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TimeformUS Belmont Analysis for Friday May 30

TimeformUS Analyst Mike Beer

Race 1:  #2 Cool Cat Tale is getting what could be a major trainer change for his second start: to Michael Mareina, who has been quiet lately, but has made some noise around here over the past few years, and is still pulling a 91 trainer rating; won't take much improvement against this field.  #4 Safari Samba ran well enough without a perfect trip last time, and is still eligible to improve for Rudy.  Both #6 Island Therapy and #7 Political Farce are contenders exiting a tough race for the level, but they've had enough chances already.
 
Selections:  2-4-7-6
 
 
Race 2:  Significant drop in class here for #9 Daddy Loves Gold, who found a very tough spot off the layoff (99 race rating, as compared to today's 77), and she wound up chasing a hot pace that day (denoted by Pace Figures for the race leader in red).  
 
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As an added advantage, Pace Projector places her in front this time in a race that favors that running style.  #10 Thundering Gale has handled the switch over to grass, posting a win going long, and making solid late runs in each of her two sprint starts; picks up Castellano for this.  Our backup in the Pick 5 will be #7 Radiant Cut, whose best game is sprinting on turf, which she has gotten to do only once since a convincing maiden score in 2012, and that came after almost a year layoff.
 
Selections:  9-7-10-1
 
 
Race 3:  #1 Roman Approval made a promising run for 2nd behind stakes-bound Bay of Plenty in his first start since shipping in to race for trainer Mike Hushion (who gets a perfect 100 rating with horses making their second start out of his barn); was banging heads with fellow import Tonito M. in Puerto Rico before arriving stateside, and that horse finished 2nd in graded stakes competition at Santa Anita earlier in the month.  
 
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#2 Charge Now is well-bred and well-connected, and is expected to be a short price in this spot; we weren't blown away with his maiden win at GP, but recognize his upside.  #6 Long Water finally broke through with a win in start number 7, but it came against a modest field and didn't earn a strong figure.
 
Selections:  1-2-6-5
 
 
Race 4:  #9 Acrostic was eliminated from contention in her debut before putting in a solid effort vs. better here last May; layoff is the obvious concern, but Castellano sees fit to ride. #8 Saratoga Karaoke is running out of chances quickly, if she hasn't used them up already, but she had a tough go of it last time when forced into a long wide run through the turn.  #11 Benny's Bullet ran well in both starts over this track and trip last fall and now drops down after giving way badly in her 3yo debut.  
 
Selections:  9-8-11-3
 
 
Race 5:  #8 Chisholm was last seen chasing next-out Grade 3 winner Dunkin Bend over a speed-favoring track at Saratoga last summer; starts back for Pletcher, who is rated highly off layoffs (95) and with runners dropping from MSW to MCL (100).  
 
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#1 Ruby's Rocketman also drops in class, with more recency than the top one, while switching from turf to dirt for a new barn.  #3 Eight Cents is the fastest horse in the race to this point, but is obviously vulnerable to one of his more lightly raced opponents stepping forward.
 
Selections:  8-1-3-6
 
 
Race 6:  #3 Favor Factor was a promising 3yo turf runner last year, but his lone starts on that surface following a convincing allowance score at Saratoga last July have come in the Grade 3 Saranac and then in a race at Gulfstream against Kaigun and Hey Leroy, a pair of horses who have acquitted themselves very well in graded stakes competition this year; figures tough in this field with one of his good races.  Not much separating the rest, although #1 Wind of Bosphorus projects for a clear early lead in a race that may favor that running style. 
 
Selections:  3-1-7-2
 
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Race 7:  #4 Run a Dubb Dubb has been holding very good form, including a three-race win streak earlier this year, and she was ahead of a couple of these when clearly second-best behind a sharp wire-to-wire winner last time; Pace Projector indicates that there is enough speed signed on to give her a fair chance.  
 
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#3 Humorus Dilemma has done nothing wrong while using her speed to good effect in a pair of well-spaced starts, and should still have some improvement in her.  #7 Your Time Is Up has been flat in her two most recent starts after putting together three straight wins with competitive figures over the winter; needs to rebound in order to contend here.
 
Selections:  4-3-1-7
 
 
Race 8:  #6 Premium has a very big pedigree and began her career with promise before falling off badly last year; surprised that lasix isn't listed as part of the package, but McLaughlin has a history of success with imports, especially on grass.  #5 Frege is just 1-for-14, but she's run well enough to win a race like this several times, including her last start at Gulfstream, where she got going a little too late and just missed; should have some pace to run at in this spot.  #10 Roses for Romney made a nice return from the layoff with a trainer change to Clement and is a very dangerous horse in this race, as long as she settles early.
 
Selections:  6-5-10-1
 
 
Race 9:  #5 None Like Nolan has finished up well in both dirt sprints to begin his career, and will now make a surface switch that figures to suit him based on his pedigree (his dam was Grade 2 placed and her 4 career wins all came on turf, and she is from the female family of Naissance Royale, a multiple graded stakes winner on turf around here a few years ago).  #1 Social Affair is also very well-bred, and he rates to improve in his 3yo debut after displaying some promise last year.  #10 Kato has run well on the dirt in his last two starts, and he has enough turf in his pedigree to handle the change for an underrated trainer. 
 
