Equidaily Racing Journal



Saturday, September 27, 2008
Picks and plays for some of the day's major stakes
by Seth Merrow

We're back! Coast-to-coast took a brief, unannounced "hiatus" after Saratoga. It had been a few years of weekly handicapping of Saturday stakes -- and full-cards at Saratoga -- without a break, so it was time for a "battery re-charger". We'll see if it paid off!

Wow -- a super afternoon of stakes races from all across the country. Plenty of top-class action with all kinds of Breeders' Cup implications.

Highlights include HOTY Curlin shooting for the money-earned title -- and Zenyatta trying to maintain an unblemished lifetime record.

Have fun!

Turf wagers are turf only

Best Bets

Santa Anita/Oak Tree, Race 9, exacta box, Black Mamba/Wait a While.

Belmont: Beldame G1 $600K

Ginger Punch...Defending champ has lost only to the super-talented Zenyatta this season. Had to work for the win in latest and note that she ran third in this race as the fave last year -- not invulnerable but very tough on her best.
Unbridled Belle...Came out of the G1 Personal Ensign to win this race last year. Similar set-up today.
Lemon Drop Mom.

Wager: $2 exacta Ginger Punch over Unbridled Belle.
...$2 exacta key Ginger Punch over Unbridled Belle and Lemon Drop Mom.

Belmont: Flower Bowl Invy G1 $600K

Mauralakana...She's become a monster this season and she's already won a couple of stakes on this track in 2008. But -- don't bet the ranch, the weather will leave the turf course mushy and could make things a little bit chaotic.
Dynaforce...Seemed like a lock on closing day at Saratoga. What happened? If she rebounds she'll be tough -- and her Euro-form indicates off-going won't be a problem.

Wager: $5 exacta box top two.

Belmont: VosburghG1 $400K

Lucky Island...Just never had a chance after the early trouble last time. Look for a rebound to prior good form.
Fabulous Strike...Won this race last year -- but seems up against it with only one race under his belt this year.
Kodiak Kowboy...Gutsy win two back in first start for Asmussen. Followed with a dud, but had some trouble. Interesting.
First Defence.

Wager: $5 WP on Lucky Island.
...$2 exacta box top two.
...$1 exacta box top four.
...$1 tri box top four.

Belmont: Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Invy G1 $600K

Dancing Forever...Tossed in a clunker at Saratoga -- but was going very well prior. Has run OK over off-going before.
Proudinsky...Nipped by Big Brown last time. Comes back quickly for a Frankel runner. Won on a "yielding" course earlier this year.
Grand Couturier...In good form -- but his two wins in 2007 and 2008 both came at Saratoga.

Wager: $5 WP on Dancing Forever.
...$2 exacta box top two.
...$1 exacta box top four.
...$1 tri box top four.

Belmont: Jockey Club Gold Cup G1 $750K

Curlin...Beat a talented Lawyer Ron to win this race last year -- in his first start against older -- and has only that turf race as a blemish since. Track condition and weather could be a factor -- but he won on a sloppy-sealed track to win the BC Classic last year.
Merchant Marine...Just gets a look on The Chief-factor.
Mambo in Seattle...Has gotten good and just-just-just-missed in G1 Travers.
Wanderin Boy.

Wager: $5 WP on Curlin.
...$2 exacta box top two.
...$1 exacta box top four.
...$1 tri box top four.

Monmouth: NATC Futurity/Fillies $200K

Kays and Jays...Nice improvement in career start #2 -- but that was on turf. If she's able to repeat that early speed on this track however she could prove tough again.
Lady Mercedes...Beyer-fig is light -- but trainer typically moves them forward in their second start.
Haley's Lolipop...Yet another second-time starter from Klesaris.
R Betty Graybull.

Wager: $5 WP on Kays and Jays.
...$2 exacta box top two.
...$2 exacta box top three.
...$1 tri key Kays and Jays over next three.

Monmouth: NATC Futurity $200K

Forty Thieves...Solid career-debut win for the afore-mentioned Klesaris, who typically has them better second-time out.
Join in the Dance...His early speed could make him tough on this track.
Valiancy...Super-improvement in his second start. Dangerous.
Pray for Action.

