Never too early to pick ’em

first_img Early salivation here over Sweet Symphony. The 3-year-old filly, owned by George Steinbrenner, had a Yankees sort of day when she ran fourth in the Beldame. But the previously unbeaten daughter of A.P. Indy deserves a second shot at elders Ashado, Happy Ticket and Society Selection and a chance to finish October better than the Boss’s ballclub. Sprint You waste time and money trying to beat Lost in the Fog. People say the 10-for-10 sprinter from the San Francisco Bay Area hasn’t beaten anybody. Look at the Sprint’s depleted hopefuls list, even with Roman Ruler’s expected addition, and tell me who is this “anybody” he hasn’t beaten. Juvenile Stevie Wonderboy, one of the lesser properties of Merv Griffin, has been resting since winning the Del Mar Futurity on Sept. 7. And he’s got a stretch-running style that seems to be effective in the Breeders’ Cup’s 2-year-old males race. While Stevie Wonderboy has been lounging with trainer Doug O’Neill, likely Juvenile favorites First Samurai and Henny Hughes were running 1-2 in an extraordinarily hard-paced Champagne Stakes. And it has been 10 years since a New York-prepped horse won the Juvenile. Juvenile Fillies So far, hard to see past Folklore, the 14-length winner of the Matron last month. The daughter of two-time Classic winner Tiznow can put a happy ending on the season for California owners Bob and Beverly Lewis, who lost the $1.9 million colt What a Song to a breakdown at Del Mar. Anybody else intrigued by Mystery Girl, the Del Mar Debutante runner-up? Turf First or second in seven of eight starts. A winner from on and off the pace. Steady improvement as a 3-year-old. English Channel even sounds like one of the Europeans that have dominated the 1-mile grass race. He just happens to be a thoroughly American colt trained by U.S. money leader Todd Pletcher. With Arc de Triomphe winner Hurricane Run sidelined, the Euro contingent is a little less intimidating. Mile Hard to shout about him when you can’t pronounce his name, but the horse is Leroidesanimaux. Eight wins in a row, from Arcadia to Toronto, give trainer Bobby Frankel the horse to frustrate the Euros in the 1-mile grass race. Filly & Mare Turf If the horse most worth watching on Breeders’ Cup Day isn’t Lost in the Fog, in the Sprint, then it’s Ouija Board, in the Mile. The English filly can join the short list of Breeders’ Cup repeat winners after skipping past the best Americans at Lone Star in 2004. She hasn’t raced much this year – but she went to the Breeders’ Cup off a 2-month break last year. Anyway, a few possibilities – and probabilities – to consider while sharpening the handicapping pencil for Oct. 29. Kevin Modesti is a Daily News columnist. His horse racing column appears on Friday. He can be reached at heymodesti@aol.com. OAK TREE LEADERS Through Wednesday JockeysWins Garrett Gomez17 Pat Valenzuela12 Martin Pedroza11 Alex Solis9 Jon Court8 TrainersWins John Sadler7 Jeff Mullins6 Bob Baffert4 Jack Carava4 (Six tied)3 ON THE STAKES SCHEDULE Oak Tree at Santa Anita Saturday $150,000 Oak Tree Derby, 3-year-olds, 1 miles (turf) Sunday $100,000 Ramser Handicap, 3-year-old fillies, 1 mile (turf) Keeneland Saturday $500,000 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup, 3-year-old fillies, 1 miles (turf) A WEEK AT THE RACES Oak Tree’s weekend stakes are led by the Oak Tree Derby, with Will O Wisp going for his fifth win in six starts since joining Vladimir Cerin’s barn. Phone Trick, the one-time Hollywood Park 6-furlong track-record holder and sire of champions Favorite Trick and Phone Chatter, has died at age 23 in New York state. Phone Trick, trained and partly owned by Richard Mandella, was 9 for 10 when an injury before the 1986 Breeders’ Cup forced the colt’s retirement. Jockey Rene Douglas, without an agent after Bob Meldahl switched to Corey Nakatani over the weekend, indicated he will consider leaving California. A longtime Chicago and Florida rider, Douglas led the Hollywood Park standings last fall. Laffit Pincay, the Oak Tree meet’s all-time leading rider with 671 victories, will be honored between races Saturday. It will be the first time Pincay is honored at Santa Anita since he suffered a career-ending injury there in 2003. Fans will receive a documentary DVD, “Laffit, All About Winning,” narrated by Kevin Costner. – Kevin Modesti 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWalnut’s Malik Khouzam voted Southern California Boys Athlete of the Week Rock Hard Ten looks better with each re-examination of the prospects for the $4 million main event of Breeders’ Cup Day. The Santa Anita Handicap winner had a perfect prep in the Goodwood Handicap, which was to be expected since he’s trained by Breeders’ Cup master Richard Mandella. Afleet Alex is out of the way, his handlers declaring this week that the Preakness and Belmont stakes winner will miss the Classic because his early-summer ankle injury hasn’t healed all the way. His presence might have reduced the nation’s richest horse race to a coin flip – heads he’s fit to win, tails he’s not. Saint Liam? Borrego? Flower Alley? They’ve got to overcome the shockingly bad history of New York-prepped horses in the Classic – in all of the Breeders’ Cup’s main-track races for older horses, actually. New York products have won seven Classics, but they’ve also been beaten favorites 14 times. And the trend has held up even when the race is held at a New York track. Distaff The Breeders’ Cup races, at Belmont Park this time, are 15 days away. The fields won’t be set for another week and a half. The whole convoluted entry process won’t begin until Wednesday. What, so a guy can’t have a few opinions already? center_img For your consideration as you start handicapping: Classic last_img

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