Friday, May 20, 2016
TimeformUS Analyst David Aragona
TimeformUS Analysis for Racing at Belmont Park on Saturday May 21st
>>Go To TimeformUS Past Performances For These Races
Race 1: The two main players here exit the same race on April 13. That day, You Got It (#5), the less fancied half of the Rudy Rodriguez-trained uncoupled entry, was allowed to run off to a comfortable early lead. He was passed by Tom’s Gift in midstretch, but gamely battled back to win. You Got It returned to form after tailing off this winter and a repeat of that performance would make him a contender again. However, this time he must deal with the speed of Whiskey Neat (#6) just to his outside and potentially Boilermaker to his inside. We’re not in love with the idea of taking the favorite, but it’s hard to go against TOM’S GIFT (#7), who should sit a perfect trip just off what could be a contested pace up front. The only other runner we’d throw into the mix is Willie’s Mojo (#3), who is the wild card in this race. He improved when breaking his maiden last time, and now returns in his first start off the claim for Steve Asmussen as a new gelding.
Selections: 7 – 3 – 5 – 6
Race 2: When handicapping this race, one has to decide what to do with Onus (#2). It’s pretty clear that her best efforts could beat this field, but it’s hard to trust her completely given that she’s only produced those stellar performances at Laurel Park. She was disappointing when shipped to Churchill for the Mrs. Revere and now returns from a lengthy layoff. Shug McGaughey gets a decent enough 76 trainer rating with runners returning from layoffs of this type. We’re not way against her, but we believe some others will offer better value. Suffused (#5) put in a solid effort in her U.S. debut, finishing fifth in the Orchid after making a midstretch bid. This filly kept very solid company over in Europe, finishing behind a couple of Group 1-placed runners last summer. She should be fitter for her second start in this country and could be dangerous if she handles this shorter distance. We’re also interested in the two fillies coming out of that April 20 allowance race at Keeneland. Industrial Policy (#1) ran fairly well that day, but she’s not exactly a winning type and figures to pick up her usual minor award. We’re more intrigued by MOJO RISIN (#4), who did not get an ideal trip last time. Javier Castellano was never able to find any cover for her and she ended up racing three-wide in the clear all the way around the track, which seemed to dull her stretch kick. This filly was well-regarded in France, going off at just 9/2 in the 17-horse Group 1 Prix de Diane last year. If the good Mojo Risin shows up today, we believe she can beat this field.
Selections: 4 – 5 – 2 – 1
Race 3: It’s pretty cool to see a Queen’s Plate winner running in New York, but that doesn’t mean we’re interested in betting Shaman Ghost (#2). He appears to be coming into this race off a strong series of works, but we just have too many questions to back him at a short price. His speed figures are distinctly slower than what some of his more seasoned rivals have been running and the Pace Projector is predicting a situation that favors horses on or near the lead, which could really work against this closer. J S Bach will be that pacesetter, but we’re not convinced that he’s good enough to beat a field of this quality. We’ll instead rely on DONTBETWITHBRUNO (#1), who has run three solid races since the claim by Rudy Rodriguez. He may not have cared for the mud two back, but he had previously shown tactical speed, which should serve him well here. We like him to turn the tables on Indycott (#4). Touchofstarquality (#5) would be very interesting if he had a recent start under his belt, but he seems like the type that usually needs a race off a long layoff.
Selections: 1 – 4 – 5 – 2
Race 4: If ANIMAL APPEAL (#7) repeats the effort she put forth on opening day of this meet, she’s not going to lose this race. It’s that simple. None of the other fillies here seems capable of approaching that 110 speed figure, earned when setting a blazingly fast early pace before hanging on gamely in the late stages. There is other speed in this race (note that the Pace Projector is predicting a fast pace), but she’s drawn well outside of them. We’re not trying to beat her, but we will also use long shot First Charmer (#1) in hopes of completing the exacta. Most will perceive this trainer switch to Richard Metivier as a major negative, but the fact remains that she’s run some decent speed figures and appears to be better-suited to sprinting despite having broken her maiden going two turns. Perhaps she can work out a trip from just in behind the speeds. Startwithsilver (#4) seems like the likely second choice, but she wasn’t facing much in her initial turf start and will have to do much better than that to beat this group.
