As previously stated, I am going on vacation this weekend for about 10 days. Though there is plenty to be done before my R&R in Cape May, N.J., I'd like to give some quick picks on this weekend's exciting racing action, and get your thoughts as well.
Good luck to everyone this weekend and be sure to look for a couple of guest blogs next week. See you on the other side...
I'm a fan of Afleet Express but I think he needs a little more seasoning, I am intrigued by New York-bred Friend Or Foe but think he is in a bit too deep, and I think Fly Down is the most logical choice but he will be the favorite. So I am going with A Little Warm, who should be near the pace and comes out of a nice allowance win off a freshening. He has been runner-up to two pretty good horses in graded stakes action and is training very well coming into this. I think he will be right there at the end with Fly Down in a chalky exacta.
Fabulous race features the two-time defending titleholder Forever Together, consecutive grade I winner Proviso, Breeders' Cup winner Maram, and Phola, who is less than a length away from three graded stakes wins in a row.
I'm giving Forever Together one more try even though there doesn't look to be much pace in here. Despite her losing streak she remains in good form and probably deserved to win at least one of them. Has she lost a half-step? Maybe. But she likes this course and has found a way to win this race the last two years. And she gets Leparoux back. I'm also going to use longshot Shared Account in my exacta. The improving filly is a two-time grade I runner-up who relishes nine furlongs. She should be near the pace and could be tough to catch if she gets a lead. I'll take a stand against Proviso and Phola knowing the risks.
We spelled out our thoughts pretty well on That Handicapping Show. My partners like Trappe Shot, who unquestionably is a talented, up-and-coming 3YO with tons of ability. But I think he is in a bit over his head though from a class standpoint and believe he is more likely to hit the bottom of the exotics. I think it's between First Dude and Lookin At Lucky, the one-two finishers in the Preakness. First Dude deserved to win the Preakness in my eyes and was equally as good in the Belmont. He is versatile and could go to the lead or sit just off the pace if someone else goes quickly up front. Either way, I think First Dude will run them off their feet, especially since he cuts back to nine furlongs. Will he really go off at 6-1? I hope so. Lookin At Lucky should be making his patented huge run on the turn and is a must use. Afleet Again is my longshot to fill out exotics since he likes the track and has a jockey that owns Monmouth. He's an improving horse too, I just don't know if he wants to go 1 1/8 miles against this caliber yet.