Sunday, May 25, 2014
TimeformUS Analyst Mike Beer
Race 1: #5 Broadway Music Gal drops in class for Chris Englehart while switching from turf to dirt (95 trainer rating), and projects for a comfortable trip tracking the pace from the outside.
Game win two starts back in the slop with #2 Physical Delivery left behind her, and that horse came back to post a convincing win of her own off a drop in class.
Race 2: Pletcher will start 3-of-the-6 in here, including ML favorite and horse to beat #3 Our Amazing Rose, who made a promising return from a long layoff in March, and then failed to establish a comfortable position in the Grade 3 Eight Belles before tiring. #4 Size defeated a modest field of allowance horses last time, and will find this group tougher, but she has done nothing wrong while displaying admirable gameness in each of her first two starts.
Race 3: #5 Insighting has picked up his game since being claimed by Rudy Rodriguez, and figures tough in this race if bringing any one of his three dirt efforts for this barn; switches from turf to dirt while dropping down, and Rudy gets a perfect 100 trainer rating with claimers down 50% or more in price. #6 From the Point is still lightly raced, and stepped it up last time, which was his first start on a fast track since being gelded. #2 Harrythenavigator has some back races that get him close to the favorite, and he is also down in claiming price here.
Race 4: Only 5 for the Pennine Ridge, but they're 5 good ones, including #4 Mr Speaker, who was last seen taking apart the Grade 3 Lexington at Keeneland with a new top figure. He also holds strong turf form, and projects for a good trip either on or near the lead in this compact field.
#2 Gala Award defeated Mr Speaker in the Palm Beach stakes before failing to get involved in the Grade 1 Blue Grass. He also owns a versatile running style, and has much upside. #3 Can'thelpbelieving may be compromised by the dynamics of this race, but he has talent and can go with these horses in a truly run race.
Race 5: Not much turf form to go on in this restricted claimer, with 6 of the 10 having no turf experience at all. We liked #10 Pirate's Pleasure last time, and he emerged from his 5th place finish with an excuse, as he was in much early traffic and appeared to clip heels on the backstretch; switches to Rosario for this. #4 You You is an unknown on grass, but he was an impressive winner in second start back from a long layoff, and his trainer has been making all the right moves lately. #7 Donttellyourmother has the best speed in this matchup, and he drops in class with enough turf influence in his pedigree.
Race 6: #5 Stalagmite figures tough as he switches back to dirt while dropping down in class for the first time. He ran well in a tough spot in his first start back from the layoff, and he was a new gelding that day. #4 Spango is the horse to beat after getting run over by a much-the-best winner last time, but he won't get many more chances.
Race 7: #1 Ballerina Belle has run well every time she has been to the track, and she closed well into a fast pace when facing a very strong field first off the layoff.
#6 Love Train is making her first start off a trainer change to Clement (98 rating) after seeing her dirt form fall off last year, but she began with promise and she may appreciate switching to grass as her half-sister Starfish Bay was a multiple stakes winning turf sprinter who put over $240k in the bank.
Race 8: Monday's feature at Belmont is the Grade 3 Poker, scheduled for one mile on the widener turf course, and it is expected to feature a fast pace. #5 Za Approval is the 6/5 favorite on the ML and the horse to beat. Considering that he is already a multiple graded-stakes winner (his opponents here have but a single graded stakes victory among them), and that he came within a length of Wise Dan in a fast-paced running of last years' Breeders' Cup Mile, it is not hard to see why he is favored, and why he is the horse to beat.
He makes his third start off the layoff here, and while he hasn't been that impressive in either of his first two starts this year, he did have a bit of a trip behind Wise Dan at Keeneland last time, and may be sitting on a top effort. We view him as a must-use in the late multi-race exotics, but feel that Monday may be the day to try an up-and-coming runner who is making his graded-stakes debut in the Poker. That horse is #2 Peace and Justice. Anyone who watched Peace and Justice bury maidens first-time out with big speed, or saw him blitz back-to-back allowance fields earlier this year in California, knows that he has a lot of ability. On the other hand, anyone who saw him run off and bolt in both his second and third lifetime starts, or has noticed his refusal to change leads in the stretch of his races, also knows that he is still a work in progress.
Pace Projector indicates that there is a fast pace on tap for this Poker, but there is always going to be a fast pace when Peace and Justice is in the field--because he is really fast.
We think that he is going to like the big layout of this widener course, and that he is going to be very hard on the other speed-types in this field. He will then have to hold off the expected late charge of Za Approval in the stretch, but we think he has the right amount of ability to play at this level, and Monday may be the time to be on him, before he is fully exposed.
Race 9: Solid turf maiden appears open to several different horses. We liked the debut effort put in by #4 Hope Cross and thought that she could have gotten it done there with a better ride, as she was forced to rally through traffic all through the stretch run before just falling short. #8 Wonder Upon a Star has a big pedigree and a race under her belt, and may prove to be very dangerous in this spot. We also like what we've seen from #1 Mobilize on turf to this point and think she is a strong contender.
Race 10: We'll see how the finale shakes out after scratches, but this is a wide-open race on paper. We do like the past turf form of #6 Western Tryst, especially sprinting, and he has been in decent form on the main track for Rudy. Only one half of the Contessa entry can go, and if it's #1A Glowing Ember we could use him, as he has speed and some turf pedigree (86 rating for turf sprints, dam is a half to Straight Story, a graded stakes winner on grass who made over $700k in his career).
#3 Special Selection has run well enough to compete here, and he is always a price.