Selections: 7 – 1 – 4 – 6
Race 5: If he draws in off the also-eligible list, we would make ANALYZE DATTT (#11) our selection here. He actually hasn’t disgraced himself in either turf start, making a middle move into a quick pace on October 31 last year, and then finishing a decent fourth behind a trio of well-regarded runners at the recently completely Aqueduct meet. This would be a difficult post position, but we believe he has the ability to overcome it. If he doesn’t play, we’d land on Ezra (#6), who tries turf for the first time. He has a little surface pedigree as a half-brother to one turf winner, and he strikes us as the type of horse that should take to this surface. It’s encouraging that Jose Ortiz takes the mount and he should be placed up close early in a race lacking a clear pace scenario. There Goes Ben (#7) made a strong wide move to threaten for the win two back at the maiden special weight level before ultimately flattening out to be fourth. He’s been pretty inconsistent, but we can’t deny that his best effort would give him a major shot. We’re against morning line favorite Majority, whose turf races are not very good and has now lost twice in a row at very short prices.
Selections: 11 – 6 – 7 – 9 – 1
Race 6: Be a Hero (#1) has to be considered the horse to beat as he makes his first start off the claim for Bruce Levine. We felt that his rider was not aggressive enough in the early stages last time and let the eventual winner sneak away through slow (color-coded in blue) early fractions. This time Jose Ortiz has no choice but to send him from the rail post position. We’ll certainly use him, but our top pick is the runner drawn just to his outside. RICH ‘N’ TUCK (#2) had no business running in a mile and a sixteenth N1X allowance race last time and understandably tired badly in the stretch. We like that he’s turning back to a more appropriate distance. He’s run well in all of his other races since returning from the layoff in December and he has the tactical speed to be placed within striking range early. Bad Hombre (#6) also turns back after losing at this level last time, but he may have been hindered by a speed-favoring wet surface that day. It’s been a long time since he’s found himself in the winner’s circle, but he’s far from impossible. Attractive Ride (#4) would be dangerous if he could regain his early zip, but we wonder if he’s lost a step now at age 10.
Selections: 2 – 1 – 6 – 4
Race 7: Thomas Hill (#5) beat two of today’s rivals when he was last seen October 18 of last year. That effort would make him a major player in here, but we wonder if he’ll be ready for his best performance in his first start back from the layoff. Instead, we’re more interested in a couple of runners that finished behind in that very race. Special Selection (#12) has run some of his best races over this Belmont turf course and also has no trouble handling give in the ground, in case the rains come early. The only drawback is that he typically needs some pace to close into and we’re not sure how much of that he’s going to get here. Our top selection is RAPSCALLION (#6), who was forced to race three- to four-wide for most of the way when he finished two lengths behind Thomas Hill in his last turf race. He’s done some of his best work sprinting on this turf course and his tactical speed may give him an edge over the two aforementioned runners. We could also throw in The Imposter (#11) off his strong 2015 form. We realize that he had some excuses in his two losses since then, but we still wish he had shown a bit more fight in defeat.
