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TimeformUS Race Analysis

 

 

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TimeformUS Belmont Analysis for Saturday May 17

TimeformUS Analyst Mike Beer

Race 1:  Tough to have a strong opinion in the opener, with well-connected drop-downs switching surfaces and likely to take some money, and a Pletcher Gulfstream invader who hasn't looked that good.  We'll try #2 Neilos, who made his 3yo debut on turf and now switches back to the main track (trainer gets 100 rating turf-to-dirt). His juvenile dirt form was okay. 

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Trainer ratings box for the trainer of our selection in Race 1.Click here to learn more about TimeformUS Trainer Ratings.

Selections:  2-5-6-3-1

 
Race 2:  #4 Don't Blame Her debuted in a tough spot vs. subsequent Grade 1 winner Artemis Agrotera at Saratoga, and paid the price for trying to race that rival early.  Won't judge her off of that distant finish, and will give her a chance to make a fresh start.  #2 Pearls for Girls has run well in both starts vs. fellow NY-breds, and is the horse to beat with lasix on for the first time.  
 
Selections:  4-2-1-7
 
 
Race 3:  May not be easy to down #2 Misconnect as he returns from a long absence for Pletcher. He was a determined winner when last seen almost 8 months ago, but where has he been since that race?  We have been waiting for #4 Louisiana Flyboy to turn back in distance, which happens here, and his trainer couldn't be going any better through the first three weeks of this meet. We will also use a little #1 Classic Salsa, who had a monster trip here opening day.  
 
Selections:  4-1-2-5-3
 
 
Race 4:  Will keep an eye on the board as it pertains to the first-time starters, but we are giving #3 All My Memories one final chance here.  He was against the track in each of his last two starts (wide off a gold rail two back, down along a dead rail last time), and he did not get great trips in his two 7-furlong efforts prior to that.  
 
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Recent chart comments from the running lines for our selection in Race 4.  Our extended chart comments provide more detail on a horse's trip.  Click here to see how TimeformUS is different.
 
#1 Grand Strand earned a big figure last time with the benefit of a perfect trip chasing a fast rival.  Both the Pletcher and Kimmel firsters in here are bred for grass, but #2 Stockholder is from a strong Phipps female family and was working well in California before arriving here.  
 
Selections:  3-2-1-5-4
 
 
Race 5:  #1 Cabo Cat has some ability. He just needs a little pace to develop in front of him to have his best chance, and with #5 Chart Topper and #2 Green Mask showing speed, and #3 Otoy possibly doing the same, he just may get it. 
 
Selections:  1-5-2-3-4
 
 
Race 6:  Will be interesting to see how this race breaks in the early stages, as Pace Projector favors runners on/near the lead, and indicates that #1 Smashing will get there ahead of #5 Ultimate Shopper.  
 
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Pace Projector, shown above for Race 6, is available for every race.  
 
They are both very fast, and have the potential to hurt each other early in this race, especially as Smashing tries to get 7 furlongs for the first time.  We believe that a duel may develop at some point, and that makes #7 Miss Melinda a threat to come running at a square price.  
 
Selections:  7-1-5-8
 
 
Race 7:  Maiden claimer on grass feels like a good place to look for a price, as the experienced turf horses don't have much to offer.  #5 Hard Fast Cash is interesting on the drop after running in a pair of fast-paced dirt sprints, and he spent considerable time on dead rails both times.  He has enough turf pedigree, by Hard Spun and out of a Storm Cat mare, as does #8 Secret Ops, who is a half to a turf winner, and who was also on that dead rail February 21st while making a fast pace.  We will also include #3 In Speight Ofitall, who has the three fastest turf efforts in the field and has never raced this cheaply on this surface, though his trainer makes infrequent visits to the winner's circle (2 wins from last 174 starters).
 
Selections:  5-8-3-4-10
 
 
Race 8:  #2 Wild Finish endured a very difficult trip when last seen on Wood Memorial day, losing early position while in tight before rallying gamely in the stretch, only to get in tight and have to steady again.  He was wide against a gold rail two starts back, which was his first start off of a long layoff, and he earned a strong speed figure for that win last February (97), one that would make him very hard to beat in this race.  
 
