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TimeformUS Analysis For July 5

TimeformUS Analyst Mike Beer

 

TimeformUS Belmont Analysis for Saturday, July 5
The Stars & Stripes Festival
 
Race 1:  #7 Pedal Princess was well bet in her debut, going 5 furlongs at Atlantic City, and had a game finish from off of a moderate pace; showed enough there for us to take her against this field, and she has a big pedigree to live up to, one that suggests more distance is going to suit her.  #1 Lady Lavery had disappointed at short prices in each of her last two starts, so we don't want her on top at a short price, but this is as good a spot as she could have found for the level.  #4 Guilty Verdict was a no-show as the favorite in her 2yo finale, and switches to turf for Shug off the layoff; she's a question mark on this surface without much pedigree, but could be dangerous if this race is forced to the main track.
 
Selections:  7-1-4-6
 
 
Race 2:  Tough allowance for older sprinters here, appears open to several different horses.  #4 Eastwood is overdue to begin paying dividends for his new connections, and dropping out of the Grade 2 True North figures to benefit him; he has speed but doesn't need the lead, and will get a final chance from us today.  #7 Green Gratto is a dangerous and underrated sprinter who is a standout on our speed figures. His last 5 figures look like this 111, 110, 111, 110, 111.  They are the 5 fastest figures in the race, so it isn't easy to be against him in here, but with other speed for him to contend with in this spot, we'll put him behind Eastwood.
 
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#1A Be Bullish is an admirable old warrior who continues to show up and run competitively at the ripe old age of 9; he's also capable of sitting a trip, and he has faced some tough sprinters at Monmouth recently.  #3 Protocol has been impressive at times, and rates a chance with one of his good efforts, but his trainer has not been sending out live horses so far at this meet.
 
Selections:  4-7-1A-3
 
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Race 3:  #6 Iron Power is going to need his very best to defeat the likes of #2 Partly Mocha and #9 Isn'tlovejustgrand, but he flashed plenty of ability at times as a 3yo, and trying to get a route of ground, as he did in each of his two turf attempts since breaking his maiden over this distance, is not his game; has the speed to be involved early assuming he breaks the gate, which he's had trouble with in the past.  Isn'tlovejustgrand sat a perfect trip and defeated a salty group of $40k claimers here on Preakness day, and Partly Mocha rallied gamely after an awkward break to fall just shy of catching a front-running winner here last month; they are the two logical horses in here and must be used in any exotics.
 
Selections:  6-2-9-3
 
 
Race 4:  This year's running of the Grade 3 Dwyer drew a short field of six (five betting interests) and will go early on an otherwise very strong Belmont card on Saturday.  The coupled entry of #1 Kid Cruz and #1A Captain Serious has them coming and going here, with Pace Projector placing Captain Serious on a clear early lead while his entrymate settles back in last.  
 
We think Captain Serious, an undefeated NY-bred sprinter to this point, has ability, and having that early advantage may make him a dangerous player in this race, but he faces some serious obstacles in the form of the class hike and the distance stretch-out.  Kid Cruz, on the other hand, will be relying on his entrymate to keep the early fractions honest, as he does his best running from off the pace (note his powerful 112 Late Pace rating).  A convincing winner of a pair of stakes races in Maryland prior to trying his luck vs. the best of his generation in the Preakness Stakes, Kid Cruz came back to NY for Belmont Stakes Day.  But rather than trying the top 3yos again, he found a cozier spot early on the card and was a much-the-best winner of the Easy Goer Stakes with a new top TimeformUS Speed Figure of 106.  An effort similar to that one makes him the clear horse to beat in the Dwyer, and we are making him our top pick in the race.
 
The toughest call in the Dwyer figures to be what to do with #4 Tiz Dark. Trained by Todd Pletcher, he's a well-bred Tiznow colt from the family of the super-talented Cross Traffic, and he steps right up here off of a blowout maiden win over this track and trip earlier in the meet.  He is clearly a colt of some ability, and taking into account the amount of upside he still has, we find it hard to dismiss his chances vs. this field, even though he rates to have to improve greatly off of that MSW victory, earned over a blank field, to win this.  He's the 6/5 ML favorite, and while we can't get behind him at that price, he is difficult to leave completely out of the mix.  
 
