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Saturday/Sunday Quick Picks (Prarie Meadows and Woodbine)

Some quick selections that jumped out at me for some of the races at Woodbine and Prairie Meadows this weekend:

G3-Iowa Oaks: 5-Daisy Devine deserves favorite status for this race but I'm going to go with the 1-Little Miss Holly (3/1) for the upset.  Her race two-back at Keeneland was exceptionally strong (four next-out winner, including a stakes race) and she generally fits in well with this group. 

G3-Iowa Derby: On paper, 5-Astrology (9/5) clearly looks the best of the group, but if we're leery of a horse coming off of a lifetime best performance, then this is a colt to ask some questions about. If Astrology runs back to his Preakness form, he wins easily.  But if he regresses, even slightly, I think 8-Caleb's Posse will be the one with the best chance to spring the upset.  He's had some bad racing luck in the past (Arkansas Derby and Southwest Stakes) but when's he's received a clean trip he's shown enough to make him a contender against this group.

G3-Cornhusker Handicap: Old timer Awesome Gem (3/1) proved he's still got something in the tank when he won the Lone Star Park Handicap last time out and he seems like the logical win candidate in the Cornhusker. 10-Stachys (9/2) won the local prep for the Cornhusker in late May with a very smooth performance.  The final margin was just 1 3/4 lengths but the horse let up a bit when he made the lead with about a furlong to go (and still clocked a respectable 30.53 for the final 3/8ths).  9/2 odds seem perhaps a bit short to me, but 5/1 or higher would certainly be acceptable for Stachys.

G2-King Edward: A good many of the horses in this field want to get out and run in the early stages, something that should play to the closing style of 11-Society's Chairman (7/2).  He ran a decent 3rd in the G1-Maker's Mark at Keeneland last time out but he hasn't won a race since the G3-Appleton at Gulfstream in March of 2010.  Those numbers really make me want more value than the 7/2 morning line odds offer.  For a closer at a bit better of a price, I like 3-Silver Rock (6/1).  He's facing a stern class test but should find the expected pace much to his liking.

Queen's Plate Stakes: This race appears to be screaming for a horse with boxcar odds next to it's name which led me to 12-Seawatch as a play for an upset.  Seawatch broke his maiden just two races back but he ran decent enough in his next outing against stakes company in the Victoria Park.  He's got a bit of a grinding style which might be an advantage in a 10 furlong event such as this.

Over the last five years, trainer Josie Carroll has finished in-the-money 53% of the time in stakes races for three-year-olds on the Poly at Woodbine.  Her win percentage isn't tremendous (4/36, 11%), but she seems to get her horses ready to run in these kinds of races.

Carroll also trains the lone filly in the Queen's Plate, 9/2 second choice Inglorious.