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Past performances for our selection in Race 8 are set to display TimeformUS Pace Figures underneath the running lines.  Click here to learn more about our Pace Figures.
 
While we were impressed visually with #1 John's Island's win last time, he did get a soft trip on a moderate pace, and is likely to face a different scenario here. 
 
Selections:  2-4-1-7-3
 
 
Race 9:  #1 Amber Coast seems back in form for Rudy Rodriguez after cutting back-to-back quick paces on the main track, and taking a field all the way last time in the mud.  He's won over turf before, and looms the controlling speed in this race.  #4 Majestic Raffy clearly has the best races to get to in this field, as he tries to finally get a turf race to go for him in 2014.  Needs some pace to set up his late run, so will be hoping someone goes with Amber Coast early.  
 
Selections:  1-4-9-10-5
 
 
 
Race 10:  See no reason to go in against heavy favorite #4 Kauai Katie in this spot, as she ran quite well in a tough pace situation off the long layoff in the Distaff Handicap, and has the back-class to simply be too much for her rivals today.
 
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Fractional times rated as fast are shown in red.  Click here to see how TimeformUS PPs are different.
 
#2 Merry Meadow has improved and will be our other horse. 
 
Selections:  4-2-1-5
 
 
Race 11:  Discussion clearly begins with #6 Animal Style, dropping out of the Grade 3 Shakertown for connections who drop to win.  We'll concede that he should be tough in here, but doubt he will warrant being a very short price against some rock-solid veteran turf sprinters.  #1 Ziptronic has been away since making a fast pace and stopping last October, but he is fast when right, and won off a similar layoff here last year.  #4 Isn'tlovejustgrand is getting back to his best game here for the first time since closing down fellow NY-breds with a strong kick, and will be running at the end.  
 
Selections:  1-4-6-7-12
 
 
Race 12:  #2 Starship Captain has been in good form for a couple of different trainers recently, and but for a couple of tough trips 2 and 4 starts back, would look much better on paper for this race.  7 furlongs is a bit of a question mark, but Pace Projector has him sitting a nice stalking trip in behind the leaders.
 
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Pace Projector for Race 12 shows our selection in good stalking position.  
 
Maybe it was the mud, but #5 Schoolyard Dreams appeared to come back to earth last time after posting a couple of impressive wins off the claim.  Drops back down as the horse to beat.  #8 Straight Fax is one of our favorites, is better than he looks on paper, and one of these days is going to pop at a big price.  
 
Selections:  2-5-8-10
 

Belmont Analysis for Thursday May 15

TimeformUS Analyst Mike Beer

Race 1:  Both #7 Blue Ballerina and #6 Wild Kay are well-drawn speeds, so the key to their success (or failure) may come down to how aggressively they are ridden.  Because Blue Ballerina is the better price, we'll take her on top.  She has been in career-best form lately, a turnaround that has coincided with her starting to show speed in her races, and she is back to the right level after catching a muddy track here last week.  #1 We'll Talk could be the beneficiary if a duel develops, as she looks for four in a row.  

Selections:  7-1-6-2
 
 
Race 2:  #6 Bounty Pink buried a weak field when returning from a layoff in December, and it was another four months before she resurfaced with a respectable effort on grass, despite getting wiped out at the break.  No layoff this time, and we like her returning to dirt.  #2 Soul Opposition hasn't done much to get excited about to this point, but she's in for a tag for the first time, and did have a troubled trip in her last race.  #5 Fujiana has the top last number in the race (72), although #1 Fee and Sugar was in that race and and earned a 75 (she's run twice more since then), but Fujiana has been well-backed several times and has proven to just not be that good.
 
