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TimeformUS Analysis for July 1

TimeformUS Analyst David Aragona

TimeformUS Analysis for Racing at Belmont Park on Friday July 1

>>Go To TimeformUS Past Performances For These Races

Race 1: Of the two clear favorites on the morning line, we prefer GENERAL BELLAMY (#2), who is dropping into an easier spot while shipping up from Florida. This race is filled with late-running plodders and he's the only horse with any real tactical speed, which is why the Pace Projector is predicting that he will be clearly in front early in a situation favoring the leader. His main rival is Shadow Rider (#4), who should find this distance to be more appropriate after he was pace-compromised sprinting last time.

Selections: 2 – 4 – 3 – 6 

Race 2: While he's no Todd Pletcher, Dominick Schettino does pretty good work with his first-time starters, earning a decent 73 trainer rating in that category. Here he sends out two well-bred runners to make their debuts, and will be giving legs up to the brothers Jose and Irad Ortiz. Both purchased for $350,000 as yearlings, FILLET OF SOLE (#1) is a half-brother to $500,000 earner Senor Rojo and graded stakes-placed Connie and Michael, and ALWAYS DREAMING (#1A) is a half-brother to the precocious multiple stakes winner Hot Dixie Chick. We could also use Jewel Heist (#3), who doesn't sport the pedigree of the two aforementioned runners but worked a strong 9 4/5 second furlong at the OBS sale. Zorzor (#6) has been working strongly for Tony Dutrow, but his two-year-olds often need a start and do better second time out.

Selections: 1/1A – 3 – 6 – 4

Race 3: UPTOWN LIZA (#6) is a standout in this race. She has earned speed figures that are some 15 to 20 points higher than her competitors' and is dropping in for a tag for the first time while facing a significantly weaker field (note the huge drop off in race ratings). Furthermore, John Kimmel gets a 97 trainer rating with horses dropping into maiden claiming company, and a 100 trainer rating with horses making their third lifetime starts. We strongly prefer her to Cheering for Al (#1), who has not run nearly as fast and is coming out of weaker maiden special weight races. The only other runner that we could include is Overly Indulgent (#5), who was very green in her dirt debut and may be set for better now.

Selections: 6 – 5 – 1 – 8 

Race 4: There is absolutely no speed in this race: it is composed of four horses with "Midpack" running styles and two horses labeled "Closers." Therefore, we are forced to turn to the Pace Projector for clues about how this race will shake out on the front end. Unsurprisingly a situation favoring the frontrunners is predicted. The leader is projected to be Piccolo Flats (#1), which seems plausible given the presence of the usually aggressive Kendrick Carmouche. However, she's somewhat difficult to gauge coming off the layoff and we would not want to take too short of a price on her. Our top pick is SWEETGRASS (#6), who may not have the pace in her favor, but is in the softest field that she's encountered in quite some time. She ran admirably going 12 furlongs last time, but is much more at home at this distance. Her recent form is buried beneath some failed turf attempts, but she's rarely run a bad race on dirt.

Selections: 6 – 1 – 3 – 5 

Race 5: Lamontagne (#1) has run well in both of her starts since returning from the layoff, leading to the eighth pole against better allowance company two back before finishing a good second in a 14-horse field at Pimlico. She now finds herself dropping back down into starter company and is the deserving favorite. However, her hand may be forced from the rail given her early foot, and she will have to deal with the speedy Magsamelia (#3) to her outside. We think there’s a chance that she could prove vulnerable to ESTHER THE QUEEN (#8) in the late stages. Esther the Queen has only been facing New York-bred company, but is coming out of two unusually deep allowance races (note the high race ratings). Two back she may have moved too soon into a fast pace (color-coded in red) and then last time she got caught up chasing the very quick Animal Appeal, who ran them all off their feet. If she’s more patiently ridden today, she is good enough to pull off the minor upset.

