Friday, June 27, 2014

My Upcoming Fasig-Tipton Saratoga Sale Highlights

Saratoga Sale (August 4-5, 2014):

Hip 12: Tiznow x Garden District, by Dixie Union
Two-time Breeders' Cup Classic winner and Hall of Famer Tiznow may have been a late maturing three-year-old, but from September of his three-year-old season on he was about as good as it gets, having completed an illustrious two year career that included four G1 victories and him having never finished outside the top three in 12 graded stakes starts. Despite an unfamiliar pedigree, Tiznow has established himself as one of the top sires in the country with the likes of Dubai World Cup winner Well Armed, Travers winner Colonel John, and Belmont Stakes winner Da' Tara accounting for just a few of his successful, graded stakes winning progeny. Progeny of Tiznow are typically better over time and he seems to produce hardy offspring who do their best running when routing. This yearling is out of Garden District, a daughter Dixie Union, who himself was a MGSW and sire of 2012 Belmont Stakes winner Union Rags, won the G3 Debutante over Rachel Alexandra as a two-year-old. She's the dam of two foals (one being an unraced 2yo by Blame) and the other (by Curlin) broke her maiden by a large margin in what was her seventh start. The second dam of this yearling is Brisquette, a runner-up in the G3 Las Flores by only a neck, who has produced four winners including G3 winner Medal Count, who most recently finished third in the Belmont S. 

Hip 40: Giant's Causeway x Lemon Kiss, by Lemon Drop Kid
A winner at Royal Ascot and European Horse of the Year, Giant's Causeway only ran once in America in which he finished only a neck short of Breeders' Cup Classic glory in what was the first of Tiznow's back-to-back Classic triumphs. Three times a champion sire, most recently in 2012, he's sired English and French Classic winners, as well as, a Queen's Plate winner in Mike Fox. He's currently represented by G1 Man o'War winner Imagining, G3 winner Winning Cause, and Pablo Del Monte, who most recently finished third in the G1 Blue Grass S. The dam of this yearling is stakes winner Lemon Kiss, a full sister to MGSW Kiss the Kid who's one to race just so happens to be G1 Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap winner Lochte. The second dam is Black Tie Kiss, a half sister to 1991 Breeders' Cup Classic winner and HOTY Black Tie Affair

Runners bred on this/similar cross include G1 Clement L. Hirsch Memorial Turf Championship Stakes winner Red Giant (Giant's Causeway/Kingmambo), Group 1 Coronation Winner Maids Causeway (Giant's Causeway/Kingmambo), and G3 Coolmore Lexington Stakes winner Winning Cause (Giant's Causeway/Kingmambo).

Hip 64: Drosselmeyer x Queen of Empire, by Empire Maker
New sire Drosselmeyer, a winner of both the Belmont Stakes and Breeders' Cup Classic, looks to continue the successes in the breeding shed of his father Distorted Humor, who sired winners of all three Triple Crown races. Drosselmeyer was so much a late bloomer that he was still eligible for a non winners of two allowance race when he took home the Belmont and the biggest win of his career came in his final start, stamping himself as only the second horse (after A.P. Indy) to win both the Belmont Stakes and Breeders' Cup Classic. A daughter of Empire Maker, Queen of Empire has two progeny (one is a current two-year-old), one of which is King Cyrus, who won his debut at Saratoga by eleven lengths. He has since finished second in the black-type Smooth Air Stakes and fifth in the G3 Illinois Derby. The second dam is an unraced Seeking the Gold mare, but the third dam is Dispute, who was a multiple G1 winner (including the Kentucky Oaks). A full sister to MGS and G1 Champagne winner Adjudicating, Dispute is the third dam of Iowa Derby winner Tiz Now Tiz Then

Runners who were bred on this/similar cross include Nonna's Boy (Distorted Humor/Empire Maker), who recently was an impressive debut winner; G3 winner Unbridled Humor (Distorted Humor/Unbridled), and multiple stakes winner Distorted Reality (Distorted Humor/Unbridled).

Hip 68: Uncle Mo x Horns Gray, by Pass The Tab
Although 2010 Champion two-year-old colt Uncle Mo is an interesting young sire in his own right, particularly concerning his own precocity, it's the female family of this yearling that is of great interest to me, personally. Dam Horn's Gray was a multiple stakes winning daughter of MGSW Pass The Tab. Among her progeny were MGSW Awesome Humor and Surf Club -- the dam of G1 Forego winner Emcee, Group 2 Al Maktoum Challenge runner-up Surfer, and Baffled, who is the dam of G1 Florida Derby winner Constitution. Unraced second dam Cox's Angel is a half sister to G1 winner All Fired Up.

