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Affirmation

Posted by Brian Mulligan on 6/16/2010 11:41:17 AM

I was fortunate enough to watch the last Triple Crown hero Affirmed shine in morning works early in his sophomore year and the race with his name attached will be renewed this weekend at Hollywood at a mile and a sixteenth on the Cushion Track.

Formerly named the Silver Screen, the Affirmed, a stepping-stone to the Swaps Stakes, has been won by some stars like General Challenge, double BC Classic winner Tiznow, the brilliant filly Melair and Point Determined.

Two years ago Two Step Salsa was coming off a wire-to-wire score in the G3 Laz Barrera and it was a déjà vu win in the same flag fall to that’s all mode when posting the 99 Beyer.

Last year Grazen turned the hat trick in this fixture when leading at every call through splits of :46 4/5 and 1:10 2/5 to post the winning 103 Beyer.

Speed figures to be prominent this year and the key to the race just may be to stay away from some of the runners that were taxed during the Triple Crown run.

Looking at the nominees, Alphie’s Bet comes to the plate first.

The runner overcame a slow start in the Snow Chief here in April but will be dependent on a hot pace and clear sailing.

Camp Victory, nominated but unlikely, will be trying to prove he fits in stakes company, as his only other stakes try was a dull fifth.

Concord Point is out to makes amends for his flop as chalk in the Grade 3 Barrera and the Bob Baffert force looms the one to collar. He draws some class from his bottom side, as his winning dam is kin to Grade 3 winner and near $400K earner Tasha’s Miracle.

Distorted Dave is one of three John Sadler trainees possible for this race and he could have archrival Thomas Baines to deal with among others. With limited speed, Dave will need plenty of help up front.

The other Sadlers were on that Triple Crown trail and we don’t quite know how much they were drained by the experience. Line of David has brilliant speed but he really had little chance in the Kentucky Derby the way the race set up and Ranger Heartley has not been seen since popping and stopping in the Lane’s End, but has drilled fast for this.

Both would be prominent but Line of David is doubtful for the race.

Dixie Trooper just has not been able to transfer his decent Woodbine form while Gallant Gent has a stakes win on his slate but it came at the inferior Fairplex meeting going short.

Golden Itiz is an interesting runner. He has the right to have a super career as kin to double Graded winner and over $200,000 earner Sapphire n’ Silk and he comes off a freak job in his route debut for patient trainer Ron Ellis.

For those that believe in Just Magic, they will get paid as the runner has lost twice since winning at first asking.

Lions Story has been around the wire in every race but has lacked the killer instinct and if Mindblower wins, he will be turning the tables on Golden Itiz, who just crushed him.

Skipshot needs a turn around after running poorly in the Barrera and Summer Movie will have to do something he has not done yet and that’s win on the synthetic.

Working Capital is an improving runner that moved up in leaps and bounds since he joined the Doug O’Neill barn while Ukandoit just might do it if his connections decide on this spot.

Trained by very capable Bill Spawr, Ukandoit’s dam and sire both were proven routers, dam dropped route winner Blind Bet and this soph has trained very fast of late, a real tip off for this stable that seldom lets their runners sizzle in the morning.                

How does it unfold?

Concord Point, Ranger Heartley and Summer Movie will be looking for blockbusters on the front end with Skipshot and Golden Itiz tracking in the second flight.

The deep closers will include Distorted Dave and the classy Alphie’s Bet but as the race gets down to the nitty gritty, Golden Itiz will get first run on his long-fused rivals, make the lead at the top of the lane, and have enough to hold off all comers.

Good luck.

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