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Weekend Stakes Action: Whitney, Test, Hirsch and Vanderbilt Edition

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Zazu
Zazu

I had a big preview piece written up last night that apparently didn't save properly, leaving me with a big bag of nothing when I went to edit it this morning.  I don't feel like re-creating the whole thing so here's the abridged version:

-There seems to be enough pace in the Clement Hirsch to set things up for a couple of off-the-pace runners like Zazu and St. Trinians (GB).  The two -turn races on the Poly have been a lot kinder to speed this meet than in previous ones, but I think this race sets up nicely for a mid-pack/closer.

The West Coast fillies and mares might be just a notch below their East Coast counterparts, but they still have a very deep and competitive division.

-There are so many different ways to go in the Whitney but if you believe in "bounces", that way is certainly not towards Flat Out.  By any standard his run in the Suburban was lengths better than anything he's every shown before.  Perhaps that's his new talent level, or perhaps he just freaked that day.  He's put in a couple of sparkling works at Monmouth since his Suburban win but we'll see if he can duplicate that performance on Saturday.  A five-year-old horse that has only nine lifetimes starts, Flat Out has had a lot of problems staying on the track during his career and he has rarely displayed the ability to put two good races back-to-back.

-I like 9-Deluxe a lot in the 8th at SAR on Saturday; she's making her first North American start after running in France, and her first start of 2011.  She finished 2nd to the very talented Sarafina in last year's French Oaks and finished ahead of Zagora (FR), last week's winner of the Diane, in that same race.  If she's ready to run off the layoff she would tower over this field.  I also think she'll prefer the firmer ground here in the U.S. (Update: Deluxe is now a scratch for the De La Rose so....that's out the window.)

I've also got my eye on 5-Evading Tempete (GB) in the De La Rose.  Her first U.S. start at Calder was pretty solid given how much travel she did in 2010.  The eight month rest might be just what she needed to recharge the batteries.  However, I think she's definitely a notch below Deluxe.

-I don't have much of an opinion about the Test, except to write that despite her troubles in the Acorn, Turbulent Descent still looks the best of the bunch. She ran up against the very strong It's Tricky while having to deal with an off track.  She looks to be in prime position to bounce back.

PP Horse Jockey Trainer ML
1 Ava K. J. Leparoux M. Hushion 20/1
2 American Lady M. Garcia B. Baffert 5/1
3 Roman Treasure R. Dominguez M. Hushion 15/1
4 Coax Liberty E. Castro J. Lawrence, II 12/1
5 Savvy Supreme J. Lezcano T. Pletcher 15/1
6 Turbulent Descent D. Flores M. Puype 6/5
7 Pomeroys Pistol J. Velazquez A. Tarrant 8/1
8 Her Smile J. Castellano T. Pletcher 4/1
9 Salty Strike M. Cruz K. McPeek 12/1

 

-I don't have much in the way of analysis for the Vanderbilt except to say that I'll be pulling for the Washington-bred, Atta Boy Roy. Working his way back from an injury he suffered at the Breeders' Cup last fall, Atta Boy Roy won an OC event at Turf Paradise before finishing 2nd to Noble's Promise in the Aristides, and 3rd in the Iowa Sprint Handicap.

PP Horse Jockey Trainer ML
1 Noble's Promise A. Garcia K. McPeek 8/1
2 Bank Merger J. Leparoux S. bin Suroor 10/1
3 Atta Boy Roy J. Castanon V. Lund 15/1
4 Hamazing Destiny J. Lezcano D. Lukas 5/1
5 Calibrachoa J. Castellano T. Pletcher 8/1
6 Sean Avery J. Bravo A. Iwinski 20/1
7 Apriority R. Dominguez D. Fawkes 3/1
8 Trappe Shot J. Velazquez K. McLaughlin 7/5