Selections:  6-2-1-5
 
 
Race 3:  Pace Projector favors runners up close to the pace, and that figures to play well for #2 Cast a Doubt, who received the wrong ride last time, rating back off the pace before being forced to take a wide run.  
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He has more speed than that, and can use it from the inside here.  We'll also use #3 Bemata, who is making his third start off the claim by very sharp connections and will appreciate turning back in distance, as he is 4 for 8 sprinting on dirt, and 0 for 10 doing anything else.  
 
Selections:  2-3-4-6
 
 
Race 4:  Tough turf sprint to figure, as 7 of the 13 entered, including both halves of the coupled entry, have never been on grass.  #3 Ziggy the Great made a promising debut last summer, getting bet and then closing gamely to run down the favored leader well clear of the rest of the field.  Figures to benefit from the turn-back in distance here after getting wired off the layoff, and he picks up Castellano.  #11 Countknickerbocker has had his chances already, but he endured some tough trips last year and may wind up catching some pace to run into if this field stays intact.   #6 Sol the Freud is a full brother to Grade 1 winner Franny Freud, who handled all surfaces, and he held his own vs. some solid competition as a two-year-old.
 
Selections:  3-11-6-4-2
 
 
Race 5:  #7 Cashmere Cat ran into a sharp debut winner when returned from the layoff, and then received an odd ride while kept wide throughout off of a moderate pace last time.  Switches to Rosario for this, and his trainer gets a perfect 100 rating with runners dropping from MSW to maiden claiming company. #3 Rich 'n' Tuck earned a solid 102 TimeformUS speed figure for his debut run vs. a solid field, and he is back to dirt for the first time since the end of November, with some class relief.  
 
Selections:  7-3-1-5
 
 
Race 6:
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Appears that first-time starter #9 Silverama has found a soft spot here if she can run.  Has enough pedigree, being out of a dam who went 4-for-8 in France, and was a listed stakes winner, and Christophe Clement is a rare trainer who excels with runners debuting going long on grass (98 Trainer Rating).  #10 Medaglia d'Argento drops down and returns to turf after getting outrun over Gulfstream's main track; will have blinkers on for the first time on grass.  #3 Hiddenite ran quite well on a solid pace when switched to turf last time, but she was 35/1 that day, and you'll be required to take a much shorter price this time around.  The other first-time starter, #1 The Giant's Lamp, also has plenty of pedigree (her dam made almost $150k on grass, and was stakes placed multiple times).  
 
Selections:  9-10-3-1-8
 
 
Race 7:  Pace Projector indicates a fast pace is on tap here, and that may be to the detriment of ML favorite #1 B Shanny, who is drawn on the rail.  We'll take #6 Dan's Gold, who couldn't avoid a duel when breaking from the rail here opening week, but is nicely drawn outside today, and showed in his impressive win back in December that he is comfortable tracking from the outside. #2 Chilton has put up back-to-back wins for sharp connections while pairing up a new top speed figure of 91 in the process, and he may be the main beneficiary of a contested pace here.   #7 The Rhythmisright is a quick three-year-old, and he drew well on the far outside, but he's likely to be tested by some hard-hitters in this spot and doesn't figure to offer much value.  
 
Selections:  6-2-1-3
 
 
Race 8:  We have been impressed with #3 Patent's turf efforts to this point--he is extremely well-bred for the surface. His grass performances have come vs. some tough competition, and while he probably wasn't going to win the Palm Beach stakes last time, he did have legitimate trouble on the turn when impeded by a rival and forced to steady.  
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We will take him to rebound here, and use him with returning 3yo #6 Mansion House, who impressed with his strong finish after some traffic trouble in his stateside debut.  They will, however, have to be conscious of the race dynamics early, as Pace Projector favors runners on or near the early lead in this race, and indicates that #2 Canzoni, who owns the top speed figure in the field for his 3rd place finish behind repeater Chart Topper last out, will be in a prime early position.  
 
Selections:  3-6-2-4-7
 
 
Race 9:  We were impressed with #7 Raffies Bay's turf debut last year at Tampa, as he contested a hot pace before giving way to closers late.  He then endured a tough trip after trouble at the start when sent to NY for his second start on grass.  To us, he may be quite a bit better than he looks, and if he's ready to go off the layoff, he may prove tough in this field.  #1 Forever Utopia is logical based on last year's turf form, and is tactical enough to pull a nice trip from his inside post. #10 With Expression shouldn't be ignored, as he debuted in a race at the end of last year that was dominated up close, and he will receive lasix for the first time today.
 
