Rated Fiesty. It was a good performance visually, it just was not very fast. I may use some blind faith in his trainer and include him in some way.
United Nations Stakes
Not a very good race for a G-1. I guess no one really wanted to challenge the big 3, but given the fact that it's the only high class Turf race run over the course that is hosting the BC you'd think that it would have drawn more interest. With just 5 horses the pace becomes more important. Fri Guy will set the pace and English Channel will get a perfect setup stalking just off his flank. I respect Better Talk Now but he has not won 2 races in a row since he took back to back allowance races in 2002. I think the pace better suites English Channel and it's worth noting that EC's best career race came in this very fixture last year. I think he'll hold off old Blackie this time. Honey Ryder has to be seen as dangerous thanks to her excellent record at the distance and the fact that Gomez is on. When Velasquez and Gomez ride for Pletcher in the same race Gomez has a far superior record despite not always getting what seem to be the best mounts. Most recently we saw this illustrated again when Master Command ran nowhere in the Stephen Foster under Velasquez and Magna Graduate was just beaten by a nose. I'd still use English Channel in this race though.
American Oaks Invitational
A very wide open race but I am going to go against many of the favorites. I believe that Valbenny and Audacious Chloe will find the distance a bit too much for them. I think one of them might make the top 3 but they should be well behind the winners. I do not understand Robe Decollete at 3/1 when Anamato is 8/1. Perhaps because Japanese form is more proven than Australian on American shores but traditionally there is little to find between the quality of those respective nations and Anamato is a far better horse in Australia than Robe Decollete is in Japan. Unlike many of the fillies in this race Anamato is dead sure to stay the distance and seems to even excel at it. The firm ground should be no problem and I think she is your most likely winner. The toughest challenge may come from Just Little. Rouget has been sending a few horses over and while most of them have not won many of them have outperformed. Just Little is the highest quality horse he has sent in a while and the first time lasix angle cannot be ignored. most of her form is on softer ground but being by Grand Slam she should get a hold of it, although lack of suitability to the ground is likely the biggest thing against her. The American that I like the most is Baroness Thatcher. I have long though well of her and she is well bred for the grass. Her only attempt on a surface other than dirt yielded a convincing 5 length win. She has sort of failed to excel in her last few starts, a switch to this surface could really wake her up. This race doesn't have much speed aside from Audacious Chloe so the Baroness could find herself alone in front. Flores on Chloe will likely show some restraint early on given the fact that all the big guns will be behind him.