#3 Ulanbator, like Kid Cruz, enters here off of a new top figure performance, his coming when second-best in the Grade 3 Matt Winn at Churchill Downs.  Also like Kid Cruz, he is a late-runner who will be looking for an honest pace to run into.  He's far from impossible, and we like that his trainer has been very live from limited starters at this meet, but of the two closers in the race, we much prefer Kid Cruz.  
 
#5 Gaining Ground appears overmatched from a variety of angles, and #2 Spot, while the lone graded stakes winner in the field, appears to be better as a sprinter and has been no factor in any of his three starts since upsetting heavily favored No Nay Never at Gulfstream back in March (albeit in some much tougher spots).  
 
Selections:  1-4-3-1A
 
 
Race 5:  Wide-open turf sprint for NY-bred maidens figures to go through the two favorites, #10 Dowse's Beach and #11 A Marked Man.  Either could win, but they're hard to get excited about, especially Dowse's Beach, who has blown a couple of good trips already going longer, and these horses turning back to sprint on turf tend to disappoint.  We're against him ,and only slightly more in favor of A Marked Man, another who has had perfect trips in both of his turf starts and come away empty so far.  #9 Blue Chips Only will try again after having his scheduled turf debut rained off earlier in the meet; dam's 3 career wins all come over turf, and she made almost $130k on this surface.  #8 Latigo Trail can also be given one more on turf, as he was caught up in a fast duel last time and only succumbed to the closing winner right at the end.  
 
Selections:  9-8-11-12
 
 
Race 6:  The Belmont Sprint Championship figures to go through #2 Central Banker and, to a lesser extent, #3 Clearly Now.  If you haven't had enough of Clearly Now yet, then we suppose you should give him yet another chance, although considering the price he figures to be, you're not getting back much of whatever money you've lost on him so far.  He's a talent, to be sure, but he's just his own worst enemy on the track, breaking slowly every week, and then finding still more trouble during the running.  Central Banker is the logical horse in here, and, in our opinion, should be a clear-cut favorite over the troubled Clearly Now.  The others all have a race in them that could get them close, and if the favorites show up with something less than their best, this could turn out to be a very interesting race.  #8 Big Screen could have rated higher for us, were he not cross-entered to run at Monmouth on Saturday.  If he runs here we will use him, as we think his best game is showing speed on the dirt, and this is a race that is very much open to aggressive tactics from someone. 
 
Selections:  2-3-8-9
 
 
Race 7:  We have an in-depth analysis of the Grade 1 Belmont Derby posted to our Stakes Preview page, but we really like #4 Adelaide in this race.  He has run very well in all four of his career starts to this point, and will have no issue with the distance of this race.  We like a shipper on top, but our other uses in the race are all Americans.  #9 Mr Speaker was highly disappointing in the local prep for this last time, but he was so promising leading into that one that we have to forgive and forget and give him one more chance.  #6 Dance With Fate is talented and figures to be price, and #3 Bobby's Kitten may be the most talented horse in the race, although whether he can carry his immense talent 1 1/4 miles is a very big question.  
 
Selections:  4-9-6-3
 
 
Race 8:  After being turned back to nine furlongs for the past four runnings, this year's edition of the Grade 2 Suburban Handicap will again be contested at the distance of 1 1/4 miles.  The added distance scared no one away, as 11 older horses are set to go in this historic race, and a better betting race may not be easy to find. Despite the longer distance, this race figures to have at least an honest pace, and Pace Projector indicates that a group of horses may find themselves racing clear of the pack in the early stages.  
 
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That may set things up best of all for our top pick in the race, and since we're still talking about a handicap race here, let's begin with #5 Last Gunfighter, who is the high weight in the field.  
 
Last Gunfighter is not a household name, but he is a winner of 9 of his 16 career races and over $1.1 million for trainer Chad Brown.  There is nothing at all flashy about this 5yo son of First Samurai. All he does is show up and run.  He has posted TimeformUS Speed Figures between 109 and 118 for each and every start dating back to January of last year, and since that January race, he has taken his game to Pimlico, Belmont (he was a game 2nd in this race last year behind Flat Out), Monmouth, Santa Anita, Hawthorne, and Penn National.  He may not be the most talented horse in the handicap division.  Heck, he may not even be the most talented horse in this year's Suburban field.  But he handles any surface, is unfazed by pace scenarios fast or slow, is a dead-game fighter at crunch time, and stays all day.  We love this horse, and we know that he will once again be laying it all on the line Saturday.  
 