Hip 80: Gio Ponti x Shandra Smiles, by Cahill Road
Here's another young sire in three time Eclipse Champion Gio Ponti, a son of Tale of the Cat who has seven G1 victories to his name, as well as, having finished in the top two in 14 of his 19 G1 starts. The dam of this yearling is a proven one in Shandra Smiles, a stakes winning sprinter whose four winners from seven foals include multiple G1 winner Smiling Tiger and G1 winner She's a Tiger, with whom this yearling is fairly closely related.

Hip 121: Medaglia d'Oro x Weekend Whim, by Distorted Humor
A late developer, Medaglia d'Oro finished second in the Belmont Stakes before winning both the Jim Dandy and the Travers. As a four-year-old, he won three straight GS (Strub, Oaklawn H., Whitney). He was twice the runner-up in the Breeders' Cup Classic. As a sire, he's consistently produced quality runners, highlighted by HOTY Rachel Alexandra, but more recently, he's been represented by MGSW Coffee Clique, G1 winner Lochte, Group 2 Zabeel Mile winner Mshawish, and highly regarded three-year-old Belle D'or. This yearling is out of Weekend Whim, an unraced full sister to MGSW Any Given Saturday. Her one to race was Coconut Shrimp, a winner who was twice a runner up in listed stakes. The second dam is winning A.P. Indy mare Weekend In Indy, who aside from the aforementioned Any Given Saturday was also the dam of G3 winner Bohemian Lady. It's also worth noting the third dam, multiple stakes winner Whow was a very successful broodmare, having produced fourteen winners from fifteen foals, including G3 winner Second of June.

Runners bred on this cross include Funny Proposition (Medaglia d'Oro/Distorted Humor), who in 2013 defeated Royal Delta in the G2 Fleur de Lis H. 

Hip 150: War Front x Charming, by Seeking The Gold 
Few sires have been hotter in the sales ring and on the track than War Front, who has sired G1 winners Declaration of War, The Factor, Data Link, and War Command, and who's recent American runners include G2 winner Departing, MGSW Pontchatrain, and Kentucky Derby runner Lines of Battle. The dam of this yearling is Charming, who won on debut at Keeneland and finished second to MGSW Music Note in her second start before taking bad step in her third start and never racing again. Charming's one progeny to race is Siete C, who has recently won three straight at Gulfstream Park. The second dam of this yearling is Take Charge Lady, who is one of the top race and broodmares of recent times. Not only was she a multiple G1 winner in her own racing career, but she is also the dam of MGS winners Take Charge Indy and Will Take Charge

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Down to the Wire: Gold Cup at Santa Anita Edition

Saturday, June 28, 2014: Santa Anita race 8 -- G1 Gold Cup at Santa Anita:
This week's highlight is the race formerly known as the "Hollywood Gold Cup," that has now found a home at Santa Anita following the closing of Hollywood Park. The heavy favorite, and rightfully so, will be Game on Dude, who is the two-time defending champion of this race. At this point in his career, however, we know what he's all about and he seems most vulnerable when the early pace is a contested one. For this reason, the inclusion of Fury Kapcori in this field is incredibly intriguing to me. While he wants no part of this distance (he's much better suited to 8-8.5f), he's fast and I think he'll prove to be a thorn in the side of Game on Dude early. Remember, earlier this year, Hollendorfer implemented an aggressive "take the lead at all costs" strategy with Blueskiesandrainbows versus The Dude, so don't be surprised if it happens again here. Clubhouse Ride and Imperative recently won the Californian and Charles Town Classic, respectively, but they do their best running over nine furlongs, so this may well prove to be just a touch longer than they'd like. Ultimately, I've landed on Majestic Harbor, who wants every bit of this distance and has won going further this year. Majestic Harbor was in the aforementioned Blueskiesandrainbows vs Game on Dude standoff and he traveled 42 ft (~4.9 lengths) more than second place finisher Imperative (who runs here), which more than evens out the distance between them at the finish. In his most recent run in the G2 Californian, which was won by Clubhouse Ride over Fury Kapcori, Majestic Harbor covered 56 ft (~6.5 lengths) more than Clubhouse Ride and yet he only finished two and three quarters lengths back and was fast closing. There are two South American shippers who'll be making their debut and while Salto Del Indio may be the classier of the two, I did quite like Lideris' running style in video -- he appeared to be a game, grinder who wanted every bit of this distance. 

