– 1st Star: Winter Memories (KY) – Talk about a horse that has a world-class closing kick! This has been one of the classiest filly’s in the country over the last three years. Saturday’s Diana win was her second grade one victory, and seventh graded stakes victory overall. It was great to see this horse win another classic Saratoga turf race, as she has run brilliantly here in her career. Trainer James Toner has done a really nice job of keeping Winter Memories fresh, and ready to fire on the big stage. It looks like she’ll have a race at Belmont in the fall, then possibly a trip to California for the Breeders Cup.
– 2nd Star: Alpha (KY) – Even though the race was not overly impressive, Alpha is still a horse you have to rate highly. The Jim Dandy is one of Saratoga’s classic races, and Alpha won it pretty easily on Saturday. The final time and beyer was nothing out of this world, but you must remember that the Travers winner USUALLY comes out of the Jim Dandy. That certainly doesn’t look to be the case this year if Paynter shows up, but in this game you never know. Also remember that this was Alpha’s first race since May, and he might improve off this race. Finally, don’t look at his record in New York. Remind you of anyone? Could he be this year’s version of Stay Thirsty?
– 3rd Star: Currency Swap (FL) – Horse for the course! Currency Swap may be unbeatable at Saratoga, as he made it three for three Sunday in the Grade 2 Amsterdam Stakes. This win was probably his most impressive yet. He rated beautifully behind pace maker Doctor Chit, and cruised to victory late winning by a widening two lengths. His connections have found the right niche for him, and that is sprinting. His beyer of 103 is a serious number, and you’d have to think he’ll be tough to beat in the King’s Bishop if that’s where they choose to run him next. Continue reading →
– 1st Star: Amazombie (CA) – Much like last week, this weeks first star was an easy choice. Amazombie is one of the most classy and likable horses in training, and after Sunday’s performance he now has to be the favorite to repeat in the Breeders Cup Sprint. The Factor and Comma to the Top set it up for him by providing a hot pace, and Amazombie and Mike Smith wasted little time when flying right by them all like they were standing still. The win was Amazombie’s twelfth overall, with three of them being Grade 1 victories. Look for one or two more races before he rounds out the year at Santa Anita in the Breeders Cup.
– 2nd Star: Rail Trip (KY) – Talk about a feel good story! Sure Rail Trip’s final time in the San Diego Handicap wasn’t all that fast, but WHO CARES? Seeing this horse in the winners circle Saturday was fantastic. Rail Trip has been through so much over the last year and a half. His move to the east coast was nothing short or horrendous, and there were many that thought this horse might be done. Now, he’s a Grade 2 winner again and could be heading towards the Grade 1 Pacific Classic next. Much like Amazombie, he’s a hard horse not to root for.
– 3rd Star: Richard’s Kid (MD) – Friday nights Cougar II Handicap was nothing more than a paid workout for Richard’s Kid. He trailed the field for much of the race, but cruised by them late to win by almost two lengths. This veteran has seen it all, and has won Del Mar’s premier event two times. You’d have to think he’ll be pointed to that race once again. It’s kind of cool that all three of our stars this week are older horses that have been through a lot of battles throughout their careers, but they continue to keep producing great races for us. Continue reading →
1. Alpha (KY) – Has there ever been a more evenly matched Jim Dandy? You can make a case for any of the eight runners, and Alpha could be the horse that ends up being the favorite at post time. Things were going extremely well before the Kentucky Derby for Alpha, but a things certainly didn’t go his way there. This will be his first race since then, but judging by his recent Saratoga works it looks like he’s ready to go. It can probably be argued that Alpha has shown the most talent of any of these horses, but has he hit his ceiling? Have other horses on the improve passed him by? If the answer is no to both those questions, maybe Alpha can become the horse of the summer much like Stay Thirsty did last year. Continue reading →
– 1st Star: Questing (GB) – In a division where things look wide open, Questing may have taken a big step towards putting her name at the top of the list. She is now two for two since switching to dirt, and Saturday she crushed Zo Impressive and the rest of the field in the TVG Coaching Club Oaks. I’m not ready to call her the best three-year old filly yet, but she could be well on her way. Seeing a Questing vs. Grace Hall match up would be interesting. Questing’s beyer came back as a 98, and Grace Hall’s Delaware Oaks beyer was a 102. I don’t think beyers are the end all be all in racing, but I think it does show you that these two are in a very similar class. Regardless of where or when she races next, Questing is a horse we’ll all be watching from now on!
