One of the biggest days in racing occurs today with a total of ten Grade 1 races divided between New York and California, along with a sprinkling of stakes action across the rest of the country. The biggest prize is the $1 million Jockey Club Gold Cup featuring two of this year's best three-year-old colts taking on their elders for the first time in their careers.
Defending Breeders' Cup Classic winner Fort Larned will make his final prep in the inaugural running of the Homecoming Classic at Churchill Downs, a race that he should dominate if he's a serious threat to repeat at Santa Anita in early November.
Below are links to the scratches and changes at Belmont and Santa Anita (via Equibase):
Okay, some quick thoughts/picks on today's action:
- G1-Chandelier: I loved She's a Tiger's last race in the Del Mar Debutante but I'm a bit leery on her desire to go 8.5 panels at short odds. Fascinating is still a maiden but she was gobbling up ground late in that same race at Del Mar and should enjoy additional ground to cover. She's never run on dirt and she's also a short price on the ML. Colonel Joan improved a lot in her second start on the stretch out and could be live at a decent price.
- G1-Rodeo Drive: Lady of Shamrock has gotten into a check cashing/money burning rut since her Grade 1 score over a year ago and I don't think she'll get out of it today as Marketing Mix looks awfully strong.
- G1-Frontrunner: A surprising lack of big time speed in the Frontrunner could give Can the Man a big edge in the early stages; he's got a chance to control this race from start to finish if Martin Garcia can get him out of the gate in good order. I love Tamarando's last two and a big run in his first time stretching out could signal some good things for the Del Mar Futurity winner.
- G1-Zenyatta: Tons of speed and talent in this race with many watching Beholder closely to see how she fares back against top notch competition.
- G1-Awesome Again: God bless Paynter, and I'd love to see him win today, but there's no way I take 5/2 on him in the Awesome Again, much less the 9/5 or whatever absurd price he'll be come post time. Summer Hit has never tried dirt after 13 races on synthetics and grass; this could be a race he can control from the front if, and it's a big "if", he can bring his speed to dirt.
- G1-Beldame: Princess of Sylmar vs. Royal Delta? Yes, please.
- G2-Kelso: Graydar is my sleeper BC Classic horse right now and I love the thought of going one turn in the Kelso and then stretching out of 10f at Santa Anita. He was so good in the Donn and the New Orleans Handicap but he's got to stay fit and healthy, something that's been hard for him to do in his career.
- G1-Vosburgh: Strapping Groom is on quite a roll but he'll face a stiff test at Belmont in a wide-open Vosburgh. I was a big fan of The Lumber Guy last fall but he can't seem to find his way to the winner's circle anymore.
- G1-Flower Bowl: I really don't have a horse I like in this race and the entry of Laughing (IRE) and Tannery (IRE) look really tough.
- G1-Hirsch Turf: I already wrote about this the other day but the coupled and tripled entries of the Hirsch are really disappointing. No, I don't want to be three horses for the price of one.
- G1-Jockey Club Gold Cup: Assuming he can get out of the gate today, I like Palace Malice to run big versus a very tough Gold Cup field.
This is your Super Saturday open thread.