Wager: $5 WP on Forty Thieves.
...$2 exacta box top two.
...$1 tri key Forth Thieves over next three.

Hawthorne: Hawthorne Gold Cup Hcp G2 $500K

Fairbanks...Ran OK this track in April -- although finishing second at 4-5 is perhaps a concern. Has enough speed to stay close, which should be important here. Win at Saratoga could indicate he's in peak form now -- at least, that's what we're hoping.
Barcola...Front-running style could be an asset on this track.
Magna Graduate...Talented runner just hasn't hit the winner's circle in quite awhile.
Better Than Bonds.

Wager: $5 WP on Fairbanks.
...$2 exacta box top two.
...$1 exacta box top four.
...$1 tri box top four.

Turfway: Ky Cup Classic G2 $350K

Honest Man...Seemed to have really come back well for a springtime freshening.
Zanjero...We've chased this guy for a long time -- and more often than not we've been on the wrong side of his winning - or losing. Capable.
Stream Cat.

Wager: $5 W on Honest Man.
...$2 exacta key Honest Man over Zanjero and Stream Cat.

Santa Anita/Oak Tree: Clement Hirsch Mem Turf Champs G1 $250K

Spring House...Third start back from layoff and seems set-up for a good run off of the win at Del Mar. Likes this track.
Out of Control...Expect a rebound with the return to grass.
Red Giant...Could be an improved 4YO -- but this race will be the test. Has only one start in 2008 -- but it was a good-looking stakes win at Saratoga.
Transduction Gold.

Wager: $5 WP on Spring House.
...$2 exacta box top two.
...$1 exacta box top four.
...$1 tri box top four.

Santa Anita/Oak Tree: Lady's Secret G1 $250K

Zenyatta...Undefeated filly will be running late.
Hystericalady...Very talented runner should prove solid competition for the top pick -- but, her form over all-weather is still somewhat unproven.

Wager: $5 exacta Zenyatta over Hystericalady.

Santa Anita/Oak Tree: Ancient Title G1 $250K

In Summation...Could be set-up to run well in third start back from layoff and cutting back to 6F.
Street Boss...A solid 4YO season and he's proven to be competitive at this level over the last three. Bullet work for this.
Delta Storm...Probably needs to improve in here but is coming into this in good form.
Sailors Sunset.

Wager: $5 WP on In Summation.
...$2 exacta box top two.
...$1 exacta box top four.
...$1 tri box top four.

Santa Anita/Oak Tree: Oak Leaf G1 $250K

Palacio de Amor...Her early speed might prove interesting on the stretch-out.
Stardom Bound...Out-of-the-clouds win in G1 at Del Mar was an eye-opener. But that style always leaves a horse with plenty to do.
Toro Bonito...Baffert runner could be set for a good one stretching out today.
Empressive Lady.

Wager: $5 WP on Palacio de Amor.
...$2 exacta box top two.
...$1 exacta box top four.
...$1 tri box top four.

Santa Anita/Oak Tree: Yellow Ribbon G1 $400K

Black Mamba...Been running well this year and seems in good form off of the last two.
Wait a While...Won a G2 at Saratoga last time and has run well here in the past.
Vacare...5YO season has been a little disappointing -- but last could signal a turn. Distance is a question mark.

Wager: $5 WP on Black Mamba.
...$2 exacta box top two.
...$1 exacta box top four.
...$1 tri box top four.

Santa Anita/Oak Tree: Goodwood G1 $500K

Tiago...Only win this year was on dirt -- but he'll be running late. Won this race last year [albeit over a different surface].
Mast Track...Has shown some life this season and working well for this.
Spirit One...Very interesting. Euro runner won the G1 Arlington Million last time -- now tries the all-weather surface.
Well Armed.

Wager: $5 WP on Tiago.
...$2 exacta box top two.
...$1 exacta box top four.
...$1 tri box top four.

Coast-to-coast Archives...Picks, plays and results from previous weeks


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