The ML favorite for the race is #6 Romansh, who won the most recent running of Aqueduct's Excelsior with a 117 TimeformUS Speed Figure before finishing a game 3rd behind Palace Malice in the Met Mile.  Romansh has shown flashes of real ability in the past.  Flashes that make you think this Godolphin color-bearer could well take down a very big prize at some point this year.  The problem with him is that he has also been very unreliable, and so taking a short price on him is always a tricky proposition.  Further complicating things for Romansh is that expected pace we were considering earlier.  There is no shortage of speed signed on to the Suburban, and with #8 Stormin Monarcho,  #9 Vyjack,  and #11 Moreno lining up outside of him, Romansh, a horse who likes to take up a tracking spot on the outside of horses, may not be able to land the most comfortable trip in this race.  We think he may have the best race to get to, and can't leave him completely out of our play, but we're trying to beat Romansh on Saturday. 
 
Our other main use, to go with Last Gunfighter, is #1 Micromanage.  Micromanage ran very well when unable to hold off a grinding #4 Norumbega over 1 1/2 miles last time, but he ran the better race of the two and figures to benefit more than that rival from this turn-back in distance.  
 
#11 Moreno is a talent who was entered into the wrong kind of race last time and fits better in this field, but he didn't draw well, and there may be too much other speed lined up here for him to pull the right trip.  We like him and will find a way to include him should he be sent off at overlaid odds, but we wonder if he's landed in the wrong spot again.
 
Selections:  5-6-1-11
 
 
Race 9:  We also have a more in-depth look at the Grade 1 Belmont Oaks posted to the Stakes Preview page, and this is a race that deserves a longer look, as it appears open to several different horses.  #7 Xcellence is a deserving ML favorite and horse to beat, as she has kept the best company and run the fastest races.  We aren't wildly against her, but we have a feeling that she has overachieved to this point, and there are plenty of other ways to go.  We like #1 Goldy Espony, another French import who has group credentials and will have no problem with the distance.  We can be against dual Grade 1 winner #2 Room Service, especially if she is sent off at her ML odds, and would rather use horses like #5 Flying Jib, #6 Rosalind, and #10 Recepta
 
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Selections:  1-10-5-7
 
 
Race 10:  This race goes through #6 Point Roll, who has been highly impressive on turf to this point and buried a field of maidens when last on turf here in May; forget the dirt race last time.  Main danger is #12 Hidden Vow, who is just 1-for-21 lifetime, but ran a big one in a tough spot when last seen.  If one of those two doesn't win, we will lose.
 
Selections:  6-12-8-10
 
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TimeformUS Analysis For July 4

TimeformUS Analyst Mike Beer

TimeformUS Belmont Analysis for Friday, July 4

 
Race 1:  Well-matched field going 1 1/4 miles to start things, with each entrant showing a spotlight figure between 85 and 88 except for #7 Call Her Sunny, who is making only her second career start.  
 
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#3 Queen's Parade finished a game second to repeat winner Cat's Claw while outfinishing a couple of these earlier in the meet; owns field's top late pace rating, which could be all the difference.  #1 High Heel Kitten was narrowly outfinished by Queen's Parade in that May 16th race, but had to give away some early position to get to a ground-saving position from the outside that day, and moves to a much cozier post for this. Call Her Sunny didn't really do much running in her debut, but she can be given another chance, as her pedigree suggests she has license to be OK, and the others fail to inspire.  #6 Antrim Colleen is a contender, and she bested a few of these when outdueled through the stretch here last month, but we prefer the runners from the May 16th race.
 
Selections:  3-1-7-6
 
 
Race 2:  #1A Star Grazing makes her 3yo debut after flashing some promise despite finishing 2013 still a maiden; was way against an inside, speed-favoring track on showcase day when last seen.  Her entrymate, #1 Girlaboutown, will hurt the price, but she's an A. P. Indy out of a multiple Grade 2-winning dam, and her trainer can win with a first-time starter.  #3 Kleptocrat debuted for a tag but ran into odds-on drop-down Loomin' Lori Lou (who wired the field) and put in a strong finish, suggesting that she may be able to handle the climb into MSW company.  #4 Quit Smokin wound up in a fast duel in her return from a long layoff and paid the price, but will likely be fitter for this one. 
 