1. #6 Majestic Harbor
2. #1 Game on Dude
3. #7 Lideris

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Royal Ascot Day 4: Preview and Tips

Race 1: Albany Stakes:
For some bizarre reason unbeknownst to me we've done alright in these juvenile fillies races, which are so often a bit of a craps shoot, and let's hope it continues here with Patience Alexander. Tiggy Wiggy, who ran a credible second as our selection in the Queen Mary earlier in the meet, was half a length behind Patience Alexander over good ground at York with Appleberry further behind in fourth. She's untested over this distance, however, so even though her form is strong, we can't settle for too short of a price here. As far as the others are concerned, Wesley Ward does have a runner here in Sunset Glow, but she lost to the War Front filly Lindy in her debut and Lindy has since returned a well-beaten third in a juvenile stakes.
Pick: Patience Alexander to win (if odds 3/1 or better)

Race 3: King Edward VII Stakes:
Surely, he'll go off as the favorite, but Adelaide looks to be quite the progressive type for Aidan O'Brien. This son of Galileo won a Group 3 over ten furlongs at the Curragh last time out and the manner with which he finished made me think he would certainly appreciate the step up in trip that he'll get here, in what is his third start off the layoff. The bulk of these runners are relatively exposed and tough to side with, as a result, so we'll side with the chalk and hope for a decent enough price come post time. 
Pick: Adelaide to win (if odds 2/1 or better)

Race 4: Coronation Stakes:
After an uninspiring start as far as the prices are concerned, things get interesting here as we're going to side with Kiyoshi, who will be making her three-year-old debut. I quite fancied her chances at getting a place in the 1000 Guineas before she was unfortunately declared a non-runner, but her chances seem even better to get the win if she at all lives up to her two-year-old form. Not only did she defeat Ihtimal in her maiden win, but she subsequently won the Albany here at Royal Ascot over faster ground, defeating the likes of Sandiva, Joyeuse, Wedding Ring, who all have gone on to win as three-year-olds. Yes, she finished behind Rizeena and Tapestry, but she did make an impressive run down the stretch despite running a bit greenly when seen drifting to her right on two separate occasions there. If she's matured over the break, she should have progressed past those two, who were more the early maturing type. Ken McPeek runner Rosalind shows up here and while she's probably up against it as far as the win is concerned, her running style and form does indicate that she fits in this spot. It's also worth noting she ran without Lasix in her two most recent runs: a G1 win on the synthetic track at Keeneland where she showcased her strong turn of foot and fourth in the Kentucky Oaks on dirt. If anything, I worry that this trip may be too short for her and she hasn't logged a published work since her run in the Kentucky Oaks, but she'll certainly love the ground and is worth a play if you're a fan of hers and her odds are double digits. 
Pick: Kiyoshi e/w (if odds 9/1 or better, to win if worse), Rosalind e/w (if odds 10/1 or better, no bet if worse)

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Royal Ascot Day 3 Preview and Tips

Race 1: Norfolk Stakes:
This race was where No Nay Never made his mark at this meet last year and Wesley Ward returns in an attempt to make it two in a row with To Be Determined, an Elusive Quality filly who was a well beaten third over the dirt at Churchill Downs on debut. That was against the boys and she did get a weight allowance there, but she didn't have much of an excuse and Ward juveniles are typically cranked and ready to go first time out. Surely, she should improve over the turf, but Churchill Downs typically plays kindly to horses who prefer the grass, so even the surface isn't a strong enough excuse for her sound defeat on debut. Well regarded War Front colt and May Horse to Watch, The Great War, is the market leader here and while he's won his two starts fairly easily, he hasn't beaten all that much and I couldn't possibly take him at what will assuredly be a ridiculously short price for a juvenile stakes. Mukhmal is also undefeated in two starts and his most recent win at Chester was impressive, both in the result and how he traveled throughout. The form of his races hasn't been the strongest either, but his price will be much better than The Great War and O'Brien's runners haven't exactly been in top form here, so I certainly prefer him over the betting favorite. While Mukhmal is the most likely winner in my eyes, I can't pass on an e/w play on Snap Shots who has only run once, but he won that one and the third place finisher has already come back to win. He certainly looked to be a horse who's still learning his job there, but he was very game when challenged and he'll assuredly improve off that effort. 
Pick: Snap Shots e/w 

