Hanshin Cup Handicap
The real action this weekend takes place on Monday but Arlington has a good Saturday card with four stakes races to kick off the weekend. The Hanshin Cup looks like a decent race on paper. The whole field is well matched and I don't think that anyone has a major advantage. I certainly wouldn't feel bad about backing no less than five of the eight entrants. The horse I've landed on is Coragil Cat. He has three wins over the course and distance but he is significantly worse at all other distances and on all other surfaces. I think that may be the difference between his price being 4/1 instead of 3/2. He is the defending champ in this race and he is coming into the race in much the same manner except that he was far more impressive in this year's prep than last years. There should be a nice quick pace for him to close into. Amazing Results and Vacation are the two horses I'd use underneath him in the exotics. Amazing Results has lower speed figure but I think he's better than his numbers especially at these conditions. Vacation, like so many Phipps horses, just seems to be finding himself at age 4. Both horses should close well into the pace. Cherokee Artist is definitely the best horse I'm not using and in multi-race wagers he would be a good hedge. The turn back might be just what the doctor ordered. I know he's coming off back to back wins but this is not a horse that connections want to win allowance races with. They want to be winning stakes races but he's been struggling in two turn stakes company. Given his sire I'm surprised that this will be just his second lifetime start around one turn. It may wake him up but I still prefer the proven ability of Coragil Cat.
A very deep race where many horses could run lifetime best efforts and still not challenge the winner. Giant Oak will get all the press and Golden Mexico will take all the money. Both horses could easily turn out to be winners. Giant Oak has just looked like a turf horse all his life. He has been doing well in dirt races but Turf ought to be perfect for him. Golden Mexico is unbeaten and earned a massive figure for his allowance victory over Affirmatif. A lot of people see Affirmatif as the most exciting Turf 3yo in this crop but Golden Mexico dealt him his only career defeat with a touch of ease. He could easily be the best Turf horse in the crop by seasons end. If Clement has him ready to go he is the most likely winner but I've decided to go against him despite having enormous respect for him. What I don't like is that he had a steady workout pattern leading up to his North American debut but since that race on April 5th he has had just one slow 4f work. I'm wondering if he's not as sharp as he could be for this race. I've settled on taking El Crespo. I think he loves the grass and is perfectly suited by a return to it. His figures have been very strong for a turf horse at his stage of development. The barn is in form and I think he'll be nice value at around 4/1. For some longshots I like Southern Anthem and No Inflation. I think both of them are going to run big races.