Selections:  1A-3-1-4
 
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Race 3:  We'll see which half of the Jacobson entry goes, as that may be the key to the race.  Either way, we'll take our chances with #2 Hackleton, who goes first off the claim for Rudy (98 trainer rating, and a winner here right off the take on Sunday) and who projects to be the speed from the rail.  Tough call if the 9yo warrior #1 Immortal Eyes is the one Jacobson decides to send, as he has back races that would bury this field, yet was a complete no-show at Delaware off the private purchase/trainer change, and is immediately offered for $40k.  #5 Request a Puck ran down #4 Doubledown Again in a weak-looking off-the-turfer last month, and #6 Bobby V. ran three good ones at AQU in March, but we don't trust him to hold that form for his new barn, and he was throttled here off the short break. 
 
Selections:   2-1-4-5
 
 
Race 4:  #3 Red Vine is a question mark going this 1 1/4-mile distance, but he's shown up every time so far, and he ran a big race last time after making a premature run to the lead. The once-promising #7 Mills is beginning to run out of chances, but we'll let him have one more, as he was kept unnecessarily wide throughout the running when stretched to this distance last time; new rider has been conscious of saving ground on turf at this meet.  #6 Royal Blessing posted a solid win over 1 3/8 miles at the end of last year, albeit with a perfect trip, and managed to win first time back from a much longer layoff than this last year.  #5 Legendary finished a good 2nd to Draw Two going longer at Keeneland, and was game to land a share of the top prize over this trip here earlier in the meet.  
 
Selections:  3-7-6-5
 
 
Race 5:  Good spot for the promising #6 Distorted Beauty to step up vs. other winners, as she has impressed in both career starts, and figures to have some pace to close into once again, which makes her standout late pace rating of 81 a potent number.  
 
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#2 White Crane may get caught up in the pace from her inside post, but she's tracked effectively before and can be very dangerous here if able to pull the right trip.  #3 Fantastic Eyes may require a drop in order to show her best, but she's run some big ones sprinting on the grass and will appreciate seeing some pace develop.  
 
Selections:  6-2-3-8
 
 
Race 6:  Pace Projector for this race favors the runners on or near the lead, and indicates that #3 Ghareeb should be able to get control from his inside post.  Understandable why Shadwell/Kiaran McLaughlin would be happy to make this headstrong and difficult to handle gelding someone else's problem going forward, but he has some ability when his mind is on running, which it isn't all of the time.  
 
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#4 Engine picked up long overdue maiden win at Parx last time and is immediately entered for the price by a very sharp trainer, whose horses tend to get good and stay good; think he's a better sprinter than router, so this 7.5-furlong distance may work OK for him.  #5 Cosmic Coincidence comes up a little slow on our figures, but has the speed to be a forward factor, and the others are difficult to endorse.  
 
Selections:  3-4-5-2
 
 
Race 7:  #2 Bio Pro disappointed in his NY debut off the private purchase, but he was back on the beam when powering clear of a short field over yielding ground last time; we'll take him over #4 Za Approval, whom we recognize as the horse to beat once again while not being big fans of his, and he was disappointing last time.  #1 Plainview is a dangerous speed on the inside, especially if the courses stay as firm as they have been over the past week or so, so we won't overlook him.  #6 Kharafa is a talented and consistent NY-bred who exits a strong win with a perfect trip in the Kingston; capable, but this is tougher.  
 
Selections:  2-4-1-6
 
 
Race 8:  #6 Apex gets the proper turn-back after a dead-game try going longer last time, and he was better than it looks in winning two back after getting up close to a fast pace early; Pace Projector places him up close early in a race that favors the front runners.  #5 Noble Doss also turns back after parlaying a perfect trip into a much-the-best score off the layoff last month; this is tougher, but it's not easy to trust some of the others.  #1A Reserved Quality caught a fast pace to close into at Monmouth last time but came up short at the end, which is something of the story of his life since being claimed by these connections (1 win, by a nose, and 5 in-the-money finishes from 7 starts);  doesn't figure to have that kind of pace today.  
 