Selections:  5-1-10-4
 
 
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TimeformUS Belmont Analysis for Thursday May 29

TimeformUS Analyst Mike Beer

Race 1:  No one to trust in opener full of horses who have displayed little talent to this point.  #3 Ballerena Bliss is among the most lightly raced, and since we wouldn't mind being on the early lead in a race like this, we will allow ourselves to be swayed by her having the top early pace rating in the field; she also earned a 77 TimeformUS Speed Figure for her also-ran 3rd in debut, a number that lays over this field.  
 
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Selections:  3-7-1-6
 
 
Race 2:  The #1 entry may wind up being tough here as they both drop in class for good trainers, but neither one of them is particularly scary at a short price, so we'll look elsewhere.  #7 Giant Fox drops down for the first time while switching over to grass, and he has the pedigree to assimilate being by Giant's Causeway and out of a dam who has two prior foals to try grass, and they were both winners over it.  This is not a bad spot for a first-time starter to land in, so we could give #4 Nine Forty a look in here for George Weaver, and he's a brother to a pair of grass winners overseas.  #2 In Speight Ofitall is a horse we will include, as he'll be a price and is way better on grass.
 
Selections:  7-4-2-5
 
 
Race 3:  #5 Dawly picked up his game significantly after getting stretched out in distance last winter, stringing together several races that are going to make him tough in here; dead game once again last time while giving futile chase to a very sharp winner.  #1 Mr Palmer is the one to beat as he steps back from stakes company and drops back in distance, but we've been a little disappointed in him overall after being on his bandwagon as a 3yo.  #2 Summer Sunset is plenty fast enough to win this, and Pace Projector indicates that he may get the best trip of the three mentioned here.
 
Selections:  5-1-2-3
 
 
Race 4:  #5 Bajan Summer had a tough task chasing the 1-2 finishers of his debut run all the way through the turn before tiring badly, but he returns on grass with a strong pedigree rating for the switch (89, dam is sister to Val de Bois, a multiple graded stakes winner on grass, who was 2nd in the Breeders' Cup Mile in 1991), for a trainer sporting a perfect 100 rating first-turf.  
 
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#4 Old Friend also brings a strong pedigree rating into his turf debut (90) and he had some early trouble in his first start, which was contested over a speed-favoring track at Keeneland.  Of the experienced turfers, we prefer #12 Junger, whose lone try over this distance on grass found him chasing a fast pace and then just failing to last.
 
Selections:  5-4-12-7
 
 
Race 5:  #2 Bounty Pink has buried weaker in each of her last two dirt starts, and will get a stiffer test here, but we think she's heading the right way and has found the right spot.  #1 Two Blue Hens is dropping back down, which figures to help, and she has won over this distance on synthetic, but that wasn't one of her faster efforts.  
 
Selections:  2-1-6-4
 
 
Race 6:  #5 Chelsea Road is cut in half for her return to turf, and her lone race for this trainer on this surface was a strong one at Saratoga last year, and he re-claimed her right away for his top owners.  #6 Persnickity doesn't want to go long, so turning back to this distance will help, and her turf-sprint form from last year is very competitive with this bunch. #8 Sunrise Kitty has lost three straight turf sprints as the favorite, but vs. better, and figures to benefit from the class relief she gets here.  
 
Selections:  5-6-8-4
 
 
Race 7:  #6 Don Tito has been in very good form recently, so it may be best to forgive him for his uncompetitive run in the slop last time; he's earned strong TimeformUS Speed Figures for each of his three wins since being claimed by these connections, and he has the tactical speed to get the right trip here.  
 
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#2 Sam Sparkle is an infrequent winner, but he's talented and is dropping out of tougher races.  We'll see what we get from #8 Head Heart Hoof, who hasn't been seen since being claimed by Jacobson over three months ago; he projects as the clear speed in this matchup, and there was a time when he would have used that to great advantage. 
 
Selections:  6-2-8-5
 
 
Race 8:  #5 Nuffsaid Nuffsaid got a well-deserved layoff after ripping off a series of strong efforts off the claim by sharp connections last summer.  If she returns in the form that she was in when she left, she'll be a handful.  #3 Sky Skier and #4 Laguna Girl both hold good form, but they also both have speed and could potentially hurt each other early on.  
 
Selections:  5-3-4-2
 
 
Race 9:  #10 Copper Bluff gets some needed class relief as she makes her second start off the layoff, and she's run well enough several times over to be very tough on this field. #11 Absolute Beauty is taking a significant class drop for Rudy, and is very logical as the ML favorite.  #8 Caught by You is clearly a huge wild card returning from a two-year layoff, but she was running layover numbers prior to hitting the sidelines, and projects for a loose early lead in here, if she can still run.  
 
