Overview: This weekend is all about Turf racing. At Arlington, Saratoga and even Del Mar we have graded stakes events that will help shape the division. It's kind of wide open at present and with a few upsets it could become even more. Hopefully I'll be able to bounce back with my selections as well. I have gone 14 for 18 in the last two days at Saratoga so I'm trusting that my form will spill over to the weekend.
Beverly D. Stakes
This might actually be the best race on the Arlington card. The Million is good but it hardly overshadows this contest. I think you have to take stands in races like this and I'm not going to use Citronnade. If she wins this she is a near superhorse. The distance is bad for her, company up front is bad for her and she's leaving California which is sometimes tricky. Some horses just love the hot weather and firm conditions. They also might like the Bute which I don't believe is legal at Arlington. At any rate I think Citronnade is ripe for the picking. I fear Lady of Venice but I wont use her. I think the distance might be against her. I'm having some difficulty narrowing down the other contenders. Honey Ryder, Irridescence and Royal Highness are all excellent win candidates even is some of them aren't well respected on the morning line. Honey Ryder is the old faithful runner in this field but I'm choosing to oppose her. She ran uncharacteristically poor in this race last year and I'm wondering how much she like the course. She is the class benchmark though and going against her is more price motivated than anything. Irridescence is a wild card. It's possible that she is just better than the rest of these horses, including Honey Ryder. She's beaten Ouija Board who was a world above these and has been facing very tough company. The distance is a good fit and she seemed to be rounding into for last time out. She is not really quick enough to handle milers but I also like that she has enough speed to be handy. Royal Highness is a very under rated horse. My feeling is that her best race is equal to Honey Ryder's she just hasn't had many chances to show it. I think what she needs is a good pace and she should get that here. She has faced extremely slow paces in 3 of her 4 starts in North America and has still run with credit but the one time she got a pace to run into she was explosive. Any softness in the ground will help her and her recent bullet suggests she is feeling good. I'll use her for the upset.
There are so many different ways to go in this race, I think the best tactic is just to pick one of them and stick with it. After Market is the favorite and rightfully so. He has been fantastic in his last 3 efforts. If he runs back to those he will be very hard to beat. Especially with the pace in here. The only reason I'm not choosing to stick with him is that the ground may not be as firm as he likes it and 2/1 is not kind of price to take when 5 horses are legitimate win candidates. As much as it pains me I'm not going to use The Tin Man as my primary selection either. He has been a win machine for years now and my heart will be with him, I just don't like that in his last he was beaten when he really should have won then the horse who beat him (Out Of Control) was deftly handled by After Market. Sunriver will make his life difficult and I just cant take him. Jambalaya might be the best value of the morning line. The only problem with him that I truly think his best races come in long events with slow paces that he can track closely. I think the inside post will see him shuffled back further than he wants and it will be tough to out close this field. Sunriver is a huge danger, he's looked monstrous since switching to the Turf. I think he has the speed to establish the lead over The Tin Man and he is not going to be an easy horse to catch despite Arlington being a more difficult course to wire. Sunriver has to be used in multi race exotics because he could be any kind. Danak is also a solid play, he should handle the course very well and John Oxx is a dangerous shipper. That fact that he gets Kinane to travel with his charge is noteworthy. There is all sorts of speculation over how he'll handle the expected yielding going but we must remember that firm ground in Europe is not firm ground here. They use a different scale that is softer so Danak really shouldn't have any problems unless it really softens up. I'm kind of interesting in Stream Cat, I don't like to take Biancone runners but I have always thought of him as very talented and he could pick up a piece.
Sword Dancer Handicap
I'm in the mood for upsets I suppose. I do not really like English Channel in this race. I preferred Better Talk Now but since that one is out any other alternative constitutes taking a shot. English Channel lays over the field on paper with the scratch of BTN but English Channel may find some circumstances that will make him vulnerable. First the ground, Saratoga is very wet right now and if the rain continues at all we'll be looking at soft ground. He's not terrible on soft ground but he isn't at his peak. Mix the soft ground with 12f, a distance that really stretches him, and he may not have this race at his mercy. I'm going to use Always First against him. Many months ago prior to his race in the Elkhorn I called him the truest 12f horse in the nation. It's not that he is that fast, he is simply very good at running 12f. He also likes off going and is capable of adapting to any pace scenario. He might get bet down to about 5/1 but he is the only alternative I see to English Channel. Trippi's Storm is improving but I don't think he has enough class.