This weekend is a bit like "After The Lord Mayor's Show" as the Stateside action is decidedly low key, following a plethora of Grade 1 races over the last few weeks.
Louisiana Downs stages the most prestigious event, the Grade 2 Super Derby (off 17.15 local time, 23.15 BST) run over a mile-and-a-furlong on the main track.
Formerly a Grade 1 contest, the Super Derby has been won by some pantheons of the dirt in America, including Tiznow, Seeking The Gold and Alysheba, to name but three. While there appears to be nothing of that class in this year's field, there is a stand-out horse in the shape of Departing. Al Stall's talented War Front colt finally seems set to fulfill his potential following a victory by nearly nine lengths in the West Virginia Derby at Mountaineer last month. His form is already smart, and he sets a pretty exacting standard in here with a weight-adjusted Timeform form rating of 131.
The biggest threat to Departing may actually be the small field, as the horse has been ridden with plenty of patience so far in his career. Cameo Appearance and Ruler Of Love have both shown speed in the past, though, and Departing's connections will be hoping they set a decent pace.
Of the others, Bashaar is likely to offer most resistance, though his rating of 118 is some way below Departing. He did, however, put up a good effort in the Jim Dandy at Saratoga last time out, finishing fourth behind Palace Malice, Will Take Charge and Moreno, all three of whom have subsequently done that form no harm at all. If Departing shows up with his "A" game, though, Bashaar should be looking at minor honours only. Indeed, Departing is forecast to go off at 2.0 on the morning line, and that could well prove to be a gift, if available.
With the 2013 Saratoga meet now consigned to the history books, the New York show rolls back into Belmont Park this week, where the Saturday highlight is the Grade 2 Bowling Green Handicap (off 16.45 local time, 21.45 BST), where Boisterous is looking to bounce back from a rare below-par effort when a well beaten eighth in the Sword Dancer Invitational, just three weeks ago. His form entitles him to be favourite for this race, but he does have to shoulder top weight against some decent rivals, so this should be no walk in the park for him, though the drop back to a mile-and-a-quarter should be in his favour.
Finnegans Wake was behind Boisterous in the Man O' War at this venue in July, and followed that with a highly creditable fourth in the Arlington Million. In receipt of 5lb from today's forecast favourite, he should put up a bold effort, though it must be pointed out that winning doesn't come easy to this Powerscourt colt, as his record of two victories from fifteen starts would testify.
At these weights, Hyper, London Lane and Farhaan need to improve a little if Boisterous is in top form, though Farhaan could well be open to plenty of improvement, having just his second start in the US since leaving the now-retired John Dunlop. Kiaran McLaughlin is a master at improving the Shadwell inmates who join him from Europe, and, although he only scrambled home by a nose over the Saratoga turf track last time, he should be much more at ease with an extra quarter-mile to work with.
Over at Delaware Park, there's an open renewal of the Grade 3 Kent Stakes (off 16.15 local time, 21.15 BST), run over a mile and-a-furlong on the turf track. Strictly on Timeform form ratings, there isn't much between the majority of this field. At the weights, Hard Enough comes out just on top, though he only has 1 lb in hand over Fear The Kitten and Are You Kidding Me.
Strictly speaking, the morning line favourite Saint Vigeur has plenty to find on the figures, but does have the major bonus of being trained by Chad Brown, and a pedigree that suggests he could well thrive on turf, now that he's had time to mature. He was well beaten by the high-class Moreno on dirt last time, but if he improves for this switch back to turf, he should be right in the mix.
Back Departing in the Super Derby
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