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Dec 14, 2007

Through The Binoculars

By: JOHN PIESEN


It seems only appropriate that, in the fallout from the Mitchell Report, the highlight of the thoroughbred racing weekend is the Grand Slam late Saturday afternoon at Calder Race Course.

To be precise, the event is the Grand Slam II, and - needing no painkillers -- I expect to repeat the handicapping success  that I enjoyed two weekends back in Grand Slam I.

(For my top four picks in each of the four races, give me a ring on my world-famous John Piesen Hot Line (1 888 612 2283) or click here.

The Calder Grand Slam II All-Stakes Pick Four is carded as race eight thru 11 on the 12-race program. All four races offer max fields with no clear-cut favorites...in other words, a tropical paradise for players.

Let's take a look...

RACE EIGHT ($200,000 La Prevoyante Handicap)

There is not a Grade 1 winner in the field, and only one - Sans Souci Island (#11) -- exits a Grade 1 race.

Look for Oh Deanne O (#1), one of only three 3-year-olds in the 12-horse field, to take 'em as far as she can in the 12-furlong grass test for fillies and mares.
She gets in at 111 pounds, but  jockey Castellano will have to starve himself to make the weight.

My Rachel (#2) is the first of three Grand Slam mounts for jockey Prado, who historically is lights-out in these Saturday super-dupers. This filly figures to make the lead at some point during the race.

Green Girl (#3) never got off the rail in the Long Island; gets a positive switch to Desormeaux.

Jive (#4) picks a tough spot for stakes debut.

Can Dalvina (#5) repeat her Long Island triumph? She'll be favored to do so.

Redaspen (#6) was a strong third over the course off the layoff; goes from Dooley to Castro. Never runs a bad one; can't leave out.

Eres Magica (#7) and Herboriste (#8) comprise a dangerous uncoupled entry from trainer Matz. Herboriste sheds eight pounds from a Keeneland score at this distance.

The connections of Suaveness (#9) are hoping for a hurricane.

I'm In Love (#10) has been one-two in half her 20 starts, and is in peak form for top trainer McLaughlin. Note her two-back second to repeater Criminologist.

Jockey Wilson is looking for her first U.S. stakes score on Sans Souci Island (#11), who clearly outran her odds in the Taylor.

Indiansong (#12) is your basic rank outsider.


RACE NINE ($100,000 Kenny Noe Handicap)

They will have to beat the three-horse entry from trainer Zladie: Paradise Dancer (#1), Fortunate Trail (#1A) and D'artagnans'spirit (#1X) in this seven-furlong dash for 3-year-olds and up.

Jockey Chavez will bust Finance Minister (#2) from the one-hole.

Yes He's the Man (#3) won Monmouth's Select by five at 1-5, but has since been smoked since by several of these.

No More Masters (#4) needs softer.

Seven furlongs is the right distance for Santana Strings (#7).

Olympic (#6) was beaten a pole two-back by Yes He's the Man.

What is Guapeton (#7) doing in this race?

Finallymadeit (#8), one of only two 3-year-olds in the race, is 8-for-14 over the track. Has speed to burn.

Storm in May (#9), the other 3-year-old, was second to a nice colt named Curlin in the Arkansas Derby...but that was (and remains) only a Grade 2.

Rexson's Rose (#10) has a puncher's chance with outside trip.



RACE 10 ($100,000 Fred Hooper Handicap)

Joe Cornacchia, the co-owner of Golden Strategy (#1), is a two-time Kentucky Derby winner (Strike the Gold, Go For Gin).

Kudos to Tino Hernandez, the rider of Pop Goes the Tiger (#2). He cheated death in a spill 20 years back at this track, and just now is starting a comeback.

Indy Wind (#3) does his best work in Jersey.

Mocoreta (#4) does his best work in Uruguay.

Wayzata (#5) is a Chicago shipper with a shot at a price.

Rehoboth (#6) is winless in 11 starts this year, but he's first-time Prado, and gets a piece with closing trip. Was second in this nine-furlong stake last year.

Big Lover (#7) likes to run second.

Whos Crying Now (#8) loves this racetrack, but has seen better days.

Imawildandcrazyguy (#9) chased tougher in the Belmont and Haskell. In light with older, will be closing fastest and widest.

Trainer Brothers takes the shades off Summer Book (#10). Third three times in four track starts.

Electrify (#11) beat several of these taking last as the chalk. Elvis is still in the house, but has long way to come from here.

Actin Good (#12) comes off solid score in Jersey, and Cornelio rides him back. Obviously, the post is a bummer.


RACE 11 ($200,000 McKnight Handicap) 

Soldier's Dancer (#1) legit chalk from the one-hole in mile and a half turfer. Loves This green, and goes best with Cornelio.

Royal Challenger (#2) is a big-time Canadian shipper. Has not raced this light in ages, and first-time Castellano.

Crown Point (#3) was bred by the owner of Runaway Groom, who beat Aloma's Ruler, Gato del Sol and Conquistador Cielo in the '82 Travers.

Dreadnaught (#5) hasn't won a race in two years, but he is first-time Prado.

Will the 9-year-old Revved Up (#6) emulate Evening Attire? He is the only millionaire in the Grand Slam, and is fresh off a career score. But note that jockey Coa passes.

We missed the wedding with the New York-bred Dave (#7).

Will Presious Passion (#8) be the first to accomplish a Cliff Hanger-McKnight double?

Interpatation (#9) can land a piece at a price.

Bee Charmer (#10) was beaten 14 lengths by Dave last out in the Red Smith.

Stream of Gold (#11) has not won a race in two years, has never won a race on U.S. soil, and must come from South Beach. That all said, he has a major shot.

Why didn't jockey Elliott follow Kiss the Kid (#12) to south Florida?

 To sum up, we are looking at a four or five-figure payoff. If you need to be a part of it, check out 1 888 612 2283 or right here.



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