3. Not Abroad
Eldaafer has competed in all four Marathons. He won it in 2010 and appears to be peaking, just as he was that year. Pool Play, the horse that just beat him, is in Saturday's $5 million Classic. Commander just won a four-turn race at Hastings Park, his sixth straight win. He goes from the minors to the majors, but does not look overmatched. Not Abroad just won the Maryland Million Classic after running third and second the previous 2 years. He did, however, get a dream rail trip in his win.
JUVENILE FILLIES TURF
1. Flashy Ways
2. Spring Venture
Loved the way Flashy Ways took to the Santa Anita grass course. It was obvious she loved it. And she is going to be a huge price. Spring Venture exploded when clear in the Natalma Stakes at Woodbine.
1. Spring in the Air
2. Broken Spell
3. Kauai Katie
There is a lot of quality early speed and most of those fillies are going to get bet. I am counting on a pace meltdown. Don't know whether Spring in the Air will like the dirt, but she has the right closing style. Her late run in the Alcibiades at Keeneland was breathtaking. Broken Spell has a similar style, and finished just behind the choice. Beholder was incredible when she broke her maiden. If she runs back to that, she wins. But she figures to have early company from the three unbeaten fillies, two from Todd Pletcher and one from Baffert. The ban on Lasix in the five 2-year-old races complicates the issue.
FILLY AND MARE TURF
2. The Fugue
Hard to separate this group. I fell on Zagora because trainer Chad Brown said she will really like the firm turf at Santa Anita. And I think she might get overlooked in the betting.
2. Awesome Feather
3. Royal Delta
May be the race of the weekend, with three former BC race winners, two unbeatens and the defending champ. Questing was ridden incorrectly when second in the Cotillion. If Irad Ortiz puts her on the lead and runs the others off their feet with fast fractions, I think she goes all the way. Awesome Feather has never lost in 10 tries and just ran the race of her life. Royal Delta won this race last year and absolutely should be favored. My Miss Aurelia and Grace Hall certainly are not out of it in what is simply a tremendous race.
SATURDAY JUVENILE TURF 1. Joha 2. Brown Almighty 3. Noble Tune
Joha looks like controlling speed. Shows great will to win in all his races. Brown Almighty had a brutal trip in the Bourbon Stakes and he will be a huge price. Noble Tune showed instant acceleration in both starts.
FILLY & MARE SPRINT
1. Groupie Doll
2. Dust and Diamonds
3. Musical Romance
Groupie Doll is the most likely winner in any of the 15 races and also the shortest price. Unbeaten and untested in four starts since adding blinkers, she absolutely exploded in her last start. She really does look like a lock. Dust and Diamonds stalked hot fractions and kept going in the Gallant Bloom at Belmont Park. Musical Romance is the defending champ who just ran down a horse that was not slowing down at Calder.
2. John Scott
Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin made an inspired choice when he pulled Emcee from the far more difficult Sprint to this much easier spot. The distance is the question here, not the talent. Trying John Scott to split the favorites in the exacta. Shackleford will likely be sent, and try to take this field all the way. Jersey Town was amazing in Kelso, but could bounce.
3. Unbridled's Note
How fast are these horses going to go down the hill? This race is loaded with speed, so I am looking for a horse that can sit off the pace and finish. Bridgetown is a professional grass sprint specialist, as good as any and better than most in a treacherous field that begins the Pick 6.
1. Shanghai Bobby
3. Power Broker
The shipping and no Lasix angle bothers me with Shanghai Bobby, but this colt has been absolutely brilliant in his four starts, and will be the early Kentucky Derby favorite with a fifth win. Fortify has not used Lasix yet, and that might matter. Power Broker has a huge home track advantage that could definitely matter.
2. Point of Entry
If Japanese-bred Trailblazer wins, there will be a giant celebration in Japan, where horse racing is a national obsession. Loved this horse's prep race, and his back form is more than good enough. Nothing bad to say about Point of Entry except the price. Trainer Shug McGaughey has been saying this horse will love firm turf, which he will get.
1. Capital Account
2. Jimmy Creed
3. Poseidon's Warrior
This is a brain teaser and an obvious Pick 6 eliminator. I could make a case for eight horses. If they go crazy fast early, Capital Account seems as likely as any of the closers to get there. Jimmy Creed took all the worst of it when trying to close inside last out. Poseidon's Warrior, trained at Parx by Butch Reid, got no breather from the inside post in the Vosburgh. The outside post should be a big help.
2. Wise Dan
3. Moonlight Cloud
Obviously is absolutely lone speed and will not be easy to catch at a very square price. Wise Dan is brilliant, but the price won't be right. Moonlight Cloud is a major star in France. Excelebration only loses to the unbeatable Frankel, but asking the horse to come back after running 2 weeks ago in that bog at Ascot is asking a lot. Love that Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom is running, but he caught a great field.
1. Game On Dude
2. Mucho Macho Man
3. Fort Larned
I think Game On Dude is a Pick 6 single. Unbeaten at his home track of Santa Anita, he is in a race in which he should get a great stalking trip (or even be on the lead) and get first run on the closers. He wins and clinches Horse of the Year. Mucho Macho Man has been perfectly prepared for this race. Fort Larned has the speed that certainly makes him a factor. Fascinating race, but I see only Game On Dude.
Contact Dick Jerardi at email@example.com