Selections:  6-5-1A-7
 
 
Race 9:  #1 Baffle Me rated in the Intercontinental and paid the price for the tactical error as she wound up getting bounced around in traffic through the stretch while still finishing gamely, and she's something of a standout on our speed figures with her best effort.  #6 Waterway Run drops out of graded stakes company into a spot where she is supposed to be tough; held off #7 Orion Moon last time, and while that one had brief trouble in the stretch, she was clear with time and only second best.  
 
Selections:  1-6-7-8
 
 
Race 10:  #1 Assured Victory sprinted effectively on grass in a pair of tries last summer vs. better horses, and earned a 99 TimeformUS Speed Figure for one of those efforts, a number that would make him very tough in here should he be able to run something like it today; will be a price.  
 
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#6 Decisive Move faced much tougher at Fair Grounds when last seen, but this is the right kind of spot for him, and he is the horse to beat.  #8 River Boss has never sprinted on turf, which is a strong negative, but came through with a good effort when left in off-the-turf event over this trip last time, despite not being able to work out the best trip in the world. 
 
Selections:  1-6-8-2
 
 
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TimeformUS Analysis for July 3

TimeformUS Analyst Mike Beer

 

TimeformUS Belmont Analysis for racing on Thursday, July 3
 
Race 1:  On paper, there is plenty of potential for a strongly contested pace among any or all of the following: #1A Sweet Sway, #3 Here's Zealicious, and #6 Pearls for Girls.  We'll see if Sweet Sway indeed wheels back just six days after being claimed, and whether she is as sharp early as she was last time.  If she's not, or if her connections elect not to run, that may leave Here's Zealicious in the driver's seat.  Assuming the field stays intact, we'll give #2 Your Time Is Up a chance to land the right trip, which may be enough to help her get back to the solid form she was in earlier this year; last was a step in the right direction after dueling three-wide, a trip she has almost zero chance of pulling in this spot.  #5 Spinit to Winit is also hoping for that contested pace scenario as she turns back in distance.  
 
Selections:  2-5-3-6
 
 
Race 2:  #5 Navy Blue is by new sire Midshipman, who was a multiple Grade 1 winning two-year-old a few years ago, and is a half to the stakes-winning NY-bred sprinter Saltamontes, a winner of 5 races and over $200k in her career (Navy Blue's pedigree rating is a strong 97 for dirt sprints); trainer can pop with a first-time starter.  
 
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#4 Unauthorized figures ready for dangerous first-out connections of Klaravich/Violette, who have teamed up to win with many a 2yo first-time starter over the years.  #3 Just Economics has valuable experience, and his debut at Delaware was not bad after getting outrun early and forced to race wide throughout.  
 
Selections:  5-4-3-7
 
 
Race 3:  Some very good NY-bred mares entered for the $100k Dancin Renee, but it's difficult to work up much enthusiasm for standing against heavy ML favorite #1 La Verdad.  La Verdad was all heart to prevail going longer than she prefers last time, but gets the right turn-back here, is the fastest horse, and projects to be on a clear early lead.  We're happy to see #3 Willet back for a 6yo campaign, and will look forward to her landing in a race with a more favorable scenario going forward, perhaps at Saratoga.
 
Selections:  1-3-5-2
 
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Race 4:  More two-year-olds on tap here, and #2 Presto Magic has the experience edge on this group; figures to improve off that run, as she raced greenly in there while on the chase, but stayed gamely to the finish, and trainer Kelly Breen pulls a very strong 93 rating with second-time starters.
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#3 Cavorting is the most interesting newcomer, being out of Promenade Girl, who was a Grade 2 winner and was multiple Grade 1-placed in her career and earned over $678k, though she was at her best over a route of ground.  
 
Selections:  2-3-4-5
 
 
Race 5:  #10 Secret Ops switched to grass last time and wound up running off on a too-fast pace before tiring through the stretch; has to get an additional furlong today, but gets a positive rider change, and may settle more effectively with blinkers removed.  #9 Pilatus may be the horse to beat, but he holds no edge on speed figures, and couldn't take advantage of a perfect trip into a fast pace last time.  #2 Mischieviously may do better as he drops down for the first time, and he didn't get the best ride in the world in a race for amateur jockeys at Pimlico in his turf debut.
 
