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Saturday, September 30, 2000
Updated: October 1, 1:37 PM ET
Sunday picks

By Bill Finley
Special to ESPN.com

Prix De L'Arc De Triomphe
5th Longchamp
Distance: 1 1/2 miles on the turf
Purse: $1,293,000
For: 3-year-olds & upward
Group I

Two of Europe's biggest stars Sinndar and Montjeu meet up in the Arc de Triomphe, which will be simulcast to several U.S. locations. The only other horse given much chance is the German invader Samum. Are we the only ones who have noticed that Sinndar and Montjeu ran at the same distance on the same day at Longchamp in their last starts and Sinndar went 6 2/5 seconds faster? Does it matter? We're not exactly sure, but we are going to pick Sinndar to score the upset over Montjeu. Both have been awesome this year, but Sinndar may not have reached his peak as of yet. Not only did he run much faster than Montjeu did last out at Longchamp, but he crushed his rivals, winning the Group I Prix Niel by eight. "We're hoping he's on the upgrade all the time, and it's hard to tell from (the Prix Niel), but it looked like he would still be improving," his trainer, John Oxx, said. As a 3-year-old, he gets eight pounds from Montjeu, which should make a difference. Of course Montjeu will be very hard to beat. A winner of 11 of his 13 career starts, including the 1999 Arc, he was awesome when winning the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes two starts back. No horse has won back to back Arcs since Alleged in 1978. Samum is unbeaten in six starts and is the main, if not only, threat to upset the top two. He has been running in Germany, where the racing isn't quite as good as it is in England, France and Ireland, but don't be shocked if he captures this race.

Picks Summary: 1. Sinndar 2. Montjeu 3. Samum


The Cup and Saucer
8th Woodbine
Distance: 1 1/16th miles on the turf
Purse: $250,000
For: 2-year-olds foaled in Canada
Ungraded

Trainer Mark Frostad sends out a three-horse entry here which will likely be 1-5. He can win it with either Lucky Old Sun or Sky Alliance, the two best horses in the field. Though a filly, Sky Alliance is the lone stakes winner in the field and has won at a mile, so the distance shouldn't be a problem for her. Lucky Old Sun just missed as the 1-2 favorite in an allowance race in his last, but was beaten by Speed Gun, who returned to win the Summer Stakes. It will be one of the two. Though still a maiden, Devilatmidnight might just sneak into the money. He's already stakes placed, didn't run dreadfully in his turf debut and gets Lasix for the first time. Speedy Comet and Lucky Tech are both by Technologoy and both are making their turf debuts. Technology is a terrible turf sire.

Picks Summary: 1. Sky Alliance 2. Lucky Old Sun 3. Devilatmidnight.


Summertime Promise Breeders' Cup
8th Hawthorne
Distance: 1 1/16th miles on the turf
Purse: $150,000
For: 3-year-old fillies
Ungraded

Watch ran into a tough one in Storm Dream when finishing second in the Boiling Springs at the Meadowlands. She draws an unfavorable post here, but should race close to watch may be a slow pace and has Shane Sellers in the irons. Shows two bullet works since her last race. Julies Love Letter ran into a killer when finishing fifth behind Gaviola in the Garden City at Belmont. In an easier spot, she's dangerous. Diadella posted a big Beyer figure when winning a stakes at Woodbine in her last. Has Chicago's top rider in Mark Guidry aboard.

Picks Summary: 1. Watch 2. Julies Love Letter 3. Diadell


The Bertram Bongard
9th Belmont
Distance: 7 furlongs
Purse: $75,000
For: 2-year-olds bred in New York
Ungraded

And in the one you've all been waiting for, Backstreet Blues looks like a cinch in the 23rd Bongard. After breaking his maiden against New York breds at Belmont, he's run very well against open company ever since. Coming off a sharp second in an allowance race at Delaware Park, he should boss this field around. Picks up Jerry Bailey for this assignment. Unable to keep up with a brutally fast early pace, Crispy Jet couldn't make the lead in a small stakes at Philly Park in his last, but has run well in some other spots and should get an uncontested lead here. Also gets Lasix for the first time. Native Rhythm broke his maiden by five for John Kimmel in a slow time. Must improve.

Picks Summary: 1. Backstreet Blues 2. Crispy Jet 3. Native Rhythm