Let's take a look at some of the stakes on a solid weekend of racing. Calder, Hollywood, Monmouth, and Belmont take center stage. Let me know who you like.
The headliner on a very good Summit of Speed card. This six-furlong sprint for fillies and mares drew a full field of 13. Warbling is the 7-2 morning line choice and even though she is working lights out and both of my colleagues on That Handicapping Show picked her, I'm going in another direction.
Warbling likes to run on the front and end if she winds up there again she will have to work for it. There is some pretty decent speed in here, which I think will set up for a horse laying just off the pace or further back. I give the slight edge to Hour Glass, a winner in three of five starts this year including the grade II Vagrancy last out. She is 4-for-5 at the distance and should be able to sit a comfortable mid-pack trip.
I'll also use Dubai Majesty, who enters off a dominating win in the Winning Colors (gr. III) at Churchill at the same distance. Other than the Humana Distaff when disliking the slop, she rarely runs a bad race. The 8-1 morning line is juicy. Also in my exotics will be 20-1 Saratoga Tango, one of four horses for Marty Wolfson. She is 0-for-5 this season and hasn't won in a long time, but was closing well last out when second. She likes this racetrack and if the pace is very hot could get up for a piece.
Also on the Summit of Speed card, I'll take Congressional Page and Go Go Shoot in the Smile Sprint Handicap (gr. II) and play a cold exacta with D' Funnybone over Dream of Atlantis in the Carry Back (gr. III).
It's an ungraded stakes at Monmouth but a very intriguing one that includes some improving 3-year-olds. Trappe Shot is the buzz horse after winning three straight races, all of them in romps. The son of Tapit makes his stakes debut and comes in after running a 105 Beyer in a June 5 allowance at Belmont. But this is his first time stretching out and will get a class check. We'll find out how good he is. I'll go with second choice Colizeo, winner of the Northern Dancer (gr. III) last out and a three-time winner at two turns. He can rate just off Latigo Shore or Wildcat Lake if he needs to, or try to take them all the way. Gomez will make the right decision. Colizeo does have to give weight to his rivals, but he broke his maiden under 122 pounds so he should be okay.
Hollywood Gold Cup
It's not a great betting race, though it would have been had a certain mare decided to show up. (Sorry, it had to be said. There is no legitimate reason why she isn't in the race). That leaves last year's winner Rail Trip, the top older horse in California, as the heavy favorite. It's tough to pick against him here. He loves the track, has been dominating in both starts this year, and should get a nice stalking trip behind a decent pace. Richard's Kid is certainly the most logical to upset the odds-on choice, but it's very hard for me to back a horse making his first start back from Dubai. They just don't win that often.
Awesome Gem is probably the value play even though his is 0-for-11 in grade I company. He's going to be the third choice on the morning line and even if he doesn't win he could very easily do what he does best--finish second. The 7-year-old has finished runner-up 13 times in 35 starts, including his last two. He ran very well in the Charles Town Classic two back, and has wins at the track and at the distance. He's in pretty good form right now. Awesome Gem across the board and in exactas with Rail Trip.
Man o' War
Gio Ponti. No way that he loses again.