Selections:  10-11-8-5
 
 
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TimeformUS Belmont Analysis for Monday May 26

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.  
 
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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.
 
Selections:  5-2-4-3
 
 
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.
 
Selections:  3-4-6-1
 
 
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. 
 
Selections:  5-6-2-7
 
 
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.
 
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#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.
 
Selections:  4-2-3-1
 
 
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.
 
Selections:  10-4-1-7
 
 
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.
 
Selections:  5-4-9-1
 
 
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.
 
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#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.
 
Selections:  1-6-7-3
 
 
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.  
 
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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.
 
Selections:  2-5-1A-4
 
 
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.
 
Selections:  4-8-1-2-5
 
 
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).  
 
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#3 Special Selection has run well enough to compete here, and he is always a price.
 
 
Selections:  6-3-1A-11
 
 
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TimeformUS Belmont Analysis Sunday May 25

TimeformUS Analyst Mike Beer

Race 1:  #4 Tiz Dark is 2/5 on the ML for Pletcher after making a promising debut here a couple of weeks ago.  He certainly ran well enough there, and earned a solid figure for the effort, but we are very interested in #3 Sendario, another second-time starter, but one who figures to have benefited greatly from his debut.  Sendario raced greenly while outrun in that slow-paced sprint, but he was running at the end and galloped out strongly.  
 
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We think Sendario is eligible to come way forward here, and will take a small shot with him against the favorite.
 
Selections:  3-4-5-1
 
 
Race 2:  #4 Precarious has proven form over this distance, has the positional speed to get any kind of trip, and ran very well to just miss over this track and trip last time.  We think she should be favored in this race, and will take her over the Clement second-time starter, #5 Seda Francesa, and #1 Concise, who projects to be on the lead in a race that favors that running style.
 
Selections:  4-5-1-2
 
 
Race 3:  #6 Off My Cloud has run all of the fastest races in here, save #4 Happy Recap's March 15 win over an intensely speed-favoring track, and she picks up Castellano in her first start off the claim by a very sharp trainer (84 rating off the claim, 100 going route-to-sprint).  
 
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#1 Painted Poney buried a weak field with an easy front-running trip here opening weekend, but that was only her second start on dirt, and she is our other horse.
 
Selections:  6-1-4-3
 
 
Race 4:  Both #1 Elroi and #8 Trainingforsuccess emerged from Race 2 on May 4th with excuses and are players in this race, but we are more interested in a couple of other horses in here.  #7 Mark My Way was all potential in two turf starts last year, and can reasonably be expected to have developed further during his winter break.  We will take him off the layoff, and also use #5 Birchwood Road, who ran much better last year than his 1-for-6 record would indicate.
 
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Selections:  7-5-8-1
 
 
Race 5:  If nothing else, there is enough speed entered in this race to anticipate a fair running, and we are going to hope that #3 Buckeye Heart can finally catch the right scenario to take advantage of.  He is an effective closing sprinter on his best day, and this race figures to set up for him with speed toward the inside in #1 Tummel and #2 Upward, and speed outside from #5 Rigby.  #4 Define is in good form as the ML favorite, and any pace that develops helps his cause, as well, but Buckeye Heart is going to be tough for us to resist at a square price.
 
Selections:  3-4-1-5
 
 
Race 6:  #2 Moon Back More was scratched from what appeared to be a likely spot earlier in the meet, which doesn't thrill us, but he still has run the fastest races of this group, and the distance poses no problem.  #1 Letsfaceitjohnny and #7 Beau Who appear to be the logical alternatives. 
 
Selections:  2-1-7-4
 
 
Race 7:  #3 Amulay would be very hard to beat here if we are off the turf. Otherwise, we will try #2 Go Olivia Go, switching to turf off the claim.  She was in solid form all winter, has more tactical speed than her main rivals, and ran respectably on turf in April.  #7 Onthekisser and #9 Dance With Gio are the ones to beat, but are both closers in a race lacking much pace.
 
Selections:  3-2-7-9
 
 
Race 8:  #4 Daring Dancer has been highly impressive in taking each of her first three career starts, and doesn't figure to be hindered by added distance here considering her pedigree and running style. One of the horses behind her in the Appalachian last time, #1 Recepta, has a legitimate chance to turn the tables on her here, however, and may be the right kind of price, as well.  Recepta was trying a wide sweeping run through the turn in the Appalachian while Daring Dancer was getting a perfect ground-saving trip, and with her inside draw over this distance on the inner, she could pull the right trip.
 
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Selections:  1-4-7-3
 
 
Race 9:  #10 Knox had his scheduled turf debut rained off earlier in the meet, and may suffer the same fate a second time, but we're on board if this one stays on.  #6 Pilatus was second best to a runaway winner when dropped down at Gulfstream in March; figures tough in here if we're on the turf, as does #11 School Yard, who has been close more than once at around this level, and starts for an underrated trainer.
 
Selections:  10-6-11-7
 
 
 
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