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Weekend Stakes Action (7/31 - 8/1)


-Temple City won yesterday's Cougar II Handicap at Del Mar in wire-to-wire fashion over Usual Suspect and Richard's Kid.

-4-Forever Together (2/1) has won the Diana two years in a row but I think 1-Proviso (GB) (5/2) has an excellent shot to knock her off in today's race given her tactical speed advantage over the favorite.  Breaking from the rail and running on the Mellon turf course, Proviso (GB) should get things her way on the front end.  

6-Shared Account (6/1) is a decent mid-shot possibility in this race as she's in good form, has enough early speed to not be compromised by a slow pace, and she ran very well on the big turf course at Colonial last time out.  She could be a nice upset play.

-I'm not entirely sure what to do with the 1-Steinbeck (IRE) (6/1) in today's Jim Dandy; he's making his first start in North America after an exclusively grass career in Ireland and England.  I'm guessing this is a bit of a prospect race for trainer Aiden O'Brien, meaning he wants to find out if this colt can handle the dirt in order to decide whether or not to give him a shot at Churchill in the fall.  This colt has shown speed in his European races but whether that will translate to the Saratoga dirt remains to be seen.

The New York-bred 8-Friend or Foe (8/1) has some dazzling Beyer numbers (last out 99) but going from state-bred conditions to a Grade 2 is asking an awful lot.  Additionally, he's going to have a lot of company on the front end early on in this race.

-I don't know that I have a strong feeling for any horse in the Jim Dandy so I'm probably going to go with the 2-Afleet Express (4/1), an Afleet Alex colt that has been on the improve all summer and comes into this race in excellent form.  This distance shouldn't be an issue in any way and he's a colt that is able to be positioned in a variety of locations during a race.  I like the versatility, the form, and the 4/1 morning line odds.

-Del Mar played pretty fast yesterday with speed holding up very well in many races on the main track; something to keep in mind for today's card.

-The San Diego Handicap at Del Mar today appears to have two clear-cut early speed horses: 2-Isle of Giants (12/1) and 6-Red Eye Express (IRE) (12/1).  Neither horse is exuding class and each have generally tasted success in the Allowance ranks making it unlikely they'll be able to take down this field today.  Sitting just off the early leaders should be the 1-Enriched (6/1) and 5-Sangaree (5/1), my top picks in this race.  I give the edge to Sangaree due to his back class but I think either won has an excellent chance to win.

I'm not a big fan of 7-Battle of Hastings (6/1) in this spot as he's seen a bit of a dip in form over the past few races and he's unproved over the Polytrack.

-Tomorrow is one of the biggest days of the summer racing season with the Haskell, Ruffian, and Bing Crosby taking place across the country.  I'll have a preview of all of tomorrow's action later this evening.