Derek Simon's Saturday Selections
Comments: TREASURE BEACH is likely to be favored based on his three outstanding efforts versus Group 1 company in Europe, but I’m less than thrilled with him in this spot (at a low price). To begin with, despite his success overseas, the colt’s trainer Aidan O’Brien is just 2-for-35 with North American starters over the past seven years, including zip-for-12 with betting favorites. What’s more, given the likely slow pace, the cutback in distance — all of Treasure Beach’s recent efforts have been at 12 furlongs — makes me think the son of Galileo will be left with a lot to do late. Hence, I’m going to put my chips on WILLCOX INN, who I think has a lot of talent and appears to relish the Arlington Park lawn. Last time, in the Grade 2 American Derby, Willcox Inn moved readily to take command rounding the far turn and drew off to a four-length score while recording a 100 Brisnet speed figure (today’s par is 102) and a +1 late speed ration (LSR).
Bet(s): WIN on 9 at odds of 7-2 or greater.
Field: 1-Newsdad (20/1 fair odds), 2-Ziyarid (6/1), 3-Treasure Beach (3/1), 4-Crimson China (20/1), 5-Casino Host (12/1), 6-Suntracer (15/1), 7-Banned (7/2), 8-Derby Kitten (15/1), 9-Willcox Inn (7/2) and 10-L’Aiglon (99/1).
Comments: STACELITA is a multiple Group 1 winner in Europe with a record of six wins and two second-place finishes in eight lifetime starts against strictly female competition, which she’ll be facing today. The drop in distance figures to help too — the clear favorite.
Bet(s): WIN on 1 at odds of 7-5 or greater.
Field: 1-Stacelita (7/5 fair odds), 2-Check The Label (12/1), 3-Fantasia (12/1), 4-Upperline (30/1), 5-Dubawi Heights (12/1), 6-River Jetez (8/1), 7-Cheetah (10/1), 8-Pachattack (15/1), 9-Éclair De Lune (20/1), 10-Romin Robin (40/1) and 11-Never Retreat (8/1).
Comments: Given the likely odds, I’m inclined to cast my lot with the can’t-get-no-respect veteran GIO PONTI, who I think will improve off his latest. Despite over $5 million in career earnings, Gio Ponti seems to be the bane of most bettors existence — at least those that I know — yet he always runs hard and, today, should get a very familiar pace scenario. If the son of Tale of the Cat can work out a decent trip, I think he has a big shot to join Lee Majors and become a six million dollar mammal. I also think DEAN’S KITTEN is worth a deuce or two at the right price, while ZACK HALL looks best among a fairly weak foreign contingent.
Bet(s): WIN on 5 at odds of 2-1 or greater.
Field: 1-Rahystrada (10/1 fair odds), 2-Tajaaweed (12/1), 3-Dean’s Kitten (15/1), 4-Zack Hall (10/1), 5-Gio Ponti (2/1), 6-Proceed Bee (40/1), 7-Cape Blanco (5/2), 8-Mission Approved (10/1), 9-Wigmore Hall (10/1) and 10-General Perfect (30/1).