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TimeformUS Analysis for May 12

TimeformUS Analyst David Aragona

TimeformUS Analysis for Racing at Belmont Park on Thursday May 12th

>>Go To TimeformUS Past Performances For These Races

Race 1: In the first leg of this Pick-5, we’re not trying to beat the likely heavy favorite FUNDAMENTAL (#5), who enters this race off a series of speed figures that are, on average, about 10 points faster than what his rivals have been running. Most recently, he successfully returned from a winter layoff to finish a good second behind the talented Go Around in a stakes at Tampa. The 10-furlong distance of this race is uncharted territory, but his class should carry him through. If we play exactas, we will use Bigger Picture (#3) in the second slot. While Mike Maker does very well first off the claim, he has even better numbers second off the claim with his turf runners (100 trainer rating). Javier Castellano can use this horse’s tactical speed to his advantage in an otherwise paceless race.

Selections: 5 – 3 – 2 – 4 

 

Race 2: We don’t have any strong opinions here and would try to get through this leg of the Pick-5 using all four of our selections. We slightly prefer Linda Rice’s pair of runners, led by GAME GIRL (#3), who is one of the few fillies that brings consistently strong form over this one mile distance. Warriors Diva (#5) has been hindered by poor starts recently, but does have a touch of ability and drops in class.

Selections: 3 – 5 – 2 – 1 

 

Race 3: Every runner in this race prefers to be placed on or near the lead in the early going, so it will be interesting to see how the pace develops. The horse to beat is probably Evolution (#5), who comes into this off a pair of strong efforts, including a decent second at this starter allowance level. He’s drawn well towards the outside today. We will use him, but our top selection is FRATELLO DEL NORD (#3), who has quietly been improving over his last three starts for Chris Englehart. Race Ratings indicate that this is not actually the step up in class that it seems to be, and he has successfully closed from off the pace—at least for minor awards—in the past. Lilly’s Finale (#2) needs a speed figure boost, but Ralph Nicks does get a 91 trainer rating with horses switching from turf to dirt.

Selections: 3 – 5 – 2 – 6 

 

Race 4: While we are very leery of her gate antics, we cannot bring ourselves to pick against FOR LATER (#4), who ran a remarkable race last time considering her extremely slow break and traffic-filled trip. The extra half-furlong of this race should work to her advantage. If Eric Cancel can manage to get her out of the gate this time, she should prove difficult to hold off late. The other horse that we want to use prominently is Ask the Lonely (#7), who has faced much better competition in her only two starts. While the layoffs are somewhat of a concern, Michelle Nevin gets 100 trainer ratings with horses making their third lifetime starts, as well as with horses dropping maiden special weight to maiden claiming company. We’ll also throw in True Desire (#1), who earned a field-best speed figure in her debut and should play out as the speed.

Selections: 4 – 7 – 1 – 8 

 

Race 5: It would appear that Chad Brown has an excellent chance to send out odds-on bookend winners of this Pick-5. Araqeel (#3) has returned in relatively good form as a four-year-old, but—unlike in the opener—we are not in love with the idea of taking a very short price on this contender. We’re somewhat concerned about the stretch-out to ten furlongs and it’s not as if his finishing speed (107) is that far superior to the other closers in this field. In a race that lacks confirmed pace players, we’ll take a shot against him with stalking type GOLD SHIELD (#6). The jury’s still out on whether or not this horse actually prefers turf, but his last turf race may not be a true indication of his grass ability. While the course was rated firm, that race was contested during a driving rainstorm, and few horses changed position over the last quarter mile. Stamina does not appear to be an issue and we’re hoping he can get the jump on the favorite.

Selections: 6 – 3 – 7 – 4

 

Race 6: ROCK EAGLE (#1) is clearly the horse to beat. He has been running speed figures that are significantly faster than what his competition have shown themselves to be capable of running on turf. He's drawn well down on the inside and should work out a good trip in a race that is predicted to feature a fast pace. The other two runners we want to use both have had success routing on turf. Country Money (#2) was in relatively good form at Gulfstream and just let his last race get away from him when the leader ran off and bottomed out the field. Dynaformersrequest (#5) needs some help in the speed figure department but the race ratings of his recent races suggest this is a drop in class. Mike Trombetta gets a very good 94 trainer rating with runners coming off layoffs of this type.

