Your Love can stalk to Safely Kept win

Daily Racing Form National Digital Edition - - News - MIKE WATCH­MAKER

A trio of Grade 3 stakes high­light Satur­day’s Vet­eran’s Day rac­ing – the $200,000 Red Smith Hand­i­cap at Aqueduct, the $100,000 Com­mon­wealth Turf at Churchill Downs, and the $100,000 Bob Hope at Del Mar.

Also of note are the six stakes at Laurel Park, where it is Ben’s Cat Day in cel­e­bra­tion of that late Mid-At­lantic rac­ing leg­end.

Safely Kept Stakes

The ap­proach for me here is to bet against the three fil­lies com­ing out of the Charles Town Oaks – Shim­mer­ing Aspen, Berned, and A stroll in the park.

Shim­mer­ing Aspen wound up a dis­tant sixth in the Charles Town Oaks as the favorite, and she might be fa­vored again Satur­day as she is re­turn­ing to Laurel, where she is 5 for 6 in her ca­reer, in­clud­ing two romp­ing stakes wins. Berned was a price at Charles Town, but she’ll have sup­port­ers in this spot be­cause she fin­ished fourth, well ahead of Shim­mer­ing Aspen, and the chart says she gained 15 1/2 lengths dur­ing the run­ning to be beaten just 1 1/2 lengths. And A stroll in the park, who was fifth at Charles Town, may ap­peal to some, con­sid­er­ing she dis­puted an early pace that com­pletely fell apart.

But I ques­tion how strong the Charles Town Oaks re­ally was. A case can be made that run­ner-up Yorkiepoo Princess was best since she was in­volved in that de­struc­tive pace and still beat all but one that night. The prob­lem is, Yorkiepoo Princess was 75-1 in the Charles Town Oaks, and for very good rea­son. Her five pre­vi­ous ef­forts were down­right dis­mal, and even many of her bet­ter back ef­forts were only so-so. I take Yorkiepoo Princess’s big try in the Charles Town Oaks as ev­i­dence that that race wasn’t all that strong.

I al­most went with Ms Lo­cust Point, who was so im­pres­sive win­ning the Gin Talk­ing Stakes over the Laurel track last New Year’s Eve that I took her next time in Gulf­stream’s For­ward Gal Stakes. Ms Lo­cust Point was cruis­ing on an early lead on the in­side in the For­ward Gal, but sud­denly gave way in mid­stretch, fin­ish­ing fifth. That she was sub­se­quently out of ac­tion nine months sug­gests some­thing went amiss and com­pro­mised her per­for­mance, and there was also a sus­pi­cion that the rail was not good at Gulf­stream that day.

Your Love, whose only dull ef­fort in five out­ings was a sixth three starts back against much bet­ter in the Grade 1 Test, is whom I like best. Your Love was prob­a­bly too close to a strong pace when nar­rowly beaten two starts back, but re­bounded with a solid score at Bel­mont most re­cently, and will sit the sort of out­side stalk­ing trip you would pre­fer most days on Laurel’s main track.

Red Smith Hand­i­cap

Money Mul­ti­plier and Hunter O’Ri­ley are the horses to beat off their Saratoga form. Money Mul­ti­plier just missed in the Grade 1 Sword Dancer, while Hunter O’Ri­ley up­set the Bowl­ing Green. But Money Mul­ti­plier is hard to love off a poor ef­fort in the more re­cent Joe Hirsch Turf Clas­sic, and Hunter O’Ri­ley failed to val­i­date his Bowl­ing Green win in the Sword Dancer.

I like Os­car Nom­i­nated, who has been a bit cam­era shy, but who comes into this off per­haps the two best races of his ca­reer. He won the Ken­tucky Turf Cup two starts back, and though he was a soundly beaten sec­ond in the Cana­dian In­ter­na­tional most re­cently, Bullards Al­ley sim­ply freaked on that soft course, while Os­car Nom­i­nated was ac­tu­ally quite game hold­ing on to sec­ond.

Richard W. Small Stakes

Page McKen­ney and Wa­ter­shed are log­i­cal con­tenders. Page McKen­ney just won his sec­ond straight stakes and 20th race over­all, while Wa­ter­shed drops out of events such as the Sub­ur­ban and Pim­lico Spe­cial and won the Grade 3 Ben Ali three starts back. But even though Page McKen­ney won this race in 2015, be­fore an in­jury that seems to have knocked his Beyer Speed Fig­ure ceil­ing down by a few sig­nif­i­cant points, I’m not sure this 1 1/8-mile dis­tance is his favorite. Wa­ter­shed makes his first start in four months and seems the type who needs a start be­fore he shows his best.

Afleet Willy is worth a shot against the top two. Afleet Willy ran big when sec­ond in the roughly run Har­ri­son John­son Me­mo­rial ear­lier this year at this dis­tance over the track, nar­rowly miss­ing to the ta­lented Matt King Coal, who was in peak form at that time. And Afleet Willy ran his best race since most re­cently, run­ning away with the Gov­er­nor’s Day Hand­i­cap at Delaware Park.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.