The date is 07-11, and those two numbers are universally considered “gambler’s numbers” so the racetrack would seem to be the right place to spend the day. Let’s take a look at some of the biggest stakes races of the day:
MAN O’ WAR
#8 DANCING FOREVER might be in position to get back to his best efforts today as he makes his 2nd start of the year and stretches out to a distance that falls right into his wheelhouse. He came back from the big break with a good closing effort going a much shorter distance and the recent dry weather should have the course a bit harder than it’s been all meet, which plays into this guy’s hands. #9 GIO PONTI is the deserving favorite in this event but there are some question marks with this guy, the greatest of which is today’s distance. He has won multiple times at 10 furlongs and his running style would lead you to believe that the extra furlong should be no problem. He will need the pace to be legitimate in order to set up his late bid and that could happen. #7 MIDSHIPS will be responsible for setting the pace and he has really come into his own lately, winning three graded stakes races in a row. He has a good bit of early speed and will certainly be on the lead in here. He has benefited from being able to back the pace down in his recent efforts and that might not be made available today.
#4 B R’S GIRL is making her 2nd start off a layoff for trainer Martin Wolfson, who will saddle 3 of the 8 participants in this affair. This daughter of Pulpit rallied nicely in the U Can Do It, the local prep for this event. She had to deal with a runaway frontrunner who had set a relatively soft pace, so there are some excuses for why she couldn’t get the job done last time. #6 GAME FACE hasn’t been out since Memorial Day weekend when she failed miserably as the 13-10 favorite in the Vagrancy (G2) at Belmont. She is the most proven competitor in here now that Indian Blessing is out and her running style makes her a clever fit. The connections will earn her plenty of support at the windows and if she can take to Calder like she does Gulfstream, they’re all running for second. #9 MARINA BALLERINA won the local prep, the aforementioned U Can Do It, in wire-to-wire fashion and she certainly drew the best of the speedsters as she has the far outside post. She will be on the engine from the outset and her works since her last win have been very good. She will likely be overbet off the 100+ Beyer figure but her chances of winning are obviously good.
The aforementioned Benny the Bull is strictly the one to beat as he is decidedly better than his competition whether looking at Beyer figures or Thoro-Graph Sheet numbers. He exits a strong 2nd place finish in the True North on Belmont day when he ran into the best six furlong horse in America, Fabulous Strike. He is already a winner at Calder and many times these Summit of Speed day events depend on who handles the sandy CrC surface. #2 HOW’S YOUR HALO just scored nicely in the Ponche, the local prep for this event. He has been in the money in 16 of 22 starts at Calder and is a graded stakes winner with back class. He should get a good trip from just off the pace, which will enable him to get the jump on the fave. #1 IKIGAI has scored four times in five tries at Calder including a huge win in an allowance race in January in which he earned a Beyer figure of 107. He should be on the engine today along with #5 EATON’S GIFT and given the way this guy has notoriously run here, I’d expect he sticks around a bit longer.
The bulky field in this event guarantees that there’s going to be a great amount of value available, but don’t feel lonely if you have no clue who to back in this field. I’m in the same boat and thus I’ll settle on #2 PUBLIC SPEAKER, who arguably had the toughest trip in The Tin Man. He sat second behind the runaway leader, Rumor Has It, and wound up making the first move into the pace as he grabbed the lead at the three-sixteenths pole. He was asked to sustain his bid for a distance and he now gets a bit better setup in this field. He has enough speed to stay very close to the early pace and if Julien Leparoux decides to stalk the pace with #13 THABAZIMBI, then this son of Distorted Humor could find himself on the front end. #12 COSMONAUT won this race two years ago in wire-to-wire fashion and came back last year to defend his title only to finish second to #11 STREAM CAT. He is making his 3rd start of the year this afternoon and comes out of a strong effort in the Manhattan. He has a good bit of speed and should be in close attendance with the top pick as they pass the stands for the first time. The aforementioned Stream Cat’s last win was in this race one year ago and given that he can be effective from just off the pace, he stands to get a good trip today.
HOLLYWOOD GOLD CUP
As one of only two horses to take the traditional path to this event, #6 DAKOTA PHONE offers a bit more appeal than #8 RAIL TRIP. The former was at a pace disadvantage two back in the Mervyn LeRoy as they cruised in the early going with Ball Four going wire to wire. In the Californian the pace was a bit faster and this son of Zavata made a bold late move to narrowly miss while making up significant ground in the last furlong. Despite his sprint pedigree he seems to have developed into a nice distance horse and trainer Jerry Hollendorfer certainly knows how to get a horse ready for a big race. #5 PARADING exhibited a tremendous kick in his synthetic surface unveiling back in April at Keeneland as he won the Ben Ali by a pole. He backed up that win with a workmanlike effort in the Dixie back on the weeds at Pimlico. He has been off since that effort eight weeks ago but has been working steadily including a drill at Hollywood six days ago. He will go ten furlongs without issue and trainer Shug McGaughey has done extremely well with synthetic starters over the last two years. #10 LIFE IS SWEET will be looking to escape the shadow cast by her behemoth stablemate, the great Zenyatta. She was second to that beast in the Milady seven weeks ago and would seem to have a real chance in this race despite facing males. The group in here is not particularly tough and the pace scenario should enable her to make a good late bid.
Good luck with your plays today!