Selections: 1 – 5 – 2 – 6 

 

Race 7: The two main players appear to be the ultra-consistent Time for Angie (#3) and PICTURE DAY (#4), whom we prefer. Time for Angie has not finished out of the exacta through her last seven races, a streak that includes five consecutive victories this past winter. We have to use her, but we believe that Picture Day has been running just as fast in her recent starts and may offer better value. She's also getting a very positive rider switch to Luis Saez for this race. The Pace Projector is predicting a situation that should favor horses on or near the lead. While she is not forecasted to be a frontrunner in this spot, we believe Torcida (#2) may be forwardly placed. She has had success sprinting in the past and is the other horse we'd use to get through this leg of the Pick-4.

Selections: 4 – 3 – 2 – 8 

 

Race 8: They're not listed among the favorites on the morning line, but we believe the entry may go off at a relatively short price, especially considering the connections involved. While both are interesting contenders, we would not want to take lower than about 5/1 odds on either one of them. Site Read (#1) and Ray's the Bar (#1A) both ran well when unveiled last year, but have had trouble getting back to those early performances and come into this race with something to prove. The morning line favorite is Conquest Superstar (#7), and we don't want any part of this horse at a very short price. He ran well in his debut, but these Mark Casse debut winners often underperform second time out. Furthermore, we question the quality of the race he's exiting, in which he worked out an absolutely perfect trip. Inspector Lynley (#3) will certainly be on our tickets. This horse has always shown potential and finally put it all together two back at Gulfstream. He was ambitiously placed in stakes company last time out and gets a slight drop in class here. However, our top selection is the other recent maiden winner, VULCAN'S FORGE (#5). We really liked this horse's races as a two-year-old, and he appeared to have returned as a more mature horse when breaking his maiden at Aqueduct for Todd Pletcher. He was taken far back in the early going, but launched a four-wide run around the turn—not easy to do at Aqueduct—before grinding out the win in the stretch. He has displayed by far the fastest finishing speed in this race (106) and should by flying in the lane. On deeper tickets, we could even use long shot Cave Johnson (#4), who got an awful four-wide trip last time yet still did not run that badly, all things considered.

Selections: 5 – 3 – 1/1A – 4 

 

Race 9: We'll be hoping that OUT OF NOWHERE (#13) draws into the finale off the also-eligible list. This filly ran deceptively well in her return race at Aqueduct, going three-wide around both turns before making a premature move for the lead as the field approached the stretch. She figures to be fitter for this race and showed in her turf finale as a two-year-old that she has more ability than her recent efforts might suggest. We prefer her to Naked Empress, who had her best chance when working out a perfect trip last time and will be a much shorter price today. The others that we want are first-time starters Sugar Reef (#4) and Munchkin Money (#10), who go out for strong debut outfits, and proven turf performer Sophia's Choice (#6), who must deal with a lengthy layoff.

Selections: 13 – 10 – 4 – 6 – 3

 

 

 

 

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TimeformUS Analysis for May 11

TimeformUS Analyst David Aragona

TimeformUS Analysis for Racing at Belmont Park on Wednesday May 11th

>>Go To TimeformUS Past Performances For These Races

 

Race 1: Our pick in the opener is DR. KOY (#2), who makes his first start for 89-rated debut trainer Christophe Clement. While some may view it as a negative sign that this colt is starting without Lasix, Clement is one of the few trainers that actually excel with horses running without that medication (87 trainer rating). This colt's dam was proficient on any surface and earned almost $250,000 during her career. We prefer him to the other first-time starters that are likely to take money, namely Conquest Prankster (#5), who hails from the Mark Casse barn. Casse has far better numbers with second-time starters and this colt is bred strongly for turf. Jegos Fire (#1) did a smidgen of running in his debut and could sneak into the trifecta if the firsters fail to show up.

Selections: 2 – 4 – 5 – 1 

 

Race 2: The horse to beat is obviously Rare Eagle (#7) as he drops in class once again. However, while his speed figures are still competitive with this group, he has been off form and Tom Albertrani gets a dismal 17 trainer rating with runners coming off this type of layoff. We'll take a small shot against him with SARATOGA SIGHT (#6), who needs to step up his game slightly, but appears to finally be moving in the right direction, having found a home against claiming company. Big East (#2) could be dangerous on the front end, but he must handle this rise in class.

