By Byron King
Across much of the country on Saturday, the stakes emphasis is on turf racing, with Laurel Park and Kentucky Downs each having multiple stakes on grass. So, that’s where I will focus on Saturday.
I like three turf stakes in particular, all at different tracks: the Violet at Monmouth, the George Rosenberger Memorial at Delaware Park, and the One Dreamer from Kentucky Downs.
The first of those, the Violet (post time 5:04 p.m. Eastern) is headed by the speedy Isabella Sings, who is highly effective on Monmouth’s turf, having won three of four starts there, with the one loss coming by a nose.
She is rock solid, as is Tammy the Torpedo, who just finished second in the Grade 3 Matchmaker at this 1 1/8-mile distance on grass, but I hold a value-based preference for Sweet Acclaim.
In excellent form for trainer Brad Cox, she doesn’t seem likely to take as much support as Isabella Sings and Tammy the Torpedo but has roughly the same chance of winning as those runners.
Although out of action for two months, she runs well fresh, going 2 for 2 for her current barn following layoffs.
Overall, Sweet Acclaim is 3 for 4 for Cox, with her only defeat being a head loss to Cash Control, a mare with an 8-for-17 record, at Churchill Downs in the Grade 3 Mint Julep on June 11.
George Rosenberger Memorial
This stakes for fillies and mares at Delaware Park offers a large field of 13, though with four horses cross-entered in other races Saturday, the race could lose some entries.
I’m hopeful that Catcha Rising Star will stay in this race after being cross-entered in the Lady Baltimore at Laurel, a much more demanding race. I expect she will take heavy betting action if she goes in the Rosenberger, despite her 8-1 morning line, and that could create value on the horse I prefer: Old Harbor.
Old Harbor is consistent, winning 5 of 18 races on turf, but could slip through the wagering cracks, having raced mostly in New York-bred races and starting for a low-profile stable.
Old Harbor’s versatile running style should work to her advantage. She can win pushing or stalking the pace, and she may need to use those stalking tactics to be effective in this spot. The race has at least four others who prefer to race on or very close to the pace, including Catcha Rising Star, who could be compromised if the pace is quick.
Old Harbor should be able to tuck in behind the leaders and get first run on the closers in the race.
Adding to her appeal is that she is a winner over the Delaware course, having edged fellow Rosenberger entrant Inside Out by a neck in an allowance Aug. 6 over a firm course, conditions that seem likely for Saturday with hot, dry weather in the forecast.
This race at Kentucky Downs, much like the Violet, has three fillies who appear to be a cut above the rest – Annulment, No Fault of Mine, and Entrechat.
Viewing them as having relatively equal chances of victory, my choice is the one with the highest morning-line odds, 7-2 shot Entrechat.
Coming off a sixth-place finish in the Osunitas Stakes at Del Mar, where she was overly eager early while matched against classy rivals, Entrechat likely will start a tick or two higher on the odds board than she should.
There is reason to believe a better race is forthcoming. On Saturday, she is reunited with jockey Flavien Prat, who has been aboard for all three of her victories.
Entrechat has relaxed for him and accelerated when called upon for her best. Two starts ago, when she raced in a second-level allowance at Del Mar on July 17 under Prat, Entrechat settled kindly in second before quickening away when asked in the stretch to win by 4 3/4 lengths, earning a 96 Beyer Speed Figure.
If she can run back to that figure, Entrechat will be tough to beat in the One Dreamer. Annulment and No Fault of Mine occasionally run Beyers in the 90s but more typically run figures in the 80s.
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