Selections:  7-1-10-9
 
 
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Belmont Analysis for Wednesday May 14

TimeformUS Analyst Mike Beer

Race 1:  Good spot for second-time starter #5 Wing Foot, who endured disastrous trip in Keeneland debut last month and never had a chance to run.  Well-connected colt has a big pedigree, being a brother to three stakes winners in Great Britain, including Group 1 winner Lucarno, who banked over $1 million.  #3 Pacific seems sure to attract some attention in here considering his connections and big sticker price, and we'll hope he takes some money, as we are against this colt about whom questions abound.  Purchased for $1.8 million at last year's Ocala sale of selected two-year-olds in training after posting the bullet work (one furlong in 9.4 seconds),  where has he been since then, and why he is debuting long on the turf, which is one of Todd Pletcher's relative weaknesses (71 Trainer Rating)? 
 
Selections:  5-1-10-8
 
 
Race 2:  #3 England may wind up a short price for the third straight time here, and while he may have found the right spot, he is not the kind of horse we are ever going to trust at low odds.  He simply has not run very well in either of his starts since arriving in NY.  Since 5_14_R2there is not much apparent other talent in the field, we will go with a lightly raced rival who is still eligible to improve.  #7 Dexter Cheesestake has made only two starts to date, and in the last one he tried to circle the field from last behind an almost 10-length winner going a mile. But the thing that really attracts us to him is his new trainer.  Michelle Nevin gets a 100 Trainer Rating off the claim, and she is a perfect 6-for-6 with maidens first off the claim in NY since going out on her own last year. That's good enough for us in this field. 
 
Selections:  7-3-1-6
 
 
 
Race 3:  We really like the chances of #4 Againsome in this spot off of his 99 TimeformUS speed figure win going a mile vs. maiden claimers last time.  He returns in a protected spot this time, and will be very tough for this field to beat if running that well again.  His main rival figures to be #1 Blue Cherokee, who handled a wet, sealed track in his first start for David Jacobson, who sports a strong 97 trainer rating with last-out maiden winners.  
 
Selections:  4-1-6-2-3
 
 
Race 4:  Appears to be plenty of pace signed on to this $20k claimer for older horses that have never won three, so we will try to wake up some closers.  
 
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Race 4.  Pace Projector is available for all North American races.
To purchase TimeformUS PPs, please click here.
 
#1 Demon's Deputy hasn't won since going back-to-back over a year ago, but he has been in some tougher spots, and we'll excuse some of his recent efforts over wet tracks, as he has never seemed to care for those conditions.  If he can still run, he can take advantage if a contested pace scenario develops.  We also think the dynamics here could help #4 Bos'n Alwyne, who has been in deceptively good form vs. better horses, and who did not get a comfortable trip when behind #9 Poliziano, another horse we are using in this race.  
 
Selections:  1-4-9-7-11
 
 
Race 5:  Tough to trust anyone in this compact field in which four of the seven entrants are dropping in class.  #6 Bridget Moloney is the one taking the biggest drop after chasing open company allowance horses to no avail last month, and she ran very well when last in for a tag.  The others for us in this race are #2 Platinum Bombshell, who turns back after getting an unaggressive ride last time and switches to Rosario, and a little #3 First Penny, who hasn't won a race in over two years, but enters with the top last-out figure in the field (84).  
 
Selections:  6-2-3-5-1
 
 
Race 6:  #8 Dramatize has been in good form since returning from an October layoff, breaking her maiden in convincing fashion over the Fair Grounds turf, and then finishing a game and well-clear second at Keeneland after an ill-advised run in stakes company.  She looks much better on TimeformUS data than she does elsewhere, so it will be interesting to see how she fares in her return to NY.  
 
