Lets look at the field for the Grade II Pat O'Brien Stakes at seven furlongs this Saturday at Delmar.
1. Catalina Cruiser
The undefeated speedball who passed on the Pacific Classic for this spot. There is no Accelerate in here, but there are a host of killer sprinters who won't make this dash much easier. I guess the plan will be to wire them, but Horse Greedy, St. Joe Bay, and Battle of Midway will not surrender the lead without a fight and there are a couple of serious mid-pack runners who will be looking to take advantage of a duel on the front end.
I'm thinking he may be the favorite, but I don't like him at all. One thing for sure is that this assignment is going to be considerably more difficult than wiring a field of five in moderate fractions like he did in the San Diego. I am prepared to eat crow, but he will not be on my tickets.
I have to admit I love the name. I was a weatherman in my service days many moons ago and can still remember studying vorticity charts of upper air wind flow. Unfortunately, the name is all I like. He seems seriously overmatched in here. I'll pass.
I can't see taking a horse who was formerly trained by Chad Brown (any change is a step down) and coming off a five month plus layoff to boot. Added to that, he is facing an outstanding field of sprinters who are Grade 1 battle tested while he is not. He would have to make an enormous jump forward. I see him as a pace factor, but that is all. I'll pass.
4. Roy H
Lets face it, this is one of the best sprinters currently in training. If you're going to beat him, you have to do it the old fashion way. You have to earn it! In three spins around Delmar he's won almost a million dollars. Look out!
He ran a nice second in the Bing Crosby where he was a little to close to a very hot pace. He figures to get the perfect setup in here and he is my pick to win.
5. Ransom the Moon
I picked him in the Bing Crosby and was happy to see him go barreling by everyone at nearly 5:1. He will get a similar setup in here, but I think the horse to his inside may be able to reverse the result this time. In any event I'll be using him in combinations with my pick. He always makes his run from the back and for some reason seldom takes a lot of money. He'll definitely be on my tickets.
6. Horse Greedy
He will probably be a brief pace factor, but there is no way he can wire this group. I expect him to be far back at the end of this one. No thanks.
7. St. Joe Bay
He will be out there winging with the horse on the rail from the git-go. I'm not really sure who will get the lead, but if this one clears he could take a lot of catching. He gets an additional furlong from the Bing Crosby where he had the lead at the head of the lane. I think he has to be used on the chance that he may outbreak Catalina Cruiser because he'll have much better odds than that one.
8. Battle of Midway
The wild card! He hasn't been seen since his score in last year's Breeders' Cup Mile and this is not exactly a soft spot for his return. He's a very classy racehorse and he's working like a machine, but I don't especially like his chances in a race that may be too short for him and is filled with in form sprinters. I'm going to let him beat me, but he just might.
There you have it. It's a challenging test for the best sprinters on the West Coast and by no means an easy puzzle.
I'm reversing my picks from the Bing Crosby and going with Roy H this time. I'll use him in combinations with Ransom the Moon, St. Joe Bay, and maybe even Battle of Midway.
Good luck to all who are playing!