Selections: 6 – 7 – 4 – 2 

 

Race 3: Anydayismyday (#2) enters this race off a decent third-place finish in the Cicada last time out, but we question the overall quality of that race, despite the fact that she earned a competitive speed figure. Know It All Anna (#6) would be a top contender if she returns to the form that she displayed prior to the layoff. Linda Rice gets a decent 80 trainer rating off this type of layoff and the Pace Projector is predicting she'll be up front in a situation favoring horses on or near the lead. We'll use both of them, but our top pick is SKIPALUTE (#5). If you throw out all of this filly's Gulfstream Park efforts, her lifetime record actually looks much more encouraging. For whatever reason, she has just never run an effective race in south Florida. She's run well fresh in the past and we believe she'll be much closer to the pace than the Pace Projector is suggesting.

Selections: 5 – 6 – 2 – 4 

 

Race 4: Pinnacle Mountain (#1) is obviously the horse to beat. He took a significant step forward when switched to turf, running a solid third in what appeared to be a strong New York-bred maiden race. That said, he was 20/1 that day and is likely to go favored this time. We'll use him, but are instead more interesting in a few of the many other interesting options this race presents us with. Our top selection is DREAM DOCTOR (#3). This five-year-old gelding got his career off to a late start last fall—literally—as he broke a couple of lengths slow in his sprint debut. Despite that poor break, he made up good ground in the stetch to be a fast-closing fourth. Stretched out to two turns next time, he was just never put into a position to win and was ridden into traffic approaching the stretch, which effectively ended his race. He drew a great post position for this return and he can contend for top honors if he takes a step forward off that debut effort. Christophe Clement has a couple of first-time starters in this field. The one that we prefer is Mr. Sam (#4), whose dam is a half-sister to a few accomplished turf runners, including the very fast Willard Straight. We could also use first-time turfer Casigordo (#5), who did not show much in his debut at Gulfsream, but is a half-brother to turf winner Dreaming as Always and conspicuously attracts the services of Javier Castellano.

Selections: 3 – 4 – 5 – 1 – 8 

 

Race 5: Even-money morning line choice Protection (#4) is a deserving favorite, having turned into a successful turf sprinter this winter once Mike Maker took over the training. He's coming out of slightly tougher races and has run superior speed figures, but he does have to prove that he can find the winner's circle, having come out on top in just two of 28 lifetime starts. We will certainly use him, but we want to give SPEARHEAD (#2) another shot on turf. This horse ran the best race of his career when switched to grass last fall, earning a competitive 107 speed figure. He's since proven to be effective sprinting and the Pace Projector is predicting that he'll be on the lead in a situation favoring the frontrunner.

Selections: 2 – 4 – 7 – 5 

Race 6: While we typically do not enjoy picking first-time starters in these types of situations, we just cannot latch onto any of those with experience. Of the two making their debuts, the one likely to attract the most support is Indulgent (#2), a half-sister to Wood Memorial winner Frosted, who goes out for Kiaran McLaughlin. McLaughlin gets a solid 84 trainer rating with first-time starters, but that's almost right on par with the number Christophe Clement receives, and we feel that his filly will go off at the more attractive price. While some may see it as a negative that TAURINE (#1) starts without Lasix, Clement is one of the few trainers that do well with runners not racing on Lasix (87 trainer rating). This filly is a half-sister to Grade 1 winning sprinter Capo Bastone, so she should be quick enough. Both of the Todd Pletcher-trained pair of runners enter this race off extended layoffs dating back to last summer at Saratoga. They also both last raced in turf contests. We slightly prefer Deedeezee (#3), who actually has enough dirt pedigree and showed some ability first time out. Pletcher gets an excellent 100 trainer rating off layoffs of this type, but we're skeptical because he decided to start this filly out on grass. Second-time starter Majestic Lassie (#4) actually faced a field of decent quality at Parx last time and might be worth including at a price. 

Selections: 1 – 2 – 4 – 3 

 

Race 7: There are many ways to go in this confusing race. We could use Elroi (#2), who comes off a perfect-trip runner-up finish at Aqueduct, Big Yum (#3), who kept good company at Gulfstream, and St. Louie (#5), who returned from the layoff with a solid outing at Laurel. While we generally want those horses with recency, we're going in a completely different direction for our top pick. SHKSPEARE SHALIYAH (#4) is not a winning type, having only hit the board five times in his 32-race career. That said, he's spent all of that time running against fields that are much tougher than the one he meets today. The race ratings of his recent starts are all well above 110, far higher than the 102 race rating assigned to this affair. Who knows if he has anything left in the tank at age seven, if he's ready to win off the layoff, or if he will get enough pace to set up his once-potent late run? Nevertheless, he's going to be an attractive price today and this could be the right time to have him on the needed drop in class.