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Surfaces are color coded as shown above (dirt is denoted as brown).  Click here for more information on how TimeformUS is different.
 
#3 Nickerdoodle is the logical horse to beat, and Pace Projector indicates that she should get the set-up she needs. We're using her in this race, but we want to try Dramatize at a better price.  
 
Selections:  8-3-7-2-9
 
 
Race 7:  Ten-furlong turf allowance drew a stakes-quality field that is led by #9 Stormy Len, returning from a layoff after being campaigned ambitiously through the summer and fall of his 3yo season.  We think he has much potential to fulfill and are looking forward to following him into bigger races this year, but do wonder whether he'll be fit enough to go 1 1/4 miles vs. a strong field right off the bench.  His main competition may come from a familiar rival in #4 Mills.  Like Stormy Len, Mills is probably unlucky not to have an extra win or two on his resume at this point, and he also has the ability to re-enter stakes competition this year.  Perhaps the distance is a bit of a question for him, but he did break his maiden over 1 3/16 miles.  We thought that #5 Bravodino was an interesting player in this race after getting in a prep race off the layoff at Keeneland.  He finished gamely that day after a good trip, was only narrowly outfinished, and figures tighter for this for a trainer sporting a perfect 100 Trainer Rating second off the layoff.  We'll take him to go forward in this spot and play him with Stormy Len and Mills.  
 
Selections:  5-9-4-3-8
 
 
Race 8:  #2 Carried Interest seems to have finally come into his own recently, and he projects for a good trip tracking the pace of  #1 Royal Currier or #3 Green Gratto or, better yet, both.  
 
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Click here to read about recent refinements we've made to Pace Projector.
 
 
We believe that he is better than those horses right now, although Royal Currier did show some of his old spark last time in his first start for David Jacobson. Carried Interest was unable to hold off #5 Sensational Slam when off a short layoff and after a contested pace while wide two starts back, and will have to worry about that closing rival once again today, as Sensational Slam is in very good form right now.  He finished gamely to hold his ground through the stretch behind the talented Vyjack last time, and is going to be tough to hold off if he can catch some pace up front.  #4 Saturday's Charm is another who will appreciate any pace that develops in this race, as he has been compromised over and over again by race dynamics since a sharp effort in last year's Tom Fool Handicap.
 
Selections:  2-5-4-1
 
 
 
Race 9:  #6 Tenacious Indeed was outrun in a very strong maiden heat in her debut, and now switches to turf and stretches out for start number two, both of which should suit her. Tenacious Indeed is the first foal out of a dam who won four times on grass in her career and made over $150k on that surface, and she is from a quality family of distance runners who won over turf.  #10 Laurenmychanelgirl is also eligible to improve in her second start, as she was outrun early over a speed-favoring track in her debut, and starts for a trainer who gets a strong rating with second-time starters (92) and with horses going sprint to route (84).  
 
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The race rating box is color coded to indicate the presence of a track bias on that day.
Click here for more information on our track bias indicators.
 
Of the experienced turf runners, #3 Eddy's Time is logical, but she's had chances and has simply proven to not be that good, and #8 Sleek could be given another chance, although she did nothing with a good trip in her turf debut when last seen.  
 
 
Selections:  6-10-8-3-11
 

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Belmont Analysis for Sunday May 11

TimeformUS Analyst Mike Beer

Race 1:  Don't have any real good ideas against ML favorite #4 Alaskan Bird in the opener, as she drops down to this level for the first time and faces a field that, for the most part, has already been exposed.  Our other horse would be #7 Kevin's Kool Kat, who has acceptable dirt form, but also a penchant for running 2nd.

