|Rolling the Dice on Saturday contest|
- Saratoga 5 (3:08 p.m.): #9 Dream Man (6-1) - Second-time starter who handled the a mile on the turf in first try but who has not raced since then (October 2010), but the field features others w/baggage
- Monmouth 6 (3:20 p.m.): #2 Bear Tracks (8-1) - Will kick myself picking a first-time starter versus a 10-horse field where half have at least won once before, but note that trainer Kevin Sleeter and jockey Angel Serpa are 2-for-11 on the meeting; $100k J-bred also suggests wide open affair
- Saratoga 7 (4:12 p.m.): #3 But You Promised (12-1) - McGaughey 3-for-8 with debut turf runners and the dam, Western Humor, has a turf winner
- Monmouth 8 (4:52 p.m.): #9 Dangerous Trick (6-1) - Could prove a dangerous selection in a 5-and-a-half furlong dirt sprint, but the dam has three winners from three starters, so embrace the danger
- Arlington 8 (4:52 p.m.): #6 Suntracer (15-1) - The first of four Saturday races in the Public Handicapper contest is the Grade 1 Secretariat at 9 furlongs on turf. I cannot justify a 2-to-1 favorite (Treasure Beach) first try in the U.S. and am playing a hunch that Suntracer can sit behind a dawdling pace and perhaps outgun Willcox Inn to the finish. The horse also has three tries (two seconds) on the Arlington Park turf course and is second-best to Willcox in this field, in my opinion.
- Del Mar 1 (5 p.m.): #7 Fog Alert (5-2) - Kind of a lackluster race to include in a contest back-loaded with great stakes events, but needed to make a pick; think this makes sense in this $20k claimer
- Monmouth 10 (5:24 p.m.): #1 Strike the Moon (4-1) - The second of the PH.com events, the Grade 3 Monmouth Oaks looks wide open, but to me the Delaware Oaks effort by Moon was impressive vs. a nice horse in St. John's River, and the rail draw will prove a plus. I am expecting Moon to sit back a bit at the start (maybe 2-3 lengths) in a field with some serious early speed and make a run after the half-mile pole before taking this one home. #10 Dance Quietly (12-1) scares me a bit, but the outside draw was a turnoff for me.
- Arlington 9 (5:33 p.m.): #11 Never Retreat (10-1) - VERY bullish on the Bridgmohan-Block jockey-trainer combo and expect a nice stalking trip at a decent price in the Grade 1 Beverly D Stakes. I set #4 Upperline (20-1) and #5 Dubawi Heights (10-1) as backup selections on PH.com.
- Arlington 10 (6:15 p.m.): #2 Tajaaweed (12-1) - Hard to ignore Gio Ponti (2-1) and Cape Blanco (9-5) in the Grade 1 Arlington Million, but not going to win a contest picking $4 horses. Leaning toward James Graham and his course experience here and might have gone elsewhere had Mission Approved and Dean's Kitten not been part of the field. Banking on a pace meltdown and that Tajaaweed might catch lightning in a bottle and close this impressively deep field.
- Del Mar 5 (7 p.m.): #7 Dr. Green (20-1) - In my view, low-percentage jockey Kayla Stra is the only reason the morning line is so big here. Perhaps I'll be proved wrong, as I am at least 96% of the time in handicapping, but trainer James Cassidy is 23% first time off the claim, and this combo is winning at a respectable 10% on the turf in 52 starts. Dr. Green did not run a lick in the last three tries but, in my view, faced much tougher than many others in this field of 9 at a mile on turf. #1 Moment of Weakness and #9 Fifth Dimension will deservedly take a lot of money, but neither has yet to win on turf in a collective 12 tries. Maybe this is the 4% of the time where NJ Horseplayer is right.
I'm hoping to return home from tonight's and tomorrow's family festivities to a DVR replete with a half-dozen winners and some place horses; wish me luck!