Selections: 8 – 1 – 5 – 3 

 

Race 6: We're most interested in a few horses dropping out of maiden special weight company, and are particularly focused on those exiting the very competitive race won by Jet Black. Massena (#1) is likely to go favored off the strength of his fourth place finish and 91 speed figure. However, Tony Dutrow gets just a 57 trainer rating with horses trying routes for the first time, and this horse has plenty of speed influences on the dam's side of his pedigree, leading us to doubt his stamina. At what should be a more attractive price, we will instead take KENYAN (#2) from the same race. Mike Hushion has fantastic numbers in almost all categories that apply to this horse: first route (100 trainer rating), maiden special weight to maiden claiming (100 rating), and third start (100 rating). We get the sense that he's a little slow for the sprint races that he's been contesting and this stretch-out in distance may be exactly what he needs. At a bigger price, we could also throw in Riff Raff (#3), who has been steadily improving and handled the distance last time.

Selections: 2 – 1 – 3 – 7 

Race 7: There is a ton of speed signed on for this race, so it's no surprise that the Pace Projector is predicting a fast pace. Horses like Asset Inflation, Cort, Royal Asset, and R Limo Joe all figure to have their work cut out for them given the presence of so many other pace players. For this reason, we want to focus on closers. Rootformejustin (#5) is a logical contender, having finished third most recently in an allowance race won by Disco Partner, who went on to nearly win the Jaipur on Belmont Stakes day. However, we prefer a different horse out of that same race. LORD OF LOVE (#12) can be a frustrating horse to watch because he’s a one-run deep closer that needs a fast pace in order for him to be most effective. Fortunately, he's going to get exactly that this time. He's proven that he's come back in good form, with a couple of efforts that are slightly better than they appear, and we believe he can run them all down this time. The most interesting horse in the race is probably On Tap (#1). It's actually curious that Linda Rice has started him on dirt four times since he has so much turf pedigree, especially on his dam's side. His running style fits the race dynamics and he picks up Jose Ortiz.

Selections: 12 – 1 – 5 – 2 

Race 8: Coming Attraction (#2) has run some of the fastest recent speed figures, but she's not the easiest horse to trust to actually win races. We prefer the other obvious choice, AKATEA (#1), who deserves another chance in this country after meeting an extremely tough field in the Grade 1 Jenny Wiley at Keeneland. She obviously was never beating Tepin that day, but she still underperformed after getting rank in the early going. Her French performances suggest that she has much more to offer than that, and she should be able to get back on track in this softer spot.

Selections: 1 – 2 – 3 – 6 

Race 9: We're most interested in a few horses coming out of the $50,000 claiming race won by Shkspeare Shaliyah. Despite the larger field in this race, it's not really a tougher spot. Balderdash (#9) led much of the way last time before Jose Lezcano dropped the whip past midstretch and he succumbed to challenges, finishing fourth. That was his first start back off the layoff and he figures to be fitter for this race. Furthermore, while the Pace Projector doesn't place him on the lead, he is one of the few horses in this race to have been successful on the front end, so we think Lezcano may employ similar tactics again. We'll use him, but our top pick is the runner that finished just ahead of him last time, MAMBO AT THE GYM (#11). While he didn't have any severe trouble last time, he was forced to race in an uncomfortable spot down towards the rail and may have gotten through too late in the stretch. He should be forwardly placed here and the outside post is not such a disadvantage going a mile. In a small sample, David Duggan gets a 98 trainer rating with claimers dropping in class. He's in great form and should be a square price.

Selections: 11 – 9 – 7 – 4

 

 

 

 

TimeformUS Analysis for June 30

TimeformUS Analyst David Aragona

TimeformUS Analysis for Racing at Belmont Park on Thursday June 30th

>>Go To TimeformUS Past Performances For These Races

Race 1: The Pace Projector is not predicting a fast pace, but there are a fairly large number of horses that prefer to race near the lead for such a small field. Although he rated last time, we have to believe that Frosti Agosti (#1) will be sent out towards the front today. If he repeats his effort from two back, he has a chance to run them off their feet and hang on for the win, but he's been somewhat inconsistent. He will also have to face pressure from Afleet's Edge and Call Me Stoney. Frosti Agosti is the horse to beat, but we're going to take a small shot against him with the only true closer in the race, DYNAMO FLOTILLA (#6). In his two most recent starts, they've experimented with letting him drop well off the pace before making one run, and it's worked out pretty well. His speed figures are a cut below the others, but we think he's going to work out a favorable trip here.