Selections:  4-7-8-1
 
 
Race 2:  #4 None  Like Nolan hasn't been out since his debut here on dirt last June, but he put in a good run from off the pace that day, and his pedigree is much more slanted toward grass (94 pedigree rating).  Hi dam, Green Lyons, posted all four career wins, and was Grade 2 placed, on turf, and this is the female family of Naissance Royale, who won multiple graded stakes on grass for Christophe Clement a few years ago.  The layoff is a concern however.  Since he is sure to be a better price, we will take second time starter #3 Bolt From the Blue on top here, picking up Rosario and switching to grass after a conditioning debut.  Bolt From the Blue is by the solid turf stallion More Than Ready, from a dam who was stakes placed on grass, and his half-brother Electric Shock was a winner as well as placing in multiple stakes over turf.  #2 Waco is a long shot to include on the turn back for trainer H. James Bond, who does very good work with turf sprinters (87 Trainer Rating).
 
Selections:  3-4-2-6
 
 
Race 3:  You don't need us to tell you that #3 Palace Malice is a very likely winner at the shortest of prices.  It will be nice to see him run, as he preps for his next major goal, the Met Mile, but we have better things to do with our money than to be it either on or against him.
 
Selections:  3
 
 
Race 4:  Pace Projector favors horses on or near the early lead, and we are on board, as we are looking for horses to play against the likely favorite, #3 Celebrator.  Beginning with him, while he doesn't land in the strongest field in the world, he does appear to be the kind of horse who will be favored just because.  He is no faster than several of his rivals today on our speed figures, and he has had trouble getting out of the gate in every one of his three starts so far.  
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With Pace Projector placing both #7 Beeliner and #2 King of Broadway up front early, we will primarily use those two horses, while pressing King of Broadway.  We could also use a little Woelf Den, assuming that he stays around his ML odds..  Woelf Den has landed in a some tough fields in his six NY starts to date, but that is decidedly not the case today.  . 
 
Selections:  2-6-7-3
 
 
Race 5:  It may all come down to trips in this wide open turf sprint with several win candidates, so, for wagering purposes, let price be your guide. We were fans of #5 Ballerina Belle last year, and were impressed with her turf debut, which came in her last start.  But she got a perfect trip that day, and we can be against her if she is indeed the favorite v.s this field off the layoff.  One price idea is #1 Daddy Loves Gold, who we think will appreciate going the shorter distance here, and has the kind of tactical ability to ride the hedge in range of the pace.  From there, she may have to get a little lucky to get a run, but we think she's good enough, and should be a fair price.  Out other horse would be #9 KIss Me Lola.  She is a bit of an in-and-outer, but is capable of a big effort at times and projects for a tracking trip out in the clear.  We also don't discount the chances of #6 Claiming Victory, who has a versatile running style, and has won both non-stakes turf sprints. 
 
Selections:  1-9-5-6
 
 
Race 6:  We liked #6 Mononoke last time, on the thinking that she would get to the lead on that field and be tough to catch.  She did make the lead, but was disappointing in coming up empty at the top of the stretch.  We will give her one more chance today, as she should be right up close once again in a race that that favors runners on or near the early lead, and it will not hurt that she gets the services of Javier Castellano today.  Her best race makes her tough, now she just has to run it.  
 
Selections:  6-4-5-7
 
 
Race 7:  We think that #9 Free as a Bird has found a home as a turf sprinter, and also think the she exits the strongest last race of these, when an unlucky second at Keeneland.
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In fact, sandwiched around that allowance win two starts back, we would argue that Free as a Bird was best in both that start three back on February 17th, when she was shuffled out of position before rallying late, and last time, where she was simply asked to carry too much ground while four-wide throughout and couldn't hold on late.  We will also use the other horse in here exiting the Giants Causeway stakes, #3 Believe in Charlie.  Believe in Charlie has really improved her game recently, and she lost all chance at Keenelnad when unable to find a lane in the stretch and ultimately had to steady out of contention., 
 
Selections:  9-3-1-10
 
 
Race 8: The Ruffian brings together an interesting mix of horses, some already of proven graded-stakes quality, a couple stepping up in class, hoping it's the right time, and, finally, a solid pair of stakes mares looking to solidify their credentials. 
 
The accomplished graded-stakes performers, and perhaps the pair to beat, are Grace Hall and Fiftyshadesofhay. At age two and three,  Grace Hall was a quality filly in the care of Tony Dutrow, but she hasn't been seen since two below-par efforts early in 2013.  She has almost certainly had issues in the interim, and, even though she is returning to the races for Bill Mott, who does excellent work with layoffs, we will be taking a wait-and-see approach regarding her current status. 
 