Race 2: Tercentenary Stakes:
In my eyes, Cannock Chase looks to be a good thing for Sir Michael Stoute. Windshear is a horse who I've followed quite closely this year and one I'm a big fan of, but Cannock Chase beat him handily over similar ground and distance as to what you'd expect he'll see here. Although he did carry less weight than Windshear there, the manner with which he won was eyecatching to say the least. Being by Lemon Drop Kid, ten furlongs over fast ground is right up his alley, as well. His full brother Pisco Sour won this race back in 2011 and he looks to be a tough customer in what will be his group company debut. As for the others, Cloudscape had a very strong to start the year and although he lost when last seen, he finished second despite giving a lot of weight away to the winner. It's his run before that which was perplexing in that he just didn't show up at all, but his win at Newmarket over a strong field at this distance was too strong for me to just jump off him that quickly and being by Dansili, one would expect him to relish faster ground. 
Pick: Cannock Chase to win (if odds 2/1 or better), Cannock Chase / Cloudscape exacta 

 Race 3: Ribblesdale Stakes:
This is, in my opinion, one of the nicer races of the day as far as quality and competitiveness is concerned. Ultimately, I've sided with Wonderstruck, who I was pretty taken by in her maiden victory over this distance at Newmarket. She did hang out a bit while under pressure coming home there, but she prevailed and clearly wanted every bit of that distance. While this is certainly a step up in class, her pedigree is quite nice being by Sea the Stars and a half to the dearly departed 2000 Guineas winner back in 2006: George Washington. Wonderstruck doesn't have the sharpest turn of foot, but she's a grinder and I fully expect her to improve over better ground. 
Pick: Wonderstruck e/w (if odds 15/2 or better, only to win if odds worse)

Race 4: Gold Cup:
The stayers take the stage in this 20f contest, which has drawn a solid field led by the Queen's mare and defending champion Estimate, who should relish this ground, and the ever-classy St. Leger winner Leading Light, who has only lost twice in eight career starts. This will be the season debut for Estimate, who ran a bit flat late in her final race last year at Ascot, albeit over soft ground, on which she doesn't do her best running. She does typically run well fresh, however, and is undoubtedly well meant in this spot although I can't help but think she had everything go her way when winning this last year. There's little doubt Leading Light is the class of this field, but he's never run this far and I couldn't have him at a short price despite easily winning his season debut at Navan last month. The two who interest me here are Brown Panther and Altano, both of whom are as honest as they come at this distance. Brown Panther appears to be as good as ever in spite of his age. He defeated one of the more consistent horses last year in Ahzeemah before running relatively well to finish eighth in the Melbourne Cup considering the draw likely dictated he run a bit closer to the pace than he would've liked in a field of that size and his prep going into it certainly wasn't ideal. Add to that he did win at this meeting back in 2011,he's two-for-two in 2014, not to mention, he looked very good in his most recent win at Sandown and he definitely appears the most likely winner in my eyes. Altano was one I remember clearly from this race last year when he was seen  flying home late to finish fifth after being well held in what was a fairly slowly run race early. He's very dependent on the pace due to his running style, but there's no doubt he'll stay the distance and he figures to get a bit lost among the bigger names in the betting. 
Picks: Brown Panther e/w (if odds 15/2 or better, only to win if odds worse), Altano e/w

Race 6: King George V Stakes:
If you follow me on Twitter or have happened to see the few English tips I've given in my weekly pieces, it should be no surprise that I'm going with Windshear here. Not only do I clearly think highly of Cannock Chase, who he most recently finished second to, but the Windshear-Cloudscape form has turned up strong and has been quite good to me so far this year. He may not really want this quick of ground, but he's shown me too much promise to let go in a race that lacks a clear favorite. 
Picks: Windshear e/w (if odds 15/2 or better, only to win if odds worse)

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Royal Ascot Day 2 Preview and Tips

