With a Pick 6 carryover of better than 40k and a Pick 4 guarantee of 500k bettors will have a multitude of options on a terrific eleven race card. Note that the 11th race is off the turf but that is hardly a big deal given that the field will stay relatively large. Horses that you now need to keep an eye on include #15 HERO FIGURE, who was on the MTO list along with his stablemate, #4 IN JUST WE TRUST, who is a consistent horse that will be just off the pace early. Click here for my analysis on the Saturday card. Here are my thoughts on the two graded stakes races this afternoon:
Race 9, The GI Diana Handicap:
It’s a “what have you done for me lately” world and that’s a big part of the reason why #7 AVIATE is likely to be the 2nd or 3rd choice in this field. She was a solid favorite in the Just a Game back in June at Belmont but did not handle the boggy turf course that enabled C.S. Silk to go wire-to-wire. Trainer Bill Mott has given her some time as she appears to be a filly who’s at her best with time between starts. Mott has won 2 of the last 4 runnings of the Diana and both of those winners were returning off the bench after starting in the Just a Game. #6 ARUNA is 4-5 in America with her only defeat coming at the hands of Aviate at Churchill on Kentucky Derby day. That was this filly’s first start of 2011 and this will now be the third start of her form cycle. The pace scenario in here is a bit unclear given the status of #10 ROMACACA and she seems to need a bit of pace to set up her late bid. #4 ZAGORA has been favored in two of her last three starts and is winless since coming to America. She is a big late runner who will get more pace to run at this afternoon. Trainer Chad Brown receives a great deal of support from the public and this filly will likely be well bet again today. SELECTIONS: 7-6-4
Race 10, The G2 Jim Dandy:
#2 DOMINUS broke through for his 2nd career win when he wired the Dwyer four weeks ago and he now tries to notch the 2nd graded stakes victory of his career. He was on the lead in the Dwyer but hardly seems like a “need the lead” type given the rally he put forth on debut last fall at Belmont. If #5 WILL’S WILDCAT shows speed today then this son of Smart Strike will be in a stalking position that will give him a huge tactical edge on the closers in this field. #7 ALTERNATION is one of those closers as he returns from a freshening that followed an off the pace win in the Peter Pan. He has been working sharply and was just coming into his own when he scored at Belmont in May. The lack of a great amount of pace in here would seem to work against this impeccably bred colt but he didn’t exactly get a huge setup in the Peter Pan. #3 BRILLIANT SPEED is back off a layoff for trainer Tom Albertrani and will look to improve on his 0-3 record on fast dirt. He ran a very good race in the Belmont but it stands to reason that the wet surface made him so effective. Look for him in the waning stages today. SELECTIONS: 2-7-3
Best of luck on this outstanding card!