Saturday, July 12, 2014
TimeformUS Analyst Mike Beer
TimeformUS Belmont Analysis for Sunday, July 13
Race 1: #2 Pitched has found the right spot as she switches back to dirt to face maiden claiming company on that surface for the first time. Last two main track efforts not as bad as they look as both February 17 and March 16 were days when the AQU track was featuring a strong rail, and Pitched was on the outside both times. Still, the 76 TimeformUS Speed Figure earned for that last dirt start is tops in the field by a clear margin. #3 Tordita isn't as fast as Pitched, was disappointing as the favorite last time, and is a question mark going this far. #4 Quality Legend is something of a wildcard, as she has never raced this cheap on dirt and has yet to run over a fast track; the most likely upsetter.
Race 2: #7 The Lady's Cruisen raced a bit greenly, then finished gamely to get 3rd behind favored Royal Jest and #1 Jennys Creek in her debut here three weeks ago; has the upside and figures to come forward for the experience for a trainer whose runners tend to improve from start #1 to start #2 (94 trainer rating).
Jennys Creek tries again in career start #17 after being only second-best last time; has attained a level that makes her competitive in here, but obviously doesn't have the upside that The Lady's Cruisen does. #5 Baby B has never had enough while showing speed on turf vs. MSW company, but those races were all going longer, and she may appreciate getting to sprint in her second start off the claim.
Race 3: #2 Bustin It steps into this $125k stakes race as a maiden, but we are pretty sure he's seeing a huge class drop after getting stuck chasing impressive Pletcher first-timer Nonna's Boy in his debut; still gave game chase to that talented rival all the way and is unlikely to be meeting anything near his equal in this spot. #3 Elusive New Yorker brought $220k as a yearling and as a half to 11-time stakes-winning millionaire Naught New Yorker has license to be a runner. #5 International Star is the lone entrant in the field with a prior win, but that came over turf after a perfect trip, and he will probably have to do better than that if Bustin It runs back to his debut.
Race 4: #12 Claiming Victory feels like the horse to beat as she takes a substantial class drop at the end of the meet, and it's not as if she has been off form; logical horse in a logical spot. We'll take a shot against her with #2 Lotsa Noodles, who also gets a class drop here while making her third start off the layoff for a trainer who has very quietly had a strong meet here; has run figures on turf in the past that make her very competitive here, and she'll be a price. #9 Implied is another one dropping down after trailing a field home at Delaware last time; posted big upset over allowance-type Frege at GP two starts back, and another effort like that would do in this spot.
Race 5: #5 High Inflation won her first two starts off the trainer change to Gary Gullo, and she received a confusing ride last time, with the 10-lb. bug never taking her clear through the stretch, and ultimately lacked room to run late; gets a change for this and projects to be in a good spot tracking a couple of longshots from the outside. #8 Rettalfa's gate woes continue, as she was away slowly once again last time and left with too much to do late when finishing a couple of lengths behind High Inflation; the horse to beat, if she can get away at least halfway decently. #3 Valerie Victoria makes what is essentially her 3yo debut here, and doesn't have much improving to do on her juvenile form to contend; has dangerous speed, though her new trainer isn't known to fire off the claim (46 trainer rating).
Race 6: #7 Mr. Masterpiece has quietly been in good form all year for a low-profile barn, and he had plenty of trouble when blocked through the upper stretch two back, when behind #6 Special Selection, who got a perfect trip; shuffled back last time behind a wire-to-wire winner, we can give him one more chance. Special Selection has been outrunning his odds in turf sprints for over a year now, and did so again when parlaying that perfect trip into a close 2nd two starts back; problem is, he's likely to be one of the favorites in this spot. Still, he's logical with this class drop. #5 Indy Sea got back to one of his good ones two back, and confirmed that he is back in form with a solid run over the main track last time. This is a good spot for the speedy #3 Slamarama to show some life, assuming he still has any, as he projects to be the clear speed in this field.
Race 7: #8 Bad Hombre ran several fast races as a 3yo before stepping up to stakes company and stretching out around two-turns; think these one-turn races suit him better, and he did not run poorly in a tough spot first time back this year. #6 This Hard Land, one of our favorites, is capable of a race that is very competitive with the two favorites in this race. He just doesn't always show up with his best stuff; we have enough questions about the main players in here, though, that we can use him. It was only three starts back that he was able to parlay the right trip into a huge upset over a field of similar quality. #1 Readthebyline would be almost unbeatable were he to show up and run as well today as he did when last seen, but he sped away over a speed-favoring track that day, hasn't been seen since being claimed out of that race, and faces a tougher crew here.
#5 Might Ian has improved greatly since being taken by his current connections, and his last two speed figures make him tough in here, but he's another one who hasn't been seen since a game runner-up finish here the first weekend of the meet.
Race 8: #2 Lubash finally gets away from Kharafa and King Kreesa, who are largely responsible for his recent 1-for-8 run, and is clearly the horse to beat as the favorite. We won't go against him, but it's not as if he can just mail it in against this field. #1 Compliance Officer has lost a step or two but showed last time that he can still produce under the right circumstances; would prefer a little cut in the ground. #5 Notacatbutallama has yet to improve upon his 3yo form so far this year, and blew a perfect-trip chance last time when gunned down by Compliance Officer without apparent excuse; still has races that make him tough and could still come forward.
Race 9: #1 White Sangria, #2 One Time Only, and #4 Fancy Boss are the three favorites on the ML, and they are the three horses to beat, but there are enough questions surrounding all of them to make this an interesting race to go looking for a better-priced option, and Pace Projector indicates that the three of them may wind up hurting each other up on the pace.
We'll take a shot against them with #3 Invading Humor, who may have been compromised by trying to rally through some stretch traffic down inside when last seen, and who will appreciate any pace that develops for her in this race.