Selections: 6 – 1 – 4 – 3 

Race 2: This is an incredibly difficult race, in which any of the seven runners could win. While the logical choice might by My Good Venezuela (#3), she certainly has some questions to answer. While she was visually impressive two back, she was going out for a very successful barn at that time. She was pretty dull, albeit against a tougher field, in her first start for Carol Fisher. We can't totally dismiss her, but we prefer others. Quigley's Corner (#6) has been steadily improving since switching to turf a few starts back. She ran especially well last time when she was sent along to set a contested pace from the inside and fought off all challengers in a race that she forced to collapse. All Day Lawn (#7) may ultimately not turn out to be a turf horse, but she hasn't exactly had fair chances in either of her turf starts. Especially last time, she was off slowly and forced to rate behind a slow pace (color-coded in blue). We'll use both of those fillies, but our top pick is KENTUCKY ROAD (#2). She's only made one start on turf, and she certainly was not given a chance to show her best that day. The Saratoga turf course was favoring horses racing on the rail towards the end of the meet and she was in the two- to three-path for much of her journey. Furthermore, when she was attempting to move at the top of the stretch, she got caught in traffic and was forced to steady sharply. She actually has some turf pedigree and deserves another shot on this surface.

Selections: 2 – 6 – 7 – 3 

Race 3: SABRINA BALLERINA (#4) looms a likely winner here as she makes her second start off the layoff. Bruce Levine does not have great numbers with this move, but we nevertheless get the feeling that this filly may be fitter for her second start as a three-year-old. She was off a bit sluggishly last time, and yet still earned a respectable 95 speed figure, bettering the number she earned in her similarly encouraging debut last fall. We take it as a good sign that she's running back quickly. Behind her, we'll use first-time starter Grassarla (#5), who is a half-sister to multiple stakes winner R Betty Graybull. The other fillies with racing experience just don't entice.

Selections: 4 – 5 – 6 – 3 

Race 4: We prefer the runners coming out of the race won by Offering Plan earlier this meet. Offering Plan and a few others out of that field have since come back to run faster speed figures. The Pace Projector is predicting a situation that favors horses on or near the lead and we think that will benefit WESTERN RESERVE (#2) the most. While he's not projected to own an outright lead in the early going, he appears to be the most naturally quick horse of the trio that is predicted to be racing near the front, and his rider, Jose Lezcano, can be aggressive when necessary. We give him the slight edge over Ascend (#5), who ran equally as well in defeat last time, and may still have some upside. Adirondack Dancer (#7) should be set for better after blowing the start last time, but he's typically more of a bridesmaid.

Selections: 2 – 5 – 7 – 1 

Race 5: We don't have any major knocks against Tree Top Lover (#4), who takes a significant drop in class for Wesley Ward. He has a speed figure edge over the others, but it's not as if he has that much room for error, especially considering that two other major contenders, who are both also dropping, had at one time or another shown themselves to be capable of competing at his level. One of those is Choir Director (#2), who finally drops in for a tag after his form declined against maiden special weight company. His best races will beat Tree Top Lover, but we don't trust him after a recent series of layoffs and his last debacle, in which he tried to bear out around the turn. Instead, we prefer FIELDING GOLD (#8), who finally turns back in distance after a series of route attempts. We like that he's shown improved speed in recent starts and we just feel that he deserves another attempt going shorter after fading in his recent routes. His best speed figures give him a chance to pull off the upset.

