Kennedy Road Stakes
How could I resist a race with this name? I actually grew up 4 miles from the actual Kennedy Road that the talented Canadian runner was named after. The Stollery farm was just about 6 miles from my family home. My family even had a band after the same name. Anyway all that to say that I feel a sort of personal connection with this race and let's hope it is even further strengthened with some winning selections. I think the race will be decided between Storm Treasure, Just Rushing and Field Commission. I even suspect they finish in that order. Storm Treasure is one of the few big guns who is still fresh. I think he's been misunderstood for most of his career. He has just 5 wins in 28 starts, but 3 of those wins have come from the 9 one turn efforts in his career. If you simply isolate his one turn dirt and synthetic efforts his record is actually a decent 7-3-4-0. Whenever you find such out-performance in a subset of races from a horse who is otherwise inconsistent you have to focus on them. Storm Treasure loves the surface and distance, his figures are among the strongest in the race and he's much fresher than all the other major contenders. Just Rushing ought to be favored because overall he's the best horse but he's better on the grass and I just think Storm Treasure will get to him late but he's still going to be tough.
Vernon O. Underwood Stakes
Because of it's placement on the calender the Underwood rarely gets top notch horses. Usually it's filled with those looking to step into stakes company and those making comebacks. Thanks to the stewards that is exactly what we have this year. Cost of Freedom was supposed to run here but the bizarre situation with the track vets has seen him ineligible to run again. Sadler still runs two in this race and I suspect that he'll win it even without his stables sprinting ace. There is good speed in here with Bob Black Jack and a few others so it should set up nicely for a horse who comes from a bit out of it. Noble Court is hopefully back to his best and ready to fire. He's actually a bit of a specialist at the distance. He's been breathing fire in the mornings and i think things will just fall into his lap. I think Bob Black Jack is good enough to win but this isn't the greatest spot to be taking a short price on him. The horse I'd use underneath Noble Court is Johnny Eves. He's got some speed and against this class of horse he is pretty effective. His recent bullet is encouraging. I think he's be the pace survivor and the target for Noble Court to get to. He won't be right on the lead because true 6f speed is too much for him but sitting right in the pocket might just be perfect for this race.
Hollywood Prevue Stakes
Backbackbackgone might have a catchy name and deserve favoritism but I wouldn't touch him at all. As the distance has increased so his winning margins have dwindled and 7f is the hardest distance to wire especially for an unseasoned two year old. I don't want any speed crazy juveniles in a race like this. I far prefer the exposed Azul Leon, it is true that his last races have been fairly poor but I think the cutback to one turn is crucial for him. He just doesn't have the stamina to produce his late kick in a two turn race. The cutback will be perfect for him. I don't really have strong feelings about any of the others. I suspect Arashi Cat will turn into some kind of a decent horse but I don't like him enough to use him on top.