Selections: 6 – 12 – 11 – 5
Race 8: Our top selection is AMETRINE (#8), who makes her three-year-old debut after getting seven months off following a strong debut effort last October. That day she finished second to the highly-regarded Ancient Secret, who returned just last week to register an impressive score against allowance company. We feel that Ametrine ran a much stronger race than today’s rival Tough Temper, who exits that same maiden heat. Whereas Tough Temper was setting the slow pace (color-coded in blue), Ametrine was a little slow into stride and made a four-wide move around the far turn before staying on in the stretch. David Donk gets a strong 92 trainer rating with horses returning from layoffs of this type. We could also use Katie Ice (#1), who took to turf pretty enthusiastically last time, earning a field-best 91 speed figure when finishing second on opening day of this meet. (Note: The chart caller incorrectly places Katie Ice eighth, 7 lengths back at the first call of her last race, though she was actually up close to the pace vying for third at that point.) At a bigger price, we could even use Out of Nowhere (#2), who had to endure a three-wide trip around both turns last time and actually ran a lot better than it appears. We’re not sure if she wants to go this short, but she’s one to consider in your trifectas.
Selections: 8 – 1 – 2 – 6
Race 9: The Pace Projector is not predicting a fast pace, but there does appear to be an ample amount of speed in this race. Its All Relevant, Easy Comparison, and especially Reverend Green all prefer to be placed on or near the lead in the early going. This could potentially complicate matters for our top selection, WAYMOND BOYD (#3), who woke up last time when Jose Ortiz gave him a more aggressive ride. The 116 speed figure for that effort is by far the highest number in the field, and if he repeats that performance he probably will not lose. That said, he's been somewhat of a Jekyll and Hyde sort in the past, so we'll be crossing our fingers that the tuned-in version of Waymond Boyd shows up this afternoon. Juan and Bina (#1) kept decent company down in Florida while earning progressively faster speed figures. He's not much of a winning type, but he's an excellent candidate to round out exactas and trifectas. Point Hope (#5) is ambitiously stepped up off the claim by Rudy Rodriguez, which seems like a sign of confidence. However, it is somewhat disconcerting that it's taken him so long to get back to the races and that he's been a vet scratch twice since that last race. Mister Monolo (#4) was no match for Waymond Boyd last time, but he did sustain a four-wide trip and may be able to do better here at a square price.
Selections: 3 – 1 – 5 – 4
Race 10: Whether or not this race stays on the turf, Lightstream (#3) has to be considered the horse to beat. That said, it is somewhat curious that her connections have pointed to this grass race rather than take a shot in a spot like the Grade 1 Acorn. She actually does have more than enough turf pedigree, so the surface switch isn't supposed to pose a major problem. Nevertheless, there's always risk involved when dealing with horses trying something for the first time, and the price does not make her particularly enticing. We want to take a shot against her with SAHARAN (#2). This filly's connections tried to get her on turf last time, but the race was rained off and she romped in the slop. She is supposed to take to grass, being a half-sister to turf stakes winner My Conquestadory. She earned a competitive 104 speed figure last time and should sit a great trip stalking a contested pace. We believe she would offer value at or around her morning line price of 10/1. We could also throw in Wonderment (#1), who also has plenty of turf pedigree as she tries this surface for the first time, and the reliable Brinkley (#4), who probably does need to improve slightly.
Selections: 2 – 3 – 4 – 1
Race 11: There's really not much to say about this one. PAULASSILVERLINING (#1) absolutely towers over this field and is deserving of her 1/5 favoritism on the morning line. If she holds her form, she's not supposed to lose this race. We'll try to get long shot Stormy Sky (#3) to complete the exacta. She's in relatively good form right now and can pick up pieces late.
Selections: 1 – 3 – 2 – 5
Race 12: The conclusion of this late Pick-4 could get very chalky. If the same TIZ A CHANCE (#10) that we saw on the track last year shows up off the layoff, he's probably not going to lose. We realize that he's not much of a winning type, having picked up minor checks in most of his races thus far, but there just are not any appealing alternatives to this heavy favorite. The logical horse to use underneath is Disco Bill (#4), but we would also want to throw in New York's Zip (#3), who drops into maiden claiming company for the first time, and Summer by the Lake (#7), who has some turf in his pedgiree and could wake up with this surface switch.
Selections: 10 – 7 – 3 – 4