Fall Highweight Handicap
By the time I get this post published they'll nearly be at the post in this race. Oh well, hindsight might make the read more humorous. Despite the massive imposts I do believe that the favorites Fabulous Strike and Idiot Proof are the horses to beat. Fabulous Strike is one scary son of a gun when he's on his game. If he pulls out his 07' Vosburgh form his competitors ought to simply head back to the barn, there's a chance he could beat them back there even after winning. The good news for everyone else is that was 2007 and he haven't seen the same level from him this year. At 5/2 I'll acknowledge the danger but prefer to oppose him. Idiot Proof looks like much better value. On real dirt we know he's a class act and we also know that he can handle the heat of tough early fractions and still stick around. Arson Squad seemed to have begun an exodus of top class under performing horses who are fleeing synthetics. Idiot Proof could be a revelation for the Levine barn and we might be wondering how he ever went off at 3/1 in here. If you want an outsider consider Songster. At his best he was as classy as the top two. He hasn't raced much since 2006 but I thought he showed an encouraging level of bravery in his last race where he realistically had no chance. Albertrani should have him more prepared this time and he's already got some decent form at Aqueduct. Part of me will be cheering for Ferocious Fires but he's only worth a sentimental saver. I think he's over his head a bit.
Golden Rod Stakes
Few fillies have impressed me as much as Sara Louise did in the Pocahontas. I thought she showed prime time type ability. The type we've only seen from Stardom Bound, Sky Diva and in my opinion Livin Lovin. That makes her the horse to beat despite the presence of the much more accomplished Dream Empress. McPeek's filly is good and a great benchmark type horse. She's tough but not brilliant. Dirt is a question mark but her reputation will see her bet down. I'd prefer just to use her on the bottom of the exotics. Another horse I'd use beneath Sara Louise is War Echo. This might be the best filly in Asmussen's vast barn. Two turns should be right up her street but really I'm hoping we get to see another exhibition from Sara Louise.
Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes
This is a wide open race in my opinion because the favorite isn't nearly as strong as people think. He could win and it wouldn't shock me, I'm not taking a total stand against Capt Candyman Can. He's undefeated on dirt and has the best figures in the race but something about him is unconvincing. I expect that the speedy Zayat second timer Jazzandthemagician will ensure the Candyman stays honest and likely even a bit wide. The most impressive horse to me is Brother Keith. He looked very good breaking his maiden and this is an aggressive move for Bobby Frankel. He is usually never aggressive without cause. Brother Keith is bred for turf and Frankel is good with turf horses yet here he is on dirt again in stakes company after just a maiden win. I think this horse is a real runner and he'll be my primary play. I also like Darley's Stormalory. He has come alive in a big way since switching to two turns and it's nice to see Kent D sticking with him over Zayat's promising contender. He's got a good stalking style for this sort of contest. For many of these horses it's their first try around two turns. Advantage goes to those who have proven patience but still good tactical speed.
This is one of those great races that makes Thanksgiving weekend so wonderful. Ten horses and I give six of them a real shot. Prices are always tempting and I'd love to see Galantas get home here. He only flashed the requisite ability once but he seems to run to the level of competition he's facing. His campaign has been all but destroyed this term but it strikes me as significant that connections chose this race for him. Surely the River City or Tropical Turf would have been better spots for a horse who has never won a stakes race. But the savvy Graham Motion is sending him to California for a G-1 event. To me that suggests an expectation of a lifetime best effort. He once finished fairly close to Shakespeare and Kip Deville, he'll have to better that performance to win this but at the right price he's worth it. I do think the horse has the ability it just hasn't been unlocked yet. I'm going to be a wimp and have a saver on Whatsthescript. I hope he gets beaten because he'll be a short price and Galantas might pay boxcars but Whatsthescript is the best horse and it's going to take quite a bit to beat him. He is better at a flat mile but he is the only real G-1 horse in this race. It's his to lose.