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Monday, July 31
Sunday picks

The Iselin Handicap
10th Monmouth Park
Distance: 1 1/8th miles
Purse: $350,000
For: 3-year-olds & upward
Grade II
ESPN 4:30 ET

Sir Bear towers over this field. After a rough start to his 2000 campaign, he's put together three straight solid races for trainer Ralph Ziadie and beat top horses in Skimming and Ecton Park last out in the Cornhusker. Is simply better than his competition. Talk's Cheap prepped for this with a winning effort in a stakes at Delaware. Should improve off that race, his first in six months, and can grab second money. Blazing Sword has turned things around in his last two for trainer Kathleen O'Connell and comes off a big race at Arlington in the Washington Park Handicap.

Picks Summary: 1. Sir Bear 2. Talk's Cheap 3. Blazing Sword

The Del Mar Oaks
8th Del Mar
Distance: 1 1/18th miles on the turf
Purse: $250,000
For: 3-year-old fillies
Grade I

Unchartered Haven is 2-for-2 for Bobby Frankel since shipping in from France and overcame trouble each time to win. Will be compromised if the pace is slow, but looks like she's got the quality to top this field. Premiere Creation looks like the best of the European shippers in here. Filly is stakes placed in France, picks up Lasix for this assignment and goes for a shrewd trainer in Julio Canani. Kumari Continent runs equally well on turf or dirt and scored last out in the Hollywood Oaks. The most accomplished filly in the race, she might set a slow pace, will be tough.

Picks Summary: 1. Unchartered Haven 2. Premiere Creation 3. Kumari Continent

The Saratoga Breeders' Cup Handicap
8th Saratoga
Distance: 1 1/4 miles
Purse: $300,000
For: 3-year-olds & upward
Grade II

We're looking for Catienus to turn the tables on Pleasant Breeze. Though beaten 4 3/4 lengths by that rival last time, Catienus was obviously prepping for this spot, one of the main goals of his season. A natural mile-and-a-quarter horse, he'll need a fast pace, but figures to run a career best race here. Pleasant Breeze might have run too good for his own good last time. Back in an allowance spot, he posted a huge figure and is a serious biunce candidate here. He seems unable to string big races back to back. Nonetheless, he's got enough quality to be a factor even on an off day. Lager, another who will come from far back, has been chasing better in Lemon Drop Kid and Behrens, contender.

Picks Summary: 1. Catienus 2. Pleasant Breeze 3. Lager

The Remington Park Derby
9th Remington
Distance: 1 1/8th miles
Purse: $300,000
For: 3-year-olds
Grade III

You either have to hate or love Performing Magic in here. Clearly the most talented horse in the race, he was awful in the Affirmed Handicap and now switches barns to John Shirreffs. We're not willing to excuse that race and will throw him out. The pick is Level Three, who takes a huge jump up in class from Churchill allowances, but he looks like an improving, developing horse who could surprise here. Nature didn't handle the grass in his last, has shown enough ability on dirt to suggest he'll be a factor here. Ben The Man was a big disappointment in the Long Branch, but is burning up the track in the AM.

Picks Summary:1. Level Three 2. Nature 3. Ben The Man

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