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Going Long on Grass

Posted by Brian Mulligan on 12/16/2010 2:20:41 PM

Horse racing bettors get their monies worth in turf marathons and a good renewal of the W. L. McKnight will be showcased Saturday at Calder as 10 pit skills going long on the grass.

The distance is a mile and a half for this Grade 2 contest so lets look at some contenders and some pretenders.

Chrissie Hynde of the Pretenders would be proud of Memorial Maniac, who was 102-1 in this fray last year. He can run all day, and did win a Grade 3 this year in Chicago but he’s been on vacation and it will be hard for him to go this long with no prep.

Those that also try to turn Black Scorpion into green could be barking up the wrong tree as he beat a much softer group recently.

Free Fighter will have his work cut out from the marooned slot and he has not won since cashing at 12-1 on a yielding course in May.

One more possible pretender is Presious Passion, who has won this race twice, but failed at 4-5 in this race last year and has not been in the same zip code of a winner recently.

Musketier is an interesting prospect. He ran second in a Grade 1 this year to Gio Ponti and upset a Grade 2 field at this distance at Keeneland.

Simmard rates a glance at a price. He hated the soft Aqueduct course last time but has a nice stalk and pounce style.

The main reason you can’t dismiss Rescue Squad is he just ran the race of his life when blinkers were added finishing in front of one of today’s rivals, Bold Hawk.

That leaves us with two major hitters, the rail Telling and the bad boy of the Breeders’ Cup Marathon Prince Will I Am.

Both of these guys have similar styles and will need to run over, around or through horses to get there, but they’ll have time to do just that.

Black Eyed Peas fanatics will be all over Prince Will I Am and he should give a good account of himself. He’s only been on grass thrice and won 2 of those frays.

His connections gave him a shot early in the year on the Triple Crown trail but he has really matured with the surface switch.

The sophomore’s coming out party was winning the Grade 1 Jamaica in New York when he came from dead last suggesting he’ll love this added distance

.

In the Marathon, he bulled his way through under Javier Castellano, who also had his head caved in by an irate Calvin Borel after the race.

Prince has a royal shot but the call goes to the proven class, the multiple Grade 1 winner and true distance specialist Telling.

He comes out of the best race, the BC Turf and on his best day can show a bit of positional speed.

The veteran has two races under his belt now, drilled solidly the end of November at Churchill and gets Eibar Coa, who knows this turf course like the back of his hand.

The visualization is that Passion sets the pace; he’s nudged along by a couple of others but feels the pressure at the top of the lane when Coa unleashes the winning punch.

Good racing and good luck.

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