It's a rite of spring in Toronto - The Burlington Stakes (now called the Somebeachsomewhere Stakes). It's the weekend where the $1.5M North America Cup eligibles gather to prep for the big one. Years ago this was a huge night, because many times us locals (in the absence of simulcast) could finally set sight on the US invaders, in the flesh. Now we know a great many of these horses, but it still has energy.
The full card is now published on Track it.
In division one, lies Big Jim. He will be the heavy chalk. If he steps through like he should, he is a likely favorite for the Cup. Some might try their luck here on another - maybe Prodigal, or the talented Powerful Mist - because Big Jim has not quite lit up the teletimer this season. I can't blame them for trying, because he will be such a short price.
The second division can be described as non-descript. Last years early season star Lookinforadventure, has not even come close to his ability in a long while and there are several horses coming off bad lines. Blair Burgess's colt, On the Radar, has a little bit of go it seems. Jackie Mo's charge, if you like to bet "shake the rust off" lines right back, might provide some hefty value. I think this is a division that people can and will go very deep on.
The last division is the most interesting, from a spectating and betting perspective.
The likely heavy chalk and now horse - Better than Cheddar was tight as as a drum Monday, winning in 49.2. A few issues with that, however: The track was super-fast (the fastest I have ever seen that oval since I've been following it); 3YO trotters went 54 with a back half of 54; a maiden went 51 with a 53.4 back half (I think that might be the fastest maiden win ever at Mohawk). As well, the horse was totally all out, broke stride in the gallop out, and he's coming back in only 5 days. For value players this is will be a huge red light bet.
Shadyshark Hanover was most likely not at his best last week. That was a slow mile, and he had no fire; when compared to the previous week where he was sparkling. If he bounces back and pays $9, there will be a lot of folks kicking themselves. I will probably move in this direction if the price is right.
Roll With Joe is one of my favorite colts from last season. He has some go, a wonderful trainer, and he is a nice spot here, so he is a likely shot for a swing horse if the chalk falters out of the top three or four.
Watermelonwine and Foreclosure have talent, as well, and add to a super-interesting last division.
The three SBSW's are races 3, 7 and 9 on Saturday.
See You at Peelers takes on the boys in the Rooney this weekend.
Crys Dream, the best filly not named See You At Peelers on the earth, goes Friday in the Casual Breeze.
Sunday is the 30th Des Smith Classic at Rideau. Draw is tomorrow.
For a feature, written by blog friend Keith on Phil Hudon and Big Jim, have a look-see here.