Fiftyshadesofhay, a three-time graded stakes winner last year as a 3yo, ships in from California for Bob Baffert.  She was far from embarrassed in her three tries vs. Beholder and Princess of Sylmar last year, and is sure to attract a lot of attention in this spot.  We just have never been big fans of hers, and are never afraid to be in against her, especially when she's a short price. 
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To us, the two right horses in here are My Wandy's Girl and, to a lesser extent, Toasting.  My Wandy's Girl seems to be suited to these middle-distance one-turn races around here, and she will be looking to better her unlucky runner-up effort in this race last year, when she was caught four-wide throughout and fell short of catching a rail-riding winner.  She enters the Ruffian this year off a strong effort in the Grade 2 Barbara Fritchie.  She did all of the dirty work that day, going after the speedy La Verdad right off the blocks and gamely dueling her down through the stretch.  La Verdad came back in her next start to post a big 121 speed figure in winning the Grade 2 Distaff Handicap. 
 
Selections:  2-4-6-1
 
 
Race 9:  
 
A strong field is assembled for this Grade 1 turf event, a race in which we think we could make a case for backing any one of 5 or 6 of the 8 horses entered.  Grandeur may be the horse to beat based on his overseas form, and it's to his credit that he has proven to be a capable shipper.  He made a return trip to the states last year for the Arlington Million, after winning a couple of graded stakes in California as a 3yo (note: No Lasix!), and while he was no factor in the Million, he was caught wide throughout from post 13. 
 
He will need to bring one of his best races to defeat this field, however.  Imagining is a typical late-developing runner for Shug McGaughey, and he had a career-year in 2013, at the age of 5.  He received a curious ride in his 2014 debut, in the GP Turf Handicap, taking back to last before coming with a game wide run for 2nd, but he has more tactical speed than that and is a dangerous horse in this race.
 
Amira's Prince would have been our choice in this race were he in his 2013 form.  He hasn't been at his best in two starts so far this year, but is now third off of the long layoff for Bill Mott and may be ready to step forward.  If that's the case, expect him to be a handful in here.
 
We think Real Solution is a major player in this spot and want to use him on all tickets.  He caught soft turf off the layoff at Fair Grounds and didn't fire his best shot, but he proved last year that he is capable of a race that would be plenty good enough in here, and his trainer, Chad Brown, is firing on all cylinders through the first two weeks of this meet. 
 
We are going to go in another direction for our main play in this race, based mostly on price considerations.  In a lot of ways, Vertiformer may simply be in too tough today.  However, outside of Real Solution's promotion to 1st via disqualification in the Arlington Million last year, there are no Grade 1 winners in this field, and he may be getting good at the right time.  Vertiformer returned from a long layoff in January with a trainer change to Christophe Clement, and the improvement in his performance has been noticeable.  He did appear to be a short horse first off the layoff in Texas, but was ready to travel 1 1/2 miles last time at GP, and but for being locked in through the final turn and forced to try to rally up the rail in the stretch, would likely have won that Grade 2 event.  The horse that finished just behind him that day, Slumber, had previously acquitted himself well vs. Real Solution and Imagining in last year's Turf Classic. 
 
We think it may be the right time to get a price on Vertiformer, while recognizing that it won't be easy for him in the Man O' War. 
 
Selections:  3-6-2-1
 
 
Race 10:  We will be playing the late Pick 4 looking to get alive to three horses here:  #3 Manoffire, who raced very greenly after being steadied out to last early on in his GP debut, and now faces fellow NY-breds in his second start; #9 Thurgood, who has the strong combination of a non-typical NY-bred pedigree, and a trainer who excels with first time starters; and #11 Hard Rumor, who did nothing with a nice trip when last seen at the end of his two-year-old season, but is expected to improve with first time lasix today.
 
Selections:  9-3-11-7
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