Race 1: Jersey Stakes:
This seems a fairly wide open affair in the opener, but ultimately I sided with Mustajeeb, who although he hasn't won as often as some of the others, has ran against some of the best. He was second to War Command at the Curragh last summer on good ground, won his 2014 debut in a Group 3, and most recently finished third behind Kingman and Shifting Power in the Irish 2,000 Guineas. The ground may be a touch on the quick side for his liking, but on class alone, he should be up there late. The undefeated Glorious Empire hasn't ran against this quality of runners in his two starts, but he traveled awfully nice in his maiden win and he could interest me to place at what will be one of the longest shots on the board.
Pick: Mustajeeb to win (if odds 5/1 or better), (small play) Glorious Empire to place

Race 2: Queen Mary Stakes:
In my eyes, this is a two horse race between two of the market leaders, the first of which is Wesley Ward's impressive maiden winner Spanish Pipedream, who is by Scat Daddy as was last year's breakthrough Ascot winner No Nay Never. Unfortunately, she'll surely be unplayable over here even moreso after Hootenanny's easy win on day one. So while my heart will firmly be with the American charge, my money will be on Tiggy Wiggy. Not only is she more experienced than Spanish Pipedream, but she's three for four and impressively won over soft ground at Sandown last time out. 
Pick: Tiggy Wiggy to win (if odds 5/1 better)

Race 3: Prince of Wales's Stakes:
Surely, this is last year's Arc winner Treve's race to lose despite losing on debut to Cirrus Des Aigles. Considering how he's run this year, there's no shame in losing to him in her 2014 debut. This isn't the best betting race despite being perhaps the best race to watch all meet, but Dank interests me given how she ran at Meydan (obviously without Lasix). She was thrown into the deep end there and still managed third behind the top rated horse in the world Just A Way and Vercingetorix, who entered that race undefeated and since ran very credibly at Sha Tin. The ground at Ascot has been quite quick, as well, which obviously suits the daughter of Dansili.
Pick: Dank e/w (if odds 9/1 or better)

Race 4: Duke of Cambridge Stakes:
Sky Lantern makes her 2014 debut in this spot and if she's fully cranked, last year's 1000 Guineas winner will be quite tough to beat. The value in this race, however, I believe lies with Certify, who was a high class two-year-old who defeated Sky Lantern in a juvenile Group 3. She had to miss the 2013 season following the ban that resulted from the Godolphin drug scandal, but she returned in January at Meydan to win easily over L'Amour De Ma Vie. That form was reversed in February, but Certify comes off as the one who could still perhaps improve at bit and quick ground is right up her alley. 
Pick: Certify e/w (if odds 10/1 or better)

Monday, June 16, 2014

Royal Ascot Day 1 Preview & Tips

Race 1: Queen Anne Stakes:
Over a mile on good ground, Toronado is about as good as it gets, as he showed in his Sussex S. victory over the likes of 2000 Guineas winner Dawn Approach and eventual Breeders' Cup third place finisher (by a nose and a head) Declaration of War. This will be his first start coming off a long layoff, but that typically is not an issue for either him or this yard and to be frank, he doesn't need to be at one-hundred percent to win here. Much has been made of Verrazano's third place showing on debut, but he was in a perfect position to get at least second and I'd have to think Toronado has much too sharp a turn of foot for him to compete, if he's anywhere near his standard. Soft Falling Rain switches back to the turf after a slightly disappointing trip to Dubai, by his lofty standards, he'll grind his way through the last few hundred meters and should find himself in the mix late. All in all, this isn't the best betting race, but Mull of Killough reckons to find himself lost in the betting shuffle despite winning a Group 3 at Newmarket before finishing seventh versus much tougher in Singapore, and although he's not really a win threat, he's an honest enough runner that he could very well find himself in the placings at a price. 
Pick: Mull of Killough to place

Race 2: Coventry Stakes:
Ballydoyle are represented by the favorite in this group of juveniles -- War Envoy, who as you'd expect is by the current "it sire" War Front. He finds himself at the head of the market despite being beaten soundly by Kool Kompany last time out and, to be honest, I much prefer the latter at what will surely be a better price. Speaking of Kool Kompany, the handsome son of Jeremy is undefeated in three starts, the ground should suit him well, and the fields he's beaten appear to have been of good quality. The Wow Signal appeals despite having only run once to date. He ran a bit greenly in that dominating, nine length maiden victory and his two runner-ups have since come back to win easily themselves. Justice Good has won three straight and does get Ryan Moore aboard here, but I wonder if he's better suited to five furlongs. 
Pick: Kool Kompany e/w

