Delaware Handicap (Grade 1)
Racing Dudes Pick: #6 Awesome Maria
Racing Dudes Value Play: #2 Tiz Miz Sue
Analysis: For the second straight year the Delaware Handicap looks like it’s going to give horse racing fans quite a thrill. Last year this race provided us the epic stretch battle between Havre De Grace and Blind Luck, and this year might be more of the same. The two top rated fillies, Royal Delta and Awesome Maria, will line up against each other. Awesome Maria does hold an eight length victory over Royal Delta, but this is a much different situation this time around. A case could be made for either horse, and this should truly be a classic. If for some reason the top two falter, Tiz Miz Sue could make an impact. Her races have been solid all year, and she’s capable of competing with this bunch on her very best day. Love and Pride won the local prep for this race, but is definitely viewed as a “second stringer” when compared to Awesome Maria. Cash for Clunkers, Daring Reality, and Pachattack round out the field.
Eddie Reed Stakes (Grade 1)
Racing Dudes Pick:#3 Acclamation
Racing Dudes Value Play:#5 Slim Shadey
Analysis: The Eddie Reed has drawn a short field, mainly because of the presence of the big horse, Acclamation. Acclamation has won six in a row, with four of his victories coming in Grade 1’s. If he runs his best, the other four in the race can forget it. If the heavy favorite falters, it’s becomes wide open. The remaining field of Hog’s Hollow, Interaction, Casino Host, and Slim Shadey all look to be fairly balanced. Each have had their good moments, but each have also had times they haven’t looked so good. Singling Acclamation over the field is probably the best bet here.
TVG Coaching Club American Oaks (Grade 1)
Racing Dudes Pick:#6 In Lingerie
Racing Dudes Value Play:#2 Disposablepleasure
Analysis: Can anybody figure out the three-year old filly division right now? The number one spot is wide open, and a small but strong field of six will try to maek there case in this one. If Zo Impressive or In Lingerie can get a victory, they could make a strong case for being the best in the division. Zo Impressive was solid in winning the Mother Goose, but can she run that kind of race two times in a row? In Lingerie hasn’t run since the Black Eyed Susan, but that win was impressive considering the trouble she had at the start. Disposablepleasure has been beaten by the both of the top two, but she’s been competitive. With a little improvement, and considering the way this division has been, it might be her turn to jump into the winners circle. Questing comes into the race as somewhat of a wild card as she is coming off a nice allowance win at Belmont. She’s likely to be ignored somewhat on the tote board so the price might be right to take a shot with her. Yara and Funny Propostition round out the field.
Virginia Derby (Grade 2)
Racing Dudes Pick: #5 Summer Front
Racing Dudes Value Play: #1 Optimizer
Analysis: Even though we are going to have a heavy favorite in this race, I consider it to be wide open. Silver Max is certainly a deserving favorite, but at the price he’ll likely be I would pass on him if you are betting a win ticket. He’s got a great chance to win, and should be used in all exotics, but I believe Summer Front has a shot to beat him at what will most likely be double the price. Summer Front was impressive in winning a Grade 3 last time out at Belmont, and the race sets up well for him today. Optimizer is another horse I wouldn’t leave off an exotic ticket. He finally returns to the turf in this one, and should run much better. Lucky Chappy is another horse with double-digit odds that might have a shot in this one. He’s coming off a little layoff, but he’s talented enough to get the job done. Finnegans Wake and Easy Crossing are two more horses that look to have a shot in this race. Two Months Rent, Coach Royal, and Mr. Handsome round out the field. This is a race where some might be inclined to single Silver Max, but I think just the opposite. This one looks to be a deep race to me.