Joe Hirsch Turf Classic, Saturday September 26th

Well, we definitely had a couple upsets last week at Laurel Park and Kentucky Downs. More power to you if you had either of those picks right. This week there are a whole bunch of win and you are in Breeders Cup races, and a lot of Grade 1 races as well.  I’ve selected 3 races from Belmont Park, and 3 from Santa Anita for the challenge this weekend.  Only a few weeks left in the 2015 Summer Spectacular, and the standings are still close.  Here’s Cornelio’s thoughts on this weekend’s races.

Race 1: Pilgrim Stakes

  1. Eidmilaad – I like the Chad Brown / Irad Ortiz combo here, coming off a win at distance, rested a little more than challengers since last race
  2. Azar – I like the Pletcher / Velazquez combination, I like that he has 3 starts already, including a graded win at distance
  3. Forever in Love – monster speed last race, also won at distance, a little less experience than the others
  4. Just Missed – Isotherm, coming off a win at distance as well

Race 2: The Vosburgh Stakes

  1. Rock Fall – again, Pletcher / Velazquez combo is tough to beat, coming off 6 straight wins, fast, 3 for 3 at Belmont 6 wins in 7 starts at distance
  2. Salutos Amigos – I like his speed figs at distance, should do a little better with Private Zone out of the way, graded stakes experience
  3. Palace – Bullet workout, hope he likes the return to a shorter distance, hope Ortiz and Linda Rice have him figured out
  4. Just Missed – Wildcat Red

Race 3: Joe Hirsch Turf Classic

  1. Red Rifle – Castellano on top for last win, 2 races ago, A second and 2 wins in last 3, Pletcher trained, should do well at this distance
  2. Big Blue Kitten – I like what Joe Bravo does on this horse, just not sure what he needs to do to get that W instead of 2nd, hope he and Chad Brown have it figured out
  3. Twilight Eclipse – Great speed figs, plenty of stakes experience, just can’t seem to get the win, should be there at the finish, let’s see if Rosario can make a difference
  4. Just Missed – Slumber, was the horse to beat 2,3 races ago, we will see if he can bounce back

Race 4: Zenyatta Stakes

  1. Beholder – the one to beat, coming off 5 straight wins, and that 4th the only blemish in the last 2 years, Gary Stevens on top, maybe impossible to beat
  2. My Sweet Addiction – maybe Mike Smith can get this horse back to form from the beginning of the year where she had 2 wins, including Grade 1 Vanity
  3. warren’s Veneda – has the experience, raced this distance a lot, just don’t see him as more than 3rd place finisher
  4. Just Missed – Big Book, 3 wins and a second in 4 starts, hasn’t gone the distance, lightest in the field, could get bounced around, could compete?

Race 5: Rodeo Drive Stakes

  1. Hard Not to Like – Great horse, coming off 2 wins, fast, 1 for 1 at Santa Anita, 5-0-1 in last 6, Espinoza should do alright
  2. Lady Pimpernel – 5 3-0-2 at distance, finished on the board in last 6, good speed, fast workout
  3. Elektrum – coming off a win, 1 for 1 at distance, raced 4 times at Santa Anita, has track experience
  4. Just Missed – Sharla Rae

Race 6: Awesome Again Stakes

  1. Hoppertunity – tough race to handicap, hope Mike Smith gets rolling with this one, 4 1-1-2 at distance 7 2-3-1 at the track, maybe this is his race?
  2. Hard Aces – has gone the distance, experience on this track, Espinoza on top, OK speed, OK workouts
  3. Imperative – has gone the distance, knows the track, working out well, boy this is a tough race

Well, the Awesome Again Stakes is a tough one, will be interesting to see what the odds are on that one.  Good luck everyone, I feel good about this picks, but Race 6 I couldn’t get a good feel on, maybe I will revisit later.  Enjoy the weekend.

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