Race 3: King's Stand Stakes:
Last year's edition saw Sole Power just nipping rival Shea Shea with Pearl Secret and Jack Dexter in just behind and all four of them return this year. Hot Streak is favored despite having lost to Sole Power last month at Newmarket and while I respect his potential, others appeal to be from a betting standpoint here. Sole Power is as tough as nails and always finds himself in the mix near the finish despite consistently running in top class company and coming off a win at Newmarket, I expect him to run well here -- 4/1 or higher are fair odds imo. Somewhat lost in the betting shuffle is the Godolphin runner Ahtoug, who thrice finished second in Dubai behind the likes of Medicean Man, Shea Shea, and Amber Sky, not to mention he's a course and distance winner who prefers good ground. 
Pick: Sole Power to win (if odds 4/1 or better) & Ahtoug e/w

Race 4: St. James's Palace Stakes:
This one has been penned as round three between 2000 Guineas winner Night of Thunder and his runner-up and subsequent Irish 2000 Guineas winner Kingman. They ran against each other in the Greenham at Newbury with Kingman getting the better of his rival on that occasion. Between those two, I much prefer Night of Thunder who beat Kingman fair and square in the 2000 Guineas.
Pick: Night of Thunder to win (if odds 2/1 or better)

Race 6: Windsor Castle Stakes:
We have a serious American chance in Hootenanny, Wesley Ward's trainee who was impressive on debut at Keeneland before flopping over a sealed muddy track in an off-the-turf affair at Pimlico. As we saw last year with No Nay Never, Ward knows exactly what it takes to win with his juveniles on this side of the pond. Unfortunately, I fully expect him to be hammered in the betting. Merdon Castle, whose sole defeat came at the hands of our Coventry choice Kool Kompany, also looks to have a strong chance. I am, however, a bit surprised at the price overseas for Fuwairt, the Richard Hannon trainee who finished third on debut behind two runners who already had a start under their belt. He then broke his maiden in his second start over slightly further at Chepstow in a race where the second place finisher has already come back to win. 
Pick: Merdon Castle to win (if odds 5/1 or better), Fuwairt e/w

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Down to the Wire: Belmont S. Edition

6/6/2014: Belmont Race 10: Belmont Gold Cup Invitational S.:
 #7 Auld Alliance

After winning her American debut, the four-year-old Irish-bred filly Auld Alliance looks to win her stakes debut, as well. It's fair to say she never really found herself in England after breaking her maiden immediately after finishing second to Riposte in her maiden win at Newmarket, but she did routinely run in longer (12-14f) routes. A daughter of known stamina influence Montjeu, this distance -- particularly over firm ground -- shouldn't be an issue and any improvement off of her recent allowance win makes her a contender here at what will likely be a square price.
**Others to Consider: #8 Draw Two, #6 Irish Mission

Belmont Gold Cup / Belmont S. Daily Double: 6,7,8 / 1,11

Belmont S. Undercard:

Race 2: Easy Goer S.: #3 Effinex
Lightly raced son of Mineshaft appears to be coming into his own right about now. After breaking his maiden in March, he followed that up with an easy allowance win versus New York breds before having all sorts of trouble in the G1 Wood Memorial. He was hard to load and had the widest trip of them all sans Uncle Sigh. He most recently finished third in a NY bred allowance behind two elders over a mile, which appears to be slightly shorter than he'd want. A stretch back out to 8.5f, first time Lasix, and this being his second start off the layoff makes him a contender at what will likely be a nice price.
**Others to Consider: #1 Life in Shambles, #7 Legend

Race 3: G2 Brooklyn Invitational S.: #4 Cat Burglar
A rising star on the west coast, this son of Unbridled's Song showed he can make his presence felt on the East coast just as well when finishing third in the Pimlico Special S., which was also his graded stakes debut. He's never run this far before, as is the case for nearly the entire field, but he ran a gutsy race last time out and I'd expect him to improve off that in what will be his third start off the layoff.
**Others to Consider: #5 Ever Rider, #8 Norumbega

Race 4: G3 Jaipur Invitational S.: #10 Marchman
A winner of two straight, both of which came over horses who return here, Marchman has shown steady improvement since regularly running in turf sprints. He may ultimately be better at five furlongs than six, but I don't expect the pace here to be too quick, which should help him get the distance.
**Others to Consider: #9 Positive Side

