The second last weekend of live racing will highlight four of the final five stakes races of the year. These four races will determine divisional honors and will stamp some of our equine athletes as horses for the ages. These $50,000 races are the Matron, the Gold Cup, the Winnipeg Futurity and the J. W. Sifton. Three of the races have horses that will be prohibitive favorites: Balooga Bull in the Gold Cup, Miss Victoriana in the Matron and Danger Rules in the Sifton. I think all three of them are live, but they are far from the only horses that have a chance to win these races.
J. W. Sifton
Friday`s fourth race is the $50,000 J. W. Sifton Stakes at 1 1/8-miles. This is a distance that none of these horses have ever run, and most of them will never run again. Danger Rules should be the speed and the big favorite. He won an allowance race last out going 7 ½-furlongs. He won the Frank Arnason Sire Stakes and finished second in the Gold Strike Mile in his only attempt at a true route distance. If he stays the distance he is the class of the race. Kola Kat is the main challenger. He won the Gold Strike Mile before being in over his head versus older horses in the Agassiz. If he finds his Agassiz form look for him to be running down the lane. I really think this is a wide open race. Gunton Road looks like he should love the distance, while Dixieland Gold and Calitor both have been facing much tougher open company. Throw in Jon`s Golden Run and Charlie Waffles and this race gets really cloudy. My choice if I have to make one is Kola Kat with Danger Rules and Calitor.
Miss Victoriana has won the last two renditions of this race and she is the favorite to do it again. There is not an abundance of speed in the race so maybe someone like Ruby`s Big Band or Finally Flying could make the early lead and run away and hide, though I doubt it. I think Witch`s Coven and City Splash are vulnerable at shorter prices. They benefited greatly from an incredibly hot early pace in their previous races. My bomber in this race is Purple Barbie, who won an allowance race handily last time out. She will love the distance. I`m throwing in She`s Copacetic with Miss Victoriana to go along with Purple Barbie and that is my exactor box.
The Winnipeg Futurity is the most wide open race of the entire weekend. There are eight legitimate contenders in my eyes. Jon Q won the Graduation and rallied well in the Osiris before tiring. Tigger Town is a Hastings invader who goes for top trainer Greg Tracy. Two Barrel Tootie won the Debutante, but Nolan chose to ride her stablemate, which is reason for concern. Cmonbabylitemyfire ran second in the Osiris against the colts. She worked like a champion in preparation for this race and Paul Nolan chose to ride her. Poet won a Maiden Special Weight last time in a rallying effort. Portales finished second in the Graduation and the Debutante, both times coming a little bit too late. Bar on the Beach was a great Maiden Special Weight winner before losing all chance at the break in the Debutante. Da Hoot won the Osiris Plate coming from off the pace and has the top Beyer Speed Figure. My pick in this race though is Cmonbabylitemyfire along with Jon Q and Portales.
This is the coronation for Balooga Bull. The closing race for older horses should be merely a workout for the Manitoba Derby winner. He will be loose on the lead and if he runs anything close to his prior form he wins at a very short price. The other contenders in my eyes are Wheat City Stakes winner Lake Sawyer; Gotatigerbythetail and Cherokee's Goal, who ran 1-2 in the allowance prep for this; and Dandy`s Legacy, who has run second in back-to-back stakes. He could very easily be a bridesmaid again in this race, but this is Balooga Bull's race to lose.
Rob’s Best Bets and Weekend Longshots
Record-to-Date 19-7-8 from 52 starts
Wagered: $745.00 Returned: $750.50 Profit: $5.50
Friday Best Bet: Race 1 – Dance the Dance
Friday Longshot: Race 7 – Purple Barbie
Saturday Best Bet: Race 8 – Balooga Bull
Saturday Longshot: Race 6 – Del Mar Drama
Next Post Time for Live Racing: 7 p.m. Friday, September 14, 2012