Friday, June 27, 2014
TimeformUS Analyst Mike Beer
TimeformUS Belmont Analysis for Saturday, June 28
Race 1: #5 Round made a promising debut last September when racing wide against a track that was carrying inside speed all day, staying on gamely to the end; returns with lasix on.
#2 Flat Jack turns back with blinkers on for second start off of a short break, and he ran TimeformUS Speed Figures in his last three sprint races that are competitive here. #6 Pecorino is logical for Pletcher, but he exits a no-excuse loss at a short price out of town and may be over-bet again.
Race 2: #9 Tordita didn't take to grass last time, and is now cut in half, class-wise, by a trainer whose rating in this category suggests that he drops to win (91 rating with claimers down in class, as opposed to his overall rating of 66); something similar to either of her two main track sprint efforts to date is going to make her tough in here.
#5 Home to Carrowkeel is a first-time starter for a dangerous trainer, and she is a half-sister to both Please Impress (a 14-time winner who put over $250k in the bank) and Kilnockagain (a winner of four of her eight dirt sprints and a debut winner, as well). #3 Naughty Matilda switches back to dirt while dropping down in class, and she has the kind of early speed that could make her dangerous in the right field. #6 Untiltherewasyou offered nothing in her debut over grass but is a half-sister to several solid dirt performers.
Race 3: #1 Chelsea Road and #6 Persnickity exit a strangely run race, where a longshot went to the lead on a seemingly too-fast pace, and yet managed to take the field all the way, with the closers unable to pose any threat in the stretch. We liked them both in that race, and are having a tough time taking the race at face value, so we will give them another chance here. #4 Harbingerofthings makes her third start off the layoff, and she was in way over her head on synthetic last time; has sprinted effectively on turf in the past.
Race 4: The Mother Goose is #2 Untapable's race to lose, as she finds none of the other top 3yo fillies lining up to challenge her, and it may not have mattered even if she did. Her three races so far this year put her at a different level than these, and if she shows up with something approaching her best, she is unlikely to lose. #5 Aqua Regia is as honest as a horse can be, and she has consistently run TimeformUS Speed Figures that are second-best in the field. #1 House Rules developed rapidly at Gulfstream over the winter while grabbing a couple of graded-stakes placings; didn't fire big in the Acorn, but is still eligible to improve. #3 Princess Violet is a talented NY-bred sprinter who has found a tough spot in which to step up and stretch out, and #6 Stopchargingmaria, the only other stakes winner in the field outside of the favorite, is not fully committed to running here, but will be a clear-cut second choice if she does.
Race 5: #1 Acrostic didn't kick in with a big run while making her first start back from a long layoff, but she raced on steadily in what could be viewed as a good place to start; ran quite well in her lone NY start last year; projects to be in a good trip up with the pace from her inside post, and Castellano sticks. #5 Winner's Legacy may be the horse to beat as she makes her second start of the year and drops down for Weaver (gets a strong 98 rating with horses going from MSW to maiden claiming), but her form has dropped off precipitously, and she wasn't ever that good to begin with. #8 Shaikha has settled for minor awards so far at around this level, and she emerged from her last race, which was her first for this barn, with no excuse after a good trip.
Race 6: Not much in the way of pace signed on for this 9-furlong turf event, so we'll see if anyone can take advantage of that. The likeliest candidate for that figures to be #1 Lady's Lunar Luck, who took the best of the draw, but there are some progressive-looking fillies in this spot. #7 Fashion Fund earned solid marks as a 2yo overseas, and she has run quite well both outs over here, carrying ground all the way while breaking her maiden at Keeneland, and then racing wide again when finishing close-up to next-out winners Walk Close (now 3-for-3 after winning a stakes race here last weekend) and Hillhouse High.
#11 Abbey Street didn't draw well on the outside and doesn't have much speed, but she improved with the trainer change two starts back, and then wound up completely blocked with nowhere to run last time. Not sure what happened with #5 Lawn Party in the Wonder Again stakes, but she ran very well one start prior to that despite a tough wide trip from a far outside post.