Selections:  10-9-2-4
 
 
Race 6:  We'll see what ultimately happens with #6 Tiznowforamerica, but we think he has more ability than is displayed on the bare form, and this appears to be a spot where he can begin to finally put everything together.  Tiznowforamerica has plenty of early speed, and Pace Projector for this race indicates that this may be the first race that he can control up front since last September, when he took a field of maidens wire to wire at Saratoga.
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We also think that getting that race in off the layoff may have benefited him, as that was a race that not only contained another speed for him to deal with, but had the talented Rock Fall (who appears to be on his way into stakes company) sitting a perfect tracking trip before blowing by when ready in the stretch.  This field may not be quite as tough, or at least there is no rival at the level of Rock Fall to deal with, and we think Tiznowforamerica may be set to rebound.
 
Selections:  6-3-2-7
 
 
Race 7:  Only seven for this turf sprint, and there is not much separating the three favorites, who are drawn in the three inside posts.  #1 Pep the Champ took advantage of a perfect pace set-up to break his maiden on the drop last time; #2 Distorted Dream, a disappointment on dirt earlier in his career, has improved since switched to grass and finished gamely after a wire-to-wire winner at Monmouth last time; and #3 Official made an OK turf debut going longer last month.  We have nothing to latch onto with those three as far as separating them goes but think #7 Lane Allen could be an interesting alternative.  Lane Allen's only turf start came in that same fast-paced race that produced Peb the Champ's maiden win, but Lane Allen didn't have near the perfect trip that that one had, and can be given another chance. 
 
Selections:  7-2-1-3
 
 
Race 8:  Tough calls on the two ML favorites, as #6 Ah Gaga is making her first start since mid-January, and #4 Discreet Force exits a dismal effort in her first start of the year and immediately drops in class.  The alternatives really aren't there, so we are going to rely on at least one of them to show up with a representative effort.  We could back-up with #2 Chocolat City, although she was pretty disappointing in her NY debut last month, and the top 2 are better than anything she faced in that spot.
 
Selections:  6-4-2-3
 
 
Race 9:  5 of the 8 for this turf route exit the 6th race on June 1st, and while #2 Strike Accord came away with the best placing that day, others had more-difficult trips, and, while we like her and have tried her often in the past, she just isn't the kind of horse that we are ever interested in taking at any short price.  This appears to be a situation where #4 Irish Sweepstakes can control the action up front, as Pace Projector places her in clear control early on, and she ran well enough in her turf debut for us to give her one more chance.  #6 Caribean Beat and #8 Alternative Meds were unable to impact that June 1st race from off the pace, but they were off of layoffs and had trouble exiting the chute that day; both are eligible to do much better. 
 
Selections:  4-8-6-7
 
 
Race 10:  #12 Illapa may be up against it from post 12 off the layoff, but we liked what we saw from her as a 2yo, and she figures to be too interesting a price to ignore.  #4 Skipping has dangerous speed, and figures to improve in her turf debut, being a half to Meribel, who won 6 times on grass in her career while making over $520k.  #11 Miadora is the "other"Clement, and she may also appreciate this surface switch as her dam is a sister to turf stakes winners Followmyfootsteps and Corporate Jungle.  
 
Selections:  12-4-11-1
 
 
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Forbes’ Firsters for Thursday, July 3, 2014

Jon Forbes

Forbes’ Firsters for Thursday, July 3, 2014

Race 4, 2-year-old fillies, six furlongs, 2:53 p.m.

CAVORTING (bay filly, Bernardini—Promenade Girl, by Carson City) looks to become the second winner from three starters out of her dam, who won five stakes, including the Grade 2 Molly Pitcher. Promenade Girl, who also finished third in the Grade 1 Ogden Phipps Handicap and Grade 1 Spinster, is a half-sister to restricted stakes winner Dattts Awesome.

Owner: Stonestreet Stables

Trainer: Kiaran McLaughlin

Jockey: Irad Ortiz, Jr.

Sales history: $360,000 Keeneland November weanling