6. Agave Kiss. . . Ramon Dominguez. . . 8-5
7. Jazzy Idea. . . John Velazquez. . . 12-1
Agave Kiss gets a huge post switch from the rail to the outside. She was never able to relax in her first loss, but, given more breathing space, she should be in much better shape to finish this time. The issue is that she will again have to contend with Jamaican Smoke, the filly that ran her out of the race last time. Jamaican Smoke survived that wicked speed duel and held very gamely to be second. Emma's Encore was the beneficiary of that duel in the Victory Ride. It was the classic perfect setup and she ran the race of her life.
With a different setup, look for a different outcome.
* D.J.'s picks:
1. Agave Kiss
2. Jamaican Smoke
3. Emma's Encore
The West Virginia Derby (Saturday)
Mountaineer Park, Race 8 - Post 5:45
$750,000 (Grade II), 3 y.o., 1 1/8 miles
1. Macho Bull. . . Jon Court. . . 30-1
2. Hero of Order. . . Eddie Martin. . . 10-1
3. Z Camelot. . . Calvin Borel. . . 50-1
4. Macho Macho. . . Corey Nakatani. . . 6-1
5. Morgan's Guerilla. . . Leandro Goncalves. . . 12-1
6. Called to Serve. . . Daniel Centeno. . . 20-1
7. Le Bernardin. . . Mike Luzzi. . . 6-1
8. Bourbon Courage. . . Deshawn Parker. . . 10-1
9. Hansen. . . Mike Smith. . . 3-5
10. Penn's Grant. . . Luis Garcia. . . 30-1
Hansen's tail will be painted blue and the other nine horses are likely to see a lot of it. This colt has been handled perfectly since his Kentucky Derby debacle, finding an easy spot in Iowa and now another one in West Virginia. The white streak should be able to overwhelm this bunch. Then, it will be interesting to see if they try the Aug. 25 Travers, now looking a bit easier as it is possible Haskell winner Paynter may miss the race because of a temperature. Le Bernardin is an improving colt, but would have to take a giant leap forward to run down Hansen.
Bourbon Courage looked like a potential star after his first two races, but was not able to keep up in his first two stakes starts.
* D.J.'s picks:
2. Le Bernardin
3. Bourbon Courage
The Whitney Invitational Handicap (Sunday)
Saratoga, Race 10 - Post 5:45
$750,000 (Grade I), 3 y.o. & up, 1 1/8 miles.
1. Rule. . . Joe Bravo. . . 5-1
2. Hunters Bay. . . .......Emma-Jayne Wilson. . . 20-1
3. Caixa Eletronica. . . Javier Castellano. . . 15-1
4. Endorsement. . . Joel Rosario. . . 20-1
5. Trickmeister. . . Ramon Dominguez. . . 15-1
6. Ron the Greek. . . Jose Lezcano. . . 3-1
7. Flat Out. . . Rosie Napravnik. . . 4-1
8. Hymn Book. . . John Velazquez. . . 4-1
9. Fort Larned. . . Brian Hernandez. . . 7-2
Flat Out was in great form this time last summer when he ran second in this race. Has not been the same since last fall, but, in his second race for trainer Bill Mott, expect major improvement. Nobody is better with older horses than the Hall of Famer. Ron the Greek, also trained by Mott, has already won the Grade I Stephen Foster and Santa Anita Handicap this year. Hymn Book appears to have the right closing style for this heat. Fort Larned and Trickmeister ensure a very fast pace.
* D.J.'s picks:
1. Flat Out
2. Ron the Greek
3. Hymn Book
- Dick Jerardi