The Golden Ticket
The Great Race Place will host the second of the Win and Your In free trips to the 2014 Breeders’ Cup. The Santa Anita Gold Cup will be run Saturday at Santa Anita Park. Game on Dude will take to the dirt for a chance at the Gold Cup trifecta. Mike Smith again will get the mount for Baffert. The Dude certainly is the elder statesman of the group, but Fury Kapcori and Clubhouse Ride with leading rider Joe Talamo will be pressing him from the start. We will see if the Dude still has the class. Fury Kapcori is a Santa Anita regular, and winner. All starts in 2014 have been at Santa Anita and he has four trips to the winner’s circle and one second on his home track. Clubhouse Ride won the Gr. 2 Californian on May 31 but that was the best he could do, most of his finishes have been to show. Imperative has not run since his victory in the Charles Town Classic. In Gr. 1 company at Santa Anita, however, Imperative has finished a disappointing seventh but he’s coming off a lay off with nice works and should be ready to fire. Superman Desormeaux could pull the upset on Game on Dude again, and this time on the Dude’s home track. The curious entry is the Chilean horse in the Puype barn, Salto Del Indio. Even though he has no U.S. starts in 2014, this horse is a force in his native Chile and has been handling the California dirt in impressive fashion.
As much as I love to bet against Gary Stevens, Fury Kapcori is a just too good for even Stevens to screw this up. I’m going to go with the big upset here: the Chilean goes to the Breeders’ Cup.
A quick note on Race 7, Gr. 3 Senorita Stakes for 3 year old fillies on the turf. Talamo on the turf is an unbeatable combination, but so is Nakatani on Sushi Empire. Nakatani in this one over Smoking Joe Talamo on Sheza Smoke Show, with the Ireland-bred, Clenor, filling the trifecta. Victor Espinoza has ridden Rovenna to victory on this track and I would put him in a superfecta, simply not to miss out.
Will the real Golden Ticket please stand up?
Prairie Meadows is hosting its Festival of Racing this weekend and on Saturday some very familiar horses will enter the paddock at Altoona, Iowa. Race 7 on Saturday is the Gr. 3 Iowa Oaks for 3 year old fillies going one and one sixteenth miles. Sugar Shock, Thankyou Marylou and Ria Antonia are the obvious class of the group having competed in the Kentucky Oaks, and of course, Ria Antonia’s heartbreaking 10th in the Preakness. I would like her to win because I’m tired of watching her get pushed around. I’ve been following Sugar Shock (Candy Ride) since Oaklawn, and was hoping for better from her in the Kentucky Oaks. Sugar Shock is the only horse in the field to have won at Prairie Meadows, just recently winning the Panther Stakes on May 31. Thankyou Marylou at least finished 5th in the Kentucky Oaks, but has a pretty forgettable 2014 campaign thus far. Ria Antonia has been at four different tracks between February 22 and May 17, 2014. Three of the four races were grueling Grade 1 races: Santa Anita Oaks, Kentucky Oaks and the Preakness. The ship to Prairie Meadows will be her fifth race track in four months. All of this leads me to the Bill Mott horse entered here: Size. Three starts and three times in the money. Fresh legs versus Ria’s tired legs. Sugar Shock, Ria, Marylou and Size.
Race 8 is the Iowa Derby. Even though it’s a Gr. 3 race, Embellishing Bob, Russellin, Six Spot, Smack Smack, Charge Now, Jessica’s Star, I Got It All, Vicar’s in Trouble and Tairneach all show up. Vicar’s in Trouble and Embellishing Bob should handle this group nicely. That’s all.
Race 9 at Prairie Meadows is the Cornhusker Handicap. And, yes, there it is, the real Golden Ticket. When Golden Ticket finished behind Goldensents at the Breeders’ Cup last November, I certainly took notice. It seems the 2014 campaign is starting to catch a little momentum, even though he is coming off a 5th place finish in the Foster at Churchill Downs. Ground Transport, son of Big Brown, has two recent stakes wins under his saddle but he’s coming off a graded 5th place finish. Ricardo Santana, Jr. has had a wild ride so far in 2014 – finishing a stellar meet at Oaklawn and guiding Tapiture in the Derby. The young rider comes to Prairie Meadows for a piece of $300,000 purse with Right to Vote who is 3 of 5 in the money for 2014, and won the Rasmussen Memorial Stakes at Prairie Meadows on May 26. My superfecta in this race would be Right to Vote, Ground Transport, Golden Ticket, and Carve.
However, a Pick 3 for Races 7, 8, 9 is available and very enticing!
The Golden Goose
“If wishes were horses, beggars would ride.” – Mother Goose Nursery Rhymes/If Wishes Were Horses
The Mother Goose Stakes at Belmont Park on Saturday provides us with the much-anticipated return of Untapable. This daughter of Tapit has a morning line of 1/5. There’s no doubt that Untapable will win this race, nor that Stopcharginmaria will be charging at the end. In fact, there is one horse here that may give them all a Grimm-type tale instead. This horse’s jockey is not one to ever be considered a villain, nor one to boast about an upset victory. He did, however, become the “expected spoiler” of the long-awaited end to the Triple Crown drought: Joel Rosario. Even though Rosario showed class in the post-race interview being humble and gracious when speaking of beating California Chrome, he did his homework and knew exactly what he needed to do to beat the Cal-bred. Rosario will have his homework assignment entitled “Untapable” complete and in good form come Saturday too. Rosario is one of the top riders at Belmont. His top 3 percentage is 51%. He rides at Belmont every day. Home track advantage and House Rules. Never bet against the House.
Regardless, Untapable still wins. She’s the Jimmy John’s of 3 year olds: Freaky Fast. Freaky Good.