Selections: 4 – 5 – 3 – 2 

 

Race 8: The discussion has to start with the pace, since there is just not much of it. Of those predicted to be racing near the front, Storm Petrel seems like the most likely leader. While she did earn the highest last-out speed figure, we believe she's facing a deeper field here and don't trust her. Our top pick is another runner that should be forwardly placed early. WIDTH (#1) did not do much running in her return effort last time out at Laurel, but that seems as if it was an orchestrated prep, and could have her sharper for this stretch-out in distance. She has shown speed on occasion and Joel Rosario has been known to get aggressive in these situations. Her only turf race last fall is actually better than it looks considering that she spent the first quarter mile repeatedly steadying out of position. Chad Brown's latest import, Elysea's World (#6), won her debut against what appears to be a decent field. These connections just routinely succeed with these runners, so she has to be left in the mix. The other horse that we want to use prominently is Hold Harmless (#10), who had an absolutely impossible trip at Keeneland last time, going four- to five-wide around both turns.

Selections: 1 – 10 – 6 – 11 – 4 

 

Race 9: We'll close out the late Pick-4 by focusing on WE DID (#11), who turns back in distance after a pair of one-mile attempts, and Croke Park (#2), who drops out of maiden special weight company and has attracted the services of Javier Castellano. If we were going to spread deeper, we could throw in the first-time starter Peculiar Sensation (#4), who should be a square price.

Selections: 11 – 2 – 4 – 9

 

 

 

TimeformUS Analysis for Derby Week

TimeformUS Analyst David Aragona

TimeformUS Analyst David Aragona will be taking a break from Belmont this week; he'll be in Louisville covering the Kentucky Derby. David's Belmont analysis will return May 11th. Interested in David's Kentucky Derby coverage? Check this out:

 

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TimeformUS Analysis for May 1

TimeformUS Analyst David Aragona

TimeformUS Analysis for Racing at Belmont Park on Sunday May 1st

>>Go To TimeformUS Past Performances For These Races

 

Race 1: Since we’re not in love with any of the horses that have been toiling in these bottom-level conditioned claiming races, we can’t resist picking the class-dropping NEW YORK CHROME (#6). Despite the fact that he’s been soundly defeated in his two starts this year, he’s still run speed figures that would be competitive with this field. He should be able to stalk the stamina-challenged Saint Joseph early and take over at the top of the stretch. Deputy Busterstone (#3) and Nicholson (#5) can rally to round out exotics.

Selections: 6 – 3 – 5 – 2 


Race 2: On turf, we’re most interested in long shot HEAVENLY SUN (#6), whose campaign was cut short last summer after two awful trips over the Saratoga turf course. He was basically eliminated at the start twice in a row through no fault of his own. This horse had run competitive speed figures last spring at Belmont, including his best performance ever off a lengthy layoff. There Goes Ben (#3) can obviously win this race as he makes his first start for a tag and gets a positive rider switch to Irad Ortiz, but Rudy Rodriguez gets only a 34 trainer rating off layoffs of this length. (On dirt, we’d be most interested in THIRD SON (#11), who makes his first start for a tag while stretching back out in distance. There’s not much speed in this race, so perhaps he can wire the field. We would also have to use Renwick (#15), who also drops in class as he draws in off the also-eligible list.)

Turf Selections: 6 – 3 – 4 - 11

(Dirt Selections: 11 – 15 – 1 – 7)


Race 3: Of the two favorites, we strongly prefer ESTELLE (#2), who comes out of what appears to be a very strong allowance race down at Gulfstream. She was outdueled by next-out winner April Gaze before just getting nabbed for second late by the seemingly stakes-bound filly Browse. Luis Saez figures to use her speed to his advantage once again. Takrees (#3) has run just as fast as our top pick in recent starts, but she’s also benefitted from two perfect trips. Its a Journey (#4) is a minor threat to break into the exacta at a square price as she turns back for Linda Rice.