Race 5: G2 Woody Stephens S.: #2 Financial Mogul
Horse to Watch Financial Mogul has ran against the "big boys" all year along and he had a nightmarish trip last time out, while cutting back to seven furlongs. Despite his troubles, he finished only two and one half furlongs behind the winner. A cleaner trip here could make all the difference in the world and with so many big names signed up, the price will certainly be right.
**Others to Consider: #11 Social Inclusion, #5 Coup de Grace, #3 Havana

Race 6: G1 TVG Acorn S.: #7 Unbridled Forever
The pace here figures to be very speedy early, so I opted for who I think is the best horse coming from off the pace in Unbridled Forever. A daughter of Unbridled's Song out of a Lemon Drop Kid mare, Unbridled Forever was impressive early in the season before running into Untapable in her last two runs, in which she twice finished third. Untapable isn't running here, however, and My Miss Sophia looks like she'll have quite a bit of company up front early, so look for Unbridled Forever to take advantage and come on late. 
**Others to Consider: #8 My Miss Sophia, #9 Artemis Agrotera

Pick 6 (Races 6-11): 7,8 / 5 / 8,9,10 / 4,10,12,13 / 4 / 1,9

Race 7: G1 Ogden Phipps S.: #5 Beholder
She's as consistent and classy as they come and her win in last year's BC Distaff was over her biggest competitors today. While some question her ability to perform outside of California, a second in last year's Kentucky Oaks is by no means a flop in my book. By all accounts, she's looked well on site and I expect her to show 'em what she's made of here. 

Race 8: G1 Longines Just A Game S.: #10 Better Lucky
The now five-year-old daughter of Ghostzapper is as consistent as they come as far as hitting the board in top class races is concerned and she'll not only be switching to the turf (from synthetic) on what will be her second start off a nearly four month layoff, but I see a few horses pressuring probable pace setter Somali Lemonade early, which could benefit her, as well. 
**Others to Consider: #8 Waterway Run, #9 Discreet Marq

Pick 4 (Races 8-11): 8,9,10 / 1,4,10,12,13 / 4 / 1,9

Race 9: G1 Metropolitan H.: #12 Romansh
I'm certainly expecting a fast pace here with Goldencents and Broadway Empire in the field. Romansh is by no means the most consistent of this bunch, as he is apt to throw in a clunker every now and then, but I think he's one who could appreciate the cutback to a mile and while a few of these have been logging in race after race, he enters here fresh and working well. Regardless, this is a race where I think it'd be wise to spread, if possible.
**Others to Consider: #13 Shakin It Up, #10 Clearly Now

Pick 3 (Races 9-11): 1,4,10,12,13 / 4 / 1,7,9

Race 10: G1 Knob Creek Manhattan S.: #4 Grandeur
Out of the final sequences, this is the race where I'll be singling. At his best, Grandeur is the fastest of this group and unlike last out in the Man 'O War, he will get his ideal conditions: ie 10f over firm ground. The Man 'O War was also devoid of any early speed, which didn't suit him either and should not be the case here. He gets Gary Stevens aboard and will be first time Lasix. I will say of the others, however, I am most afraid of Real Solution upsetting my choice, as he ran a very nice second while against Grandeur and Imagining last out. 

DD (Races 10-11): 4 / 1,7,8,9,11

Race 11: G1 Belmont S.: #9 Wicked Strong
If you're like me and are tossing California Chrome on top for betting purposes, Wicked Strong does appear to be the logical play. He finished a nice fourth in the Kentucky Derby despite a wide trip after starting from the far outside. Prior to that, he won the G1 Wood Memorial, the form of which has appeared to hold up well with him and Samraat finishing fourth and fifth in the Derby before Social Inclusion went on to finish third in the Preakness. I expect California Chrome to be on the lead and the pace to be slow, but Wicked Strong has shown an ability to settle in a variety of positions depending on the pace. While more often than not he's shown to be a closer, he did run much closer to the front in the slowly run Remsen S. and Rajiv Maragh has already said he'd like to have him closer than he was in the Derby this time around. Add to that this race is in New York, where he tends to run his best races.
**Others to Consider: #1 Medal Count, #7 Samraat

Pick 3 (Races 11-13): 1,7,9 / 2,4,7 / 5,6,10