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Alameda County Fair Picks – Friday, July 1


First race (1:45 p.m.)

Picks: Mybluebell, Miss Flawless, Stateforest.

Analysis: A lot of numbers adding up here in the first for Mybluebell. Has hit the board all five starts this year, including a pair of wins. There is speed here, and in her last start where she was second, the winning horse came back and won their next start. The barn also hits at 35 percent on the turf to dirt move. Rail draw can be concerning at times, but in a route, she has plenty of time to get out and secure good track position. Miss Flawless is a closer and may get a pace to run at, although there are only two horses in the field that show the desire to run. The barn is at 30 percent off the claim and is also solid at 30 percent with the turf to dirt move. There is a lot to like about Stateforest except for the barn being very pedestrian off the claim at .07 percent. Still, she’s hit the board four-of-six starts this year and has good speed. Was having a good season until the old barn got a bit ahead of themselves and opted for bigger races. After a pair of poor showings, she came back to a level she belongs and scored.


Second race (2:15 p.m.)

Picks: Strut to the Wire, Should Be Illegal, Edinburg Express.

Analysis: Just claimed by one of the top barns, Strut to the Wire might be looming large here. The horse is entered in its lowest class since winning his maiden race in May of last year. Hit the board in only two-of-seven this year, but once again it was against tougher. I do like the two good works over the track and think we will see some speed today. Should Be Illegal is a horse that has been very consistent, hitting the board 10-of-15 career starts. This is the third start off a year break and am hoping the conditioning is better than the first two back, both seeing her outkicked. Edinburgh Express has got the speed and the outside post which I like here. Showed a lot of speed in the last until tiring late. Now comes to a track where the speed will hold better and takes a bit of drop. Bullet work for the race shows he is ready to run.


Third race (2:45 p.m.)

Picks: Summer Apparition, Fantastic Secret, Malibu Jewel

Analysis: Summer Apparition is a big closer and comes into a route race. Lone concern is there might not be enough speed to create the pace this one would like to run at. Lowest claiming race she has been part of and if she gets any pace to chase could be sitting pretty at the end. Fantastic Secret is on that will show speed from the rail. Has had a good year hitting the board in six-of-eight starts, but there is only one win. Was almost 2-lengths back of my top pick in the last start, getting caught and passed. Malibu Jewel is a consistent knocker, very capable of hitting the board and completing your ticket.


Fourth race (3:15 p.m.)

Picks: Gallivanter, Cardinal Tricks, Smokin’ Hot.

Analysis: Not a lot of past history to go here as only four of the seven have raced before, and then it is only one start each. Gallivanter had a decent debut, running second all the way around. The jockey had options here and went with this runner for the second straight time. Out finished in his debut, the last two works show better conditioning. Cardinal Trick showed speed for the first half of his debut but faded. A couple strong works the horse should be able to sustain the speed. Smokin’ Hot is making his debut for a barn that hits at 23 percent out of the gate. I would expect to see some early speed but whether it holds remains to be seen.


Fifth race (3:45 p.m.)

Picks: Royal ’n Rando, Crazy Dreams, Affectionto Autism

Analysis: Royal ‘n Rando looks easily like the one to beat here. To start, the horse has hit the board seven-of-eight starts this year, including a pair of stakes at Golden Gate Fields in May. She came from off the pace to win the Silky Sullivan by a nose, then followed by a second in the Snow Chief where he has all sorts of problems early. Put in a pair of solid works over the Pleasanton track. Crazy Dreams has run three races and has been solid with a win and two seconds. A bit greener than the other runners this will be the first start against winners. Exceptional speed and experience with the distance make a factor. Affectionto Autism just keeps running good ones, always around the board having cashed tickets in his last four starts. Will be a stalker and probably get first call when they turn for home.


Sixth race (4:15 p.m.)

Picks: Far West, Friday’s at Shady, Niles Channel.

Analysis: My top two picks have been battling back and forth, with my choice at this spot being Far West. Five wins in eight starts this year is good enough for me. Tons of experience on the dirt and while maybe not an outstanding record over the surface, I feel he’s done enough to warrant the pick. Friday’s at Shady has had better success on the first, but not quite the local form as my top pick. Has won two of three starts over the Pleasanton track, including once last year when he was in the middle of a five-race winning streak. Should end up being the favorite here. Niles Channel brings dirt experience and seven straight starts facing tougher at Santa Anita. Jumps from the turf to the dirt and while it is not a strong move for the barn, I think he finds this spot a good one.


Seventh race (4:45 p.m.)

Picks: Irrefutable, Proof He Rides, Gerlach’s

Analysis: Irrefutable just keeps going out and doing things right. In his last start, he came off a nine-month break to wire the field, kicking away at the end. Now this speedy rider comes back three weeks later, on a track that favors his running style. Career mark of 10-of-15 hitting the board is impressive as well. Proof He Rides sure looks ready to go here with an impressive blow out work over the track before his last start. Three career starts have resulted in two wins and a second. Has been off nine months before that last start. Should get plenty of action. Gerlach’s has been running well, hitting the board, and getting claimed. In fact, he has been claimed in four of his last six starts. The big closer is not entered for a tag in this one. Will have plenty of speed to run at and has shown success being close and pouncing or from coming from far back.


Eighth race (5:15 p.m.)

Picks: Big Fame, Dearest Barbara, Miracle of Hope.

Analysis: The day ends with a nice field of ten horses with Big Fame looking like a strong one here. Last year the horse ran in a pair straight maiden races at Del Mar that were leap years better than this spot.  She did nothing in either and was sent to the bench back in August. She came back in early June and ran second following a solid series of works. Had a decent work since and now finds a spot that looks to be a good one. Dearest Barbara had three much tougher starts earlier this and did nothing, losing the three starts by 43 combined lengths. Took a big class drop in June and ended up running a solid third. Now back at the same level she should be a contender. Miracle of Hope may need a miracle here, but the horse has flashed speed a couple times in her six starts, of which she has failed to hit the board. A debut on dirt, one a speed favoring track makes me believe this horse will be on a send, especially considering she has an aggressive speed jockey.

By Dennis Miller