Toronto Cup Stakes
It's too bad I could not find free Past Performances to link to this race because it should be a very good contest. The most interesting entrant for me is Sprung. I'm interested to see if she'll stay in the race because she and stablemate Approval Rating both have Patrick Husbands listed on board. Since Approval Rating is the morning line favorite it is likely that Husbands will stick with him but the filly Sprung has to have an excellent chance. She may be giving up some sort of advantage on the grounds of her gender but Turf racing is definitely a more even surface because it is not as tiring. Sprung also owns the highest BSF for 9f on grass in the entire field. She got it for her performance last time out when she easily handled older mares. Her turn of foot was quite exceptional and she still has not been beaten over the Woodbine Turf course. At 8/1 she is superb value if she stays in and would be my primary selection. Being an American bred Sprung has very few possible stakes targets right now unless she wants to face Arravale and Strike Softly. Approval Rating, her stablemate has to be given a shout as well. Although he has done most of his running over Polytrack he does have a win on the Turf and his victory in the Victoria Park had some people thinking he was the best 3yo on the grounds. Since he is not a Canadian bred he can't contest the Triple Crown races though. Another horse I like very much is Kuma. He came alive for the savvy Reade Baker last time out and Unbridled Song's often do very well on the grass.
Robert G. Dick Memorial Breeders Cup Handicap
Sometimes simplicity is best. I think this is clearly a two horse race. Safari Queen and Royal Highness lock horns for the third time and I think this is the time that Royal Highness will assert her authority. There is a slight concern over the pace advantage that Safari Queen figures to have but I think ultimately Royal Highness will prove to be the far classier horse. Safari Queen is consistent but we basically already know what her ceiling is. Royal Highness on the other hand has had just 3 races in America and it is my feeling that she will turn into a legitimate challenger for Honey Ryder. Clement doesn't really have any problems turning his horses over from a layoff and Edgar Prado is as good a turf rider as you could ask for.
Indian Vale is a bit of an enigma. She is explosive and unbeatable one time and shockingly ordinary the next. If you break down her record she clearly loves 9f and detests all races run shorter. She is a perfect 6 for 6 at 9f and the lowest BSF she ever got for a 9f race was 98, that is equal to the highest 9f figs achieved by any other horse in the field. At distances shorter than 9f she is 1 for 4, her only win coming in a maiden and her other 3 attempts were all off the board finishes. So what do you do with her going 10f? She not tried the distance so it is difficult to say whether or not she'll handle it. But personally I think she will. She is a horse who loves closely stalking a steady pace. This race is likely to have a steady pace because no one is a sure stayer aside from Asi Siempre. Biancone's runner is another logical contender, I don't like that he is still able to start his horses while under investigation for snake venom usage but Asi Siempre has to be respected. She is the only horse to have won at the distance and incredibly she is the only horse in the race who has never crossed the line worse than second in any Dirt or Polytrack race. No matter what the pace scenario looks like she will be closing at the end and if Indian Vale finds herself short this horse will cut her down. I am slightly tempted to go for a longshot in Unbridled Belle. She has an affinity for the surface and could improve second off the shelf. She is bred to stay the distance and I think Pletcher has always seen her as a good distance filly in the making. Numbers wise she is well behind Indian Vale but so is the rest of the field. She might be good enough but I think I'll take the boring route and make Indian Vale my key in this race.