Race 7: We like #6 Pinball better as a dirt horse, and were surprised to see him lacking speed when switched back from turf last time; adds blinkers and lands in a spot where Pace Projector places him in a favorable trip on the pace and in the clear. We'll give him a chance to bounce back at a price, and will also use #4 Big Business, who lost a heartbreaker to the streaking Zivo when well ahead of Pinball last time, as he also has speed to use to his advantage. #7 Irsaal is the ML favorite, and has ability, but we fear he may be better on a wet track, and both #1 Capo Bastone and #2 Sailmate, while capable, need pace to be at their best, and may not get enough of it.
Race 8: #6 Green Mask received what was perhaps an overconfident ride when making his turf debut last time, but he was very impressive to win nonetheless, while posting a 100 TimeformUS Speed Figure; projects to be in a good spot early behind a stretch-out sprinter, #9 Glacken Too, who is trying turf for the first time. #7 Cabo Cat fired another good one, sweeping around horses while four-wide through the turn and then battling gamely to the finish, but settled for second-best yet again behind the top one last time; may appreciate the presence of Glacken Too more than anyone else in the field. #4 So Lonesome was impressive upon his return to NY last month, laying down a fast pace and continuing on gamely to prove much best that day; was a stakes winner last year from off the pace.
Race 9: The Grade 2 New York features an enticing match-up between two runners who figure to be major players in the top races for longer-distance turf females throughout the year: #1 Tannery and #2 Riposte. Tannery managed to win only two of her first ten starts after arriving here from her native Ireland back in 2012. But she ran much better than the bare results would indicate. One of those losses came in this race last year, when she was unable to work out a clear run after saving ground all the way. She acquitted herself quite well vs. males in both the Sword Dancer and the Red Smith, and she became a Grade 1 winner when taking a strong edition of the E. P. Taylor last fall. Her first start back as a 5yo resulted in a workmanlike victory at Monmouth over a distance shorter than her best. She figures to benefit greatly from having that run and from this stretch-out in distance.
Her main rival is Riposte, a Juddmonte Farms import who exits a clear-cut victory in last month's Grade 2 Sheepshead Bay. Riposte, like Tannery, had trouble finding the winner's circle after arriving stateside, but she emerged from each of her defeats with viable excuses (caught behind exceedingly slow paces in Florida, she then endured a brutal wide trip at Keeneland) and finally broke through once given more ground with which to work. While she likely benefited from getting stretched back out in distance last time (she was a Group 2 winner over 1 1/2 miles in England), she also was given a heads-up ride by Joel Rosario, who went straight to the lead and controlled the race from start to finish.
There is truly little to separate these two talented runners. Their top TimeformUS Speed Figures fall closely in line, and, since they figure to be similar prices come post time, there is no real advantage to be found from a straight-up wagering perspective.
The runner with the best chance to upset those two figures to be #3 Inimitable Romanee, who, after burning much money at the start of her career, has turned things around with added distance, posting a trio of upsets in graded-stakes company from her last four starts. She is facing much tougher competition today in the form of Tannery and Riposte, but she has the ability to pull any kind of trip in a race. She should not be completely dismissed.
Race 10: Pace Projector indicates that this race will be run at a fast pace, which is perfect for #10 Majestic Raffy, who was sent into a premature wide run from off of a slow pace last time, only to get run down late by a perfect-trip winner; claimed by a going concern out of that strong effort, and gets a big rider change. #12 Storm has won both of his turf starts by getting up either on or near the early lead and then finishing best of all through the stretch; won't be taking this field wire to wire from post 12, but he's talented and should have no problem making a run from somewhere off the pace, assuming he can get into position from his tough post. #2 I Got Id wired a field with an easy lead last time, but he has run well from off the pace before, has upside, and drew a perfect post for this distance on the inner.