– 2nd Star: Bern Identity (KY) – One of the best things about Saratoga is the strong two-year old racing, and on Sunday Bern Identity was impressive winning the Sanford Stakes. Trainer Kelly Breen believes this horse may be limited on how far he wants to run, so the Breeders Cup Juvenile Sprint might be the long-term goal with him. Still, at this point you have to rank him amongst the top two-year olds running right now. However, as we all know, it’s still VERY early.
– 3rd Star: Kauai Katie (KY) – Speaking of two-year olds, Kauai Katie gave us what could have been the best performance of the week at Saratoga. I have rated her as the third star because it was only a maiden special weight, but Kauai Katie looks like she will be a force to be reckoned with. She won by twelve lengths, and her final running time was over a full second faster than the other 2-year-old maiden race ran that day. Her beyer came back as a 100, which is 14 points better than My Miss Aurelia ran in her opening race last year. You would think a stakes towards the end of the Saratoga meet is where she’ll pop up next. Continue reading →
– 1st Star: Acclamation (CA) – World class…that’s the only way you can describe this horse. Acclamation won his seventh race in a row this Saturday, with five of those wins coming in Grade 1 races. This big win sets him up for The Pacific Classic, where he’ll probably take on Game On Dude once again. These horses might be the best two horses in training as of right now, so that race will have the opportunity to be one of the best we’ll see all year. If Acclamation can stay healthy the sky will be the limit.
– 2nd Star: Eden’s Moon (FL) – The only question coming into the San Clemente Handicap was whether Eden’s Moon would take to the turf, and she certainly did. The performance was a dominating one, as she easily wired the field. This makes the classy field three for seven lifetime, and will most likely set her up for more grass races in the near future.
– 3rd Star: Jaycito (KY) – You had to be happy for Jaycito Sunday as he has been through a lot in his career. The race was only an allowance non-winners of one, but he won like a horse that might be ready for Stakes company next time out. He closed nicely from sixth place to win by a length. Hopefully the horse can stay healthy and have a nice summer/fall campaign. His potential has always been pretty high, and he deserves a chance to show us his best stuff. Continue reading →
Royal Delta vs. Awesome Maria is the Main Event this Saturday
Delaware Handicap (Grade 1)
Racing Dudes Pick: #6 Awesome Maria
Racing Dudes Value Play: #2 Tiz Miz Sue
Analysis: For the second straight year the Delaware Handicap looks like it’s going to give horse racing fans quite a thrill. Last year this race provided us the epic stretch battle between Havre De Grace and Blind Luck, and this year might be more of the same. The two top rated fillies, Royal Deltaand Awesome Maria,will line up against each other. Awesome Maria does hold an eight length victory over Royal Delta, but this is a much different situation this time around. A case could be made for either horse, and this should truly be a classic. If for some reason the top two falter, Tiz Miz Suecould make an impact. Her races have been solid all year, and she’s capable of competing with this bunch on her very best day. Love and Pridewon the local prep for this race, but is definitely viewed as a “second stringer” when compared to Awesome Maria. Cash for Clunkers, Daring Reality,andPachattack round out the field. Continue reading →
Analysis: This race didn’t come up as strong as it was last year, but it still has drawn in two very solid horses in Jackson Bendand Caixa Electronica. Both of these horses look to be the class of the field, but picking between the two will be a tough chore. Jackson Bend won this race last year, and has had more success over the Saratoga track, but you can never count out Pletcher at Saratoga. The best bet might be just to box these two in an exacta, or play them over the field in trifecta’s and superfecta’s. Speaking of the rest of the field, the other five look evenly matched. Crossbowand Pacific Oceanboth come into this race after a poor performances in the True North Stakes at Belmont, but they are the logical third and fourth place finishers of this one. Scotus, Golddigger’s Boy, and Zero Rate Policyround out the field. These three are look somewhat out-classed, but any of them running big and hitting the board isn’t out of the question. Continue reading →