Secret Circle--Nobody is better at preparing young sprinters than Baffert, the former Quarter Horse trainer. Was as dominant as could be in first two starts and is fast, but tactical for a young colt. Doesn't offer much value but I'll bite the bullet.
Trinniberg--Beaten less than a length by Vexor in Nashua, but draws better this time. Like how he is training at Churchill.
Holdin Bullets--Speaking of bullets, Wesley Ward is no slouch with young horses and I'm hoping this lightly-raced gelding will grab the early lead and hang on for a small piece.
Juvenile Fillies Turf
Stopshoppingmaria--She is training lights out on turf. Hope I can get her at 8-1.
Dayatthespa--Has run two big races and has the speed to put herself in winning position.
Dear Lavina--Beaten 1 1/2 lengths by favorite Elusive Kate this summer and is 3-1-1 from five starts. And I get about 30-1 instead of 2-1. I'm including her.
Customer Base--Two-for-two. First start on turf but the latest work was encouraging. Leparoux aboard too. Worth using.
Filly & Mare Sprint
Turbulent Descent--Towers over this field and is 3-for-3 at the distance. I'm not trying to beat her. In fact, she will be a single for me.
Pomeroys Pistol--Not crazy about the outside post but she has enough speed to clear and put herself near the lead.
Her Smile--Like her works at Churchill and will be a big price that may finish well for a piece.
Grace Hall--This is a deep field and a tough race but I'll give her the slight edge. The perfect record includes a two-turn win at Delaware. She couldn't be doing any better right now. It's just a matter if she's good enough.
Northern Passion--If Casse put her in the Juvenile Fillies Turf she would have been one of the favorites. Says a lot that he is willing to run her here.
My Miss Aurelia--Deserving favorite sure looked good in Frizette. But two turns is a question and she won't get an easy lead.
Miss Netta--Could be running late for a share.
Filly & Mare Turf
Stacelita--Difficult to overlook her here. The rain on Thursday will only help her.
Announce--Consistent filly defeated Stacelita earlier in the year.
Dubawi Heights--Sharp right now and hung in there pretty well against Stacelita at Arlington.
Royal Delta--Solid work at Churchill confirmed she's ready to run a big one. If she runs back to Alabama they are all running for second.
Ultra Blend--She's as consistent as they come. Would benefit from a hot pace.
Miss Match--They thought enough of her to put her in the Goodwood. Wasn't a bad effort.
Cease--Steadily improving gelding has the looks of a horse that wants to go longer. Like Gomez picking up the mount.
Birdrun--Best races came at 1 1/2 miles. Mott likes how he is getting over the track at Churchill.
Eldaafer--I'll use last year's winner underneath.
Finale--Not worried about the outside post. If he gets a stalking trip he's better than any of these.
Lucky Chappy--His run in the Borubon was impressive. Will be in the hunt.
Daddy Nose Best--Asmussen and Leparoux at 30-1 in a juvy race, why not?
Euroears--I picked Apriority on THS, but after looking at it closer I have to give the edge to Euroears. He's too classy and the Vosburgh was a complete toss. Wire-to-wire.
Apriority--Still like him to run well at a big price.
Amazombie--In great form right now. Have to use him.
Country Day--Taking a shot here in a great betting race. Has really taken to turf since the switch and he's a true five-furlong sprinter. Good works over his home course for a local trainer. Will be a big price.
Chamberlain Bridge--Last year's winner is doing great and obviously loves it at Churchill. Going to have to be at his best from outside post.
Havelock--Great turn of foot in the Woodford. You know he'll be coming at the end.
Wilburn--My top pick of the weekend. Looking for The Factor, Shackleford, and Tapizar to gun it up front and Wilburn to sit right off the speed. Has really gotten good recently.
Trappe Shot--Should be running late from the outside. Quick pace will be to his advantage.
The Factor--Fastest of the speed horses should be hanging around at the end.
Sarafina--Lukewarm selection in a race I don't really care for. Her class could be the difference.
Midday--Speaking of class, she is as consistent as they come. Hard to imagine her not being in the mix.
Dean's Kitten--Battled Cape Blanco to the wire in Turf Classic. Could sit a good trip right off of Brilliant Speed.
Creative Cause--Expect him to sit right off of Hansen and run him down. I think the California juveniles are a bit better than the East Coasters.
Union Rags--No doubt that he looks like a beast. Just like Creative Cause a little bit more.
Prospective--Grey winner is tactical and could get a piece at a huge price. Anyone remember Vale of York?
Courageous Cat--Obviously, will take his best to beat Goldikova. Was second to her in 2009 by a half-length. I'm hoping he's a little better two years later. He will be closer to the pace than he was in that one. We'll find out if he is good enough.
Goldikova--Even if she has lost a half-step she is good enough to win again. Would be a truly remarkable feat.
Strong Suit--Has gotten really good lately. Adds lasix and should be in the mix.
Zoffany--If you're willing to throw out the Turf Mile he has a big chance.
Uncle Mo--I'll be the first to admit that my bias towards this horse and his connections played a part in this selection. I know prepping for a 1 1/4-mile race with a sprint and a one-turn mile is not ideal and it will take an extraordinary effort for him to win. And the 5-2 odds I will get on him are way too low. I know all of this. If he runs poorly, I can take the heat.
Here are the reasons I like him:
A) He is doing fantastic right now; as well as he was when coming into the Kelso. The rumors about him not being right are complete garbage.
B) He's fast. If you believe in the Rags and other speed numbers he will have the lead at the eighth-pole. Good luck catching him.
C) I like his draw. He is outside of Game on Dude, so he won't have to take all the heat. He can follow him for a mile and make his move.
D) He has a two-turn win over the track, which only one other horse can boast.
He might not win but I think Mo will run a big race. Too many think he's going to pull a Quality Road. That's not happening.
So You Think--It took me all week to warm to him but if he takes to dirt he has a very good chance. He's so classy and he has five group I wins at 1 1/4 miles. Hard to ignore. Will wear blinkers and get lasix, both unknown factors. But he has trained on dirt before and O'Brien obviously thinks he can handle it.
To Honor and Serve--He will sit just off of Game on Dude and Mo, which is perfect for him. I love the way he is coming into the race and even though he's never been the distance he should have no problems going longer.
Havre de Grace--She always runs big. No horse has been more consistent than she has this year and I give her connections a huge amount of credit for running in this race. Would not be disappointed if she won. I just think she will see more speed than she ever has before and might be a little further back than she's accustomed to.
Best of luck to everyone this weekend. I hope it's a profitable one. Let us know who you like.