Selections: 2 – 3 – 4 – 1 


Race 4: While the Pace Projector is predicting that Awesome News will be clearly in front early in a situation favoring the leader, we’re not quite convinced. She got a fantastic ride from Manny Franco last time, blasting off to the lead while setting moderate fractions in a race that appeared to be loaded with speed. However, the waters get much deeper here and we believe horses like Novique and Carameaway can apply pressure. The pace scenario is sure to be more fair to the late runners than the scenario MYFOURCHIX (#2) was presented with last time, when Court Dancer was allowed to walk along on a ridiculously slow pace (color-coded in blue). She was forced to race three-wide and out of position that day. Now she gets back to her favorite distance and should work out a more reasonable trip. Stormy Sky (#6) could be a late threat if she can transfer her inner track form to Belmont.

Selections: 2 – 6 – 5 – 4 


Race 5: On turf, we’d love to see ROOFTOP VIEW (#14) draw into the race off the also-eligible list. He ran well against maiden special weight company at two and then got caught up chasing a legitimate pace last time in his first start off the layoff. That race also came against much tougher competition and now he drops in for a tag. Brudda Colton (#3) also may offer value as he gets back on turf. His first start over this surface was fine, but then he was compromised at the start a week later in December when his rider lost the irons. Bapu (#10) is the obvious horse to beat, but he must deal with a lengthy layoff. (On dirt, we want to take a shot with SANDY STRIKES (#4), who drops out of maiden special weight company. We like that this horse is getting another chance to go a route of ground because we believe that is his true calling. Shootout (#1) and Fa Niente (#15) exit runner-up finishes in similar spots and must also be used to close out the Pick-5.)

Turf Selections: 14 – 3 – 10 – 7 – 11 

(Dirt Selections: 4 – 1 – 15 – 12)

 

Race 6: On turf, QUAVER (#3) has to be considered the horse to beat. She underperformed last time in her first start back off the layoff at Gulfstream, but she may have needed that race. Last year, she had gotten very good over the summer, even giving Lady Shipman a scare in a stakes at Monmouth. Her main competition figures to come from War Queen (#1), who hasn't raced since the summer of her two-year-old season, but did outfinish 28 horses in that juvenile finale. She has already won over soft turf, in case they run this on a rain-soaked course. (On dirt, they all have to get by KNOW IT ALL ANNA (#7), whose dirt races are slightly faster and have come against better competition than the fields Magsamelia (#8) was facing this winter.)

Turf Selections: 3 – 1 – 10 – 4 

(Dirt Selections: 7 – 8 – 10)

 

Race 7: Geaux Mets (#1) has run the fastest races and comes into this having already beaten a field at this level last time out. He's a deserving favorite, but we still want to take a small shot against him with BASS RIVER ROAD (#6), who has handled wet tracks in the past and ran slightly better than it appears last time. That day, Jeter made a crazy middle move to race up into the lead, causing Bass River Road to accelerate and run a fast half-mile fraction (color-coded in red),  which may have ultimately cost him the win. Pegasus Red (#4) is not impossible after having shown improvement in her first start for Steve Asmussen last time.

Selections: 6 – 1 – 4 – 7 

 

Race 8: On turf, this feature is all about LADY SHIPMAN (#7), who does not even need to be 100% fit to win this race as she returns from a taxing trip to Dubai. Zindaya (#1) and Shrinking Violet (#3) are honest turf sprinters in their own right, but they are not in the same league as the favorite. (On dirt, we prefer VICKI'S DANCER (#5) to an off-form Momameamaria (#2). Both have handled wet tracks in the past.)

Turf Selections: 7 – 1 – 3 – 6 

(Dirt Selections: 5 – 2 – 4)

 

Race 9: While we generally aren't huge fans of horses turning back on the turf, we think that AKRON GOLD (#8) might be suited to this shorter distance. Her dam was a confirmed sprinter and she's made middle moves before flattening out in each of her last two route efforts. Her main rival is Complicated (#3), but she has been somewhat of a disappointment ever since dropping a nose decision to Lady Eli in her debut. This turnback feels like more of a desperate move than a calculated plan. (On dirt, the two main players are HER (#11) and Liana Star (#9). Truly Bound (#1) is not impossible either and could also be used in this final leg of the late Pick-4.)

Turf Selections: 8 – 3 – 10 – 12 

(Dirt Selections: 11 – 9 – 1 – 7)