I'd hardly be a Canadian racefan if my pulse didn't race at the sight of a card like this being staged at my home track. It should be a fantastic day. The Summer Stakes kicks it all off and this could wind up being the top prep race for the BC Juvenile Turf. It is certainly the most established Juvenile Turf stakes race in North America. This year, like last year we have a potential superstar coming from Bill Mott's barn. Last year Marcavelly looked set to be crowned until Dreaming of Anna burst on the scene and stamped herself as an individual of even higher quality. I'd be quite surprised if someone managed to pull the same trick on Prussian. He looked like royalty from top to bottom in his debut and won as he pleased. The field behind him looks as if they were weak so that is a bit of a worry but he beat them with the disdain he should have. The class of the Canadians are Briarwood Circle and Cryptonite Kid. But I see that the morning line has them at 7/2 and 4/1. I need more like 5/1 or 6/1. The one horse I find most interesting is Brickyard Crossing. He's trained by Mark Casse who is the Todd Pletcher of Woodbine. He dominates the juvenile racing and he's got this horse in here as a maiden off of one career loss to Cryptonite Kid. Despite selling poorly as a yearling he showed that he's a runner. He made a premature move in his debut and the long Woodbine stretch found him out. But Casse obviously loves this horse and he has a history of scoring with outsiders in juvenile stakes. The real problem is that he is coupled with Briarwood Circle so at 7/2 he's no value at all. Patrick Husbands is named to ride both so one will likely scratch. If Briarwood Circle does and this ones price drifts he'd be worth a play.
Brickyard Crossing (if stablemate scratches)
I feel like a bit of a chalk eater for taking Meribel in this race but she's 5/2 on the morning line. If she is 5/2 at the off I'll be as eager as a weasel in a henhouse. I wouldn't say I'm married to Meribel but I have been on her in 4 of her last 5 starts. She's been a great horse to back and she absolutely towers over this field. Woodbine based horses do have a history of outperforming in this race but it would Meribel not running her race at all. Sealy Hill is a logical alternative but she's a much better horse on Polytrack. Elle Runaway and May Night are solid but they don't win often. I'll just stick with the class of Meribel and hope for a price in the feature.
Tough, tough race. I can't imagine the BC Mile being much tougher than this. With so many enticing options it would almost seem like a shame to see Shakespeare and Remarkable News fight this one out to the wire. Not because I don't like them but because it feels like you should get a price here and neither one will offer one. If I were playing exacta's I might use 8 horses, the first 6 plus Remarkable News and Art Master.
But we have to narrow the win spot down a little so I will start by tossing Host and Sky Conqueror. Host runs huge on occasion but I don't like betting on when that will be. His last win of any consequence was in 05'. Sky Conqueror is the best Turf horse on the Continent in my opinion but this is not his race. If he hits the board he will solidify his status as the best in my opinion. He hasn't been terrible at a mile but he'll be a bad price and I just hate using horses who are not doing something they excel at.
Shakespeare I don't know what to do with. If he had not beaten Art Master in his last I would not even consider him but he might be good enough to overcome every other factor. Given that he's 3/1 I won't be backing him and hoping to see history in the making. There is more money in being a cynic, but if Shakespeare wins it will be an incredible accomplishment. I don't like his price or the fact that he's second off a huge layoff and had a tough race first back.
Remarkable News is also worth opposing. I know that I wrote about him in the Firecracker and said that he was not a miler then he went out and gave the best Lure impression we've seen in ages but I highly doubt he gets an easy pace here, I know the field is tougher and that high BSF only lowers his price. Look back at his mile races and look at the horses who beat him now try to imagine those horse beating him at 8.5f or 9f. I'll stand by my opinion that he is not as good at a mile and I'll hope he folds.
Becrux looms a danger, Drysdale is a master in this race and he seems to be every bit as good as he was last year. The only thing about Becrux is that he is not a dominant horse by any means and his best race still might not be good enough if another entrant makes a new career top. Do not leave him out of any exotics but wait to see some of his competition in the flesh before taking 4 or 5/1 on him.
Galantas interests me as a bomb, mostly because of my great respect for Graham Motion. This horse is a stalking miler who has all the tools aside from some fast speed figures. That's why he's 30/1, but speed figures are often linked to class and he's never run in a classy race. He handles all types of going and I would not be shocked at all if he managed this.
Art Master is also dangerous for the other training master of this race Bobby Frankel. His figure in the Poker was ridiculously high and I'm very suspicious of the fact that Bobby dropped him in company next out. But the field ended up being super tough and he had to deal with a terrible ride. He was rushed up after breaking slow then bumped on the first turn. Prado then had him much to close to the pace. The one thing you'll never have to worry about with Leparoux is being to close to the pace. He'll take this horse back and make one big run and he'll be very dangerous because of that.
Kip Deville is another horse you need to fear. Dutrow is not saying overly positive things about him but neither was he bullish on Wild Desert who won the Plate nor Silver Train when he took the sprint. In terms of ability he is better than Rebel Rebel who ran Becrux to a head and nearly won this race last year. Kip Deville might just be the best pure miler left in this nation. He was gunned through a hole on the fence in the Oceanport and had the race been a flat mile he was likely the winner but the extra 1/16th played into the hands of the late runners on the outside. I think Kip Deville can recapture his best form here but I'd go deep in this race to cover the angles.