Following last week’s excitement and the shock defeat of Nyquist in the Preakness, this Saturday’s action looks a little mundane with very little graded stakes action for us to sink our teeth into.
We will start at Arlington, which holds two grade 3 races in what is otherwise a low rent card. Race 6 on the card is the Arlington Matron Stakes for three year old + fillies and mares over 1 1/8 miles of the all-weather track.
Brooklynsway (3/1 Morning Line) will be a popular order here as she is very effective on this Polytrack surface and comes here following an excellent win in the Doubledogdare Stakes on Keeneland’s Polytrack. However, she ran badly last time out in the La Troienne at Churchill Downs last time out, has to give 7 pounds to all her rivals and has never won over this trip.
Bill Mott’s Flipcup might represent a bit of value in the race. She has grade 3 winning form (The Maple leaf at Woodbine), runs well after a break and has a 67% strike rate on Polytrack.
The other grade 3 race on the card is the Arlington Classic for three year olds over a mile and a sixteenth of the turf course. Surgical Strike is the 5/2 Morning Line favorite on the back of a close third in the American Turf on the Kentucky Derby undercard. He has been dropping himself right out of the race and rallying from way back in recent races and connections are, therefore, experimenting with blinkers.
On his best form and behaviour, Surgical Strike can win this race but he looks opposable at the price. Cocked and Loaded might represent a bit of value. He has some very useful two year old form and you can ignore his last run when he swallowed his tongue. He is also apparently working very well on turf. Tequila Joe is also interesting having won a small race on the Keeneland Polytrack with great ease and may have seriously improved over the winter.
Woodbine stages the only Grade 2 race of the day in the Eclipse Stakes for older horses over a mile and a sixteenth. Just six horses face the starter for this valuable event, for which last year’s winner, Are You Kidding Me, is the ML favorite at 2/1. He is equally effective on grass and synthetic surfaces and should come on for his run in a grade 1 at Keeneland. He is doing some superb workouts in training and Alan Garcia, who rode him in all his 2015 wins, takes over again in the saddle.
Melmich rates the danger and has been working very well and has filled out in the winter to be a stronger horse. His issue is that he may just need the race.
For our last graded race we head to Churchill Downs and the Winning Colors Stakes for 3 year old and up fillies and mares over 6 furlongs. Seven fillies and mares face the starter and one of the most intriguing runners is Spelling Again, who has faced some very tough challenges of late in the form of horses of the calibre of Cavorting, Taris and Sheer Drama. She faces nothing of that calibre today. She has plenty of speed but will she find things going a bit too quick now she is dropped from a mile to 6 furlongs?
Diva Express looks a bit of value in the race at the ML price of 9/2. She ran well last time out to earn a Beyer of 92, did a great workout on the 20th May and is two from two on the track.