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Stakes Preview: Grade 1 Ruffian and Grade 1 Bing Crosby

Grade 1 Ruffian
Saratoga
1 1/8 miles
3&up, Fillies & Mares
Purse: $250,000
Post time: 5:30 EDT

PP

Horse

Jockey

Trainer

ML

1

Malibu Prayer

Velazquez J R

Pletcher Todd A

2/1

2

Unrivaled Belle

Desormeaux K J

Mott William I

Even

3

Starship Angel

Gomez G K

McLaughlin Kiaran P

12/1

4

Classofsixtythree

Castellano J J

Contessa Gary C

20/1

5

Tasty Temptation

Leparoux J R

Casse Mark

5/1

6

Zaphyra

Prado E S

Terranova, II John P

12/1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What to do with Unriavled Belle (Even) in this spot?  She beats Rachel Alexandra by a head in the La Troienne and then comes back to run a decent, but underwhelming race in the Grade 1 Ogden Phipps at Belmont on June 12th.  She's got back class all over the place but she's also got a pretty gutsy filly to her inside that she's going to have to deal with all the way around the track.

1-Malibu Prayer (2/1) should have the early speed edge on Unrivaled Belle and I would be surprised if Valazquez doesn't try to take this one in wire-to-wire fashion.  The Pletcher trainee has fired three bullets in the morning since her last race, so she would appear to be sharp as she looks for her first Grade 1 victory.

Honestly, I don't know whether I'd be able to play either of those two fillies, or any in this race, as I just don't think there is much money to be made where the two heavy favorites have such a class edge on the rest of the field.

If I was going to try and find an upset choice I suppose I would play the Woodbine shipper, 5-Tasty Temptation (5/1).  She's trying dirt for the first time after winning listed stakes on both synthetic and turf, but the switch doesn't concern me as much with this filly as other synthetic horses due to a) a good amount of dirt success in her pedigree, and b) Woodbine horses seem to make the transition from synthetic to dirt a bit better than horses from other tracks where they race on the plastic. 

I don't think Tasty Temptation is a good play at 5/1; she'd have to be somewhere around 8/1 or 10/1 before I'd take a nibble in the win pool. 

Grade 1 Bing Crosby
Del Mar
6 furlongs
3&up
Purse: $250,000
Post time: 5:30 PDT

PP

Horse

Jockey

Trainer

ML

1

E Z's Gentleman

Pedroza M A

Baffert Bob

2/1

2

Sky Cape

Talamo J

Mulhall Kristin

20/1

3

Scenic Blast (AUS)

Smith M E

Shirreffs John

8/1

4

El Brujo

Rosario J

Baffert Bob

8/1

5

Cost of Freedom

Bejarano R

Sadler John W

7/5

6

My Summer Slew

Quinonez A

Dollase Craig

10/1

7

Smiling Tiger

Espinoza V

Bonde Jeff

5/1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The speed that was so prevalent on Friday didn't find as much success on the main track yesterday at Del Mar.  We'll see how the early part of the card plays out today prior to the Bing Crosby.

The Bing Crosby is one of those races where I'm going to take a stand against one of the favorites, 1-E Z's Gentleman (2/1), on account of the distance of the race.  E Z's Gentleman has run two excellent races back-to-back (one at 7f and the other at 6f) but I really think he's better suited for seven furlongs than today's six.  He's a deserving favorite but I'd like to find a bit more value in this spot and I'm not convinced that six panels is E Z's Gentleman's best distance.  At least that's what my wagering dollars are hoping.

The other favorite in the Bing is the 5-Cost of Freedom (7/5), a gelding that absolutely makes sense at six furlongs given his sparking 10-7-0-0 record at the distance and his 5-3-0-0 tab at Del Mar.  Like E Z's Gentleman, Cost of Freedom won't fatten your bankroll with a win bet

I'm going to try and find some value in this race through the exacta and the Australian horse, 3-Scenic Blast (8/1).  Scenic Blast has some very nice back class as he won the Group 1 King's Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot in June of 2009.  He had some major form issues after that race but appeared to right the ship when he ran a decent race in his 2010 debut on the Hollywood Park turf course.  There's a bit of a question about the surface switch, although I prefer to play a turf horse switching to synthetic than a synthetic horse switching to turf.  Scenic Blast has shown an ability to sit patiently at the back and if he gets the quick pace that I expect, he should be able to make up some ground in deep stretch.

I'll likely play Scenic Blast across the board and then underneath Cost of Freedom in a heavy exacta.