Selections: 8 – 4 – 2 – 3 

Race 6: Morning line favorite Invisible Crown (#3) ran well enough in his first start off the claim for Michael Pino, finishing a late-running second with a very swift pace (color-coded in red) to close into. He’s run plenty of competitive speed figures, but he’s starting to run out of chances. We prefer a couple of more lightly raced runners that should offer better value. He’s One Wild Dude (#2) put in an even effort in his debut, splitting the field while never really threatening for the win. He’s back at the same level today, but gets a very positive rider switch to Joel Rosario, who has been successful (100 rating) when riding for Lisa Lewis. The Pace Projector is predicting that he’ll be closer to the pace today. Our top pick is MADEYOURPOINT (#10), who ran very well in his turf debut. He also is getting a more subtle, but still positive rider switch to Jomar Torres while dropping in class. Despite getting involved in a fast pace and steadying at the top of the stretch, he was still running on late last time.

Selections: 10 – 2 – 3 – 1 

Race 7: We’re not trying to beat the impressive debut winner DAY AFTER DAY (#2), who earned a field-best 104 speed figure in her debut. She set a fast pace (color-coded in red) that day and pulled away from a decent horse in Sabrina Ballerina late. Mike Hushion is often lauded for his work with second-time starters (100 trainer rating). Most of those have been maidens, but he does just as well with second-time starting debut winners. We expect that Day After Day will eliminate most of the other speed horses, and will focus on late-runners to round out the remaining slots. Even Bette (#3) ran well against some tough NY-bred allowance fields during the latter part of 2015. She’s a real threat to the favorite if she’s ready off the layoff. We could even throw in long shot Gregorian Gold (#7), who was inexplicably terrible in the Bouwerie last time, but had run much better than that in her prior start. 

Selections: 2 – 3 – 7 – 4 

Race 8: Roca Rojo (#7) is listed as the favorite on the morning line and she's probably going to go off at a relatively short price, based solely on Chad Brown's reputation. It doesn't appear that she beat much in her two starts in Ireland last year, but Chad Brown does get 100 trainer ratings in most categories that apply to this runner. Additionally, the potential is there for her to be a good one considering that she's a half-sister to a Group 1 winner in Hong Kong. We're going to look for some better value and take a shot against her with LADY KREESA (#5). This filly returned from the layoff with a strong effort earlier this meet before not quite handling the step up in class in the Mount Vernon last time. That was a particularly deep New York-bred allowance field and she may be facing a slightly softer bunch today. Furthermore, this seven furlong distance is perfect for her. We could also use Sparkle Factor (#6), who kept good company at Gulfstream this winter, but we're concerned that this distance may be a bit short for her.

Selections: 5 – 7 – 6 – 1 

Race 9: His numbers are not quite as strong with his turf runners, but Danny Gargan has done exceptional work with his claims recently. He gets a 100 trainer rating in that category, and has shown that he's not afraid to drop a horse in class to get a win. We find it interesting that he switches NORTH SLOPE (#8) back to turf. This gelding has not raced on grass since 2014, but has actually put in some of his strongest efforts on this surface. He's been in relatively good form and his tactical speed makes him dangerous in this paceless affair. We also want to include Sinatra (#7), who ran very well last time when nearly running down the heavy favorite Aripeka, and Coturnix (#5), who drops in class and may be quick enough to lead this field in the early going.

Selections: 8 – 7 – 5 – 10

 

TimeformUS Analysis for June 26

TimeformUS Analyst David Aragona

TimeformUS Analysis for Racing at Belmont Park on Sunday June 26th

>>Go To TimeformUS Past Performances For These Races


Race 1: The two main players are drawn down towards the inside. We prefer the more lightly raced of the two, OPINED (#2). Kiaran McLaughlin gets a 98 trainer rating with his second-time starters, and this filly figures to take a step forward after having gotten a lot out of her debut. She was forced to deal with kickback and came through between horses. She will have to run a bit faster to take down the favorite, Verve’s Tale (#1). This filly is starting to run out of chances, but she has been improving her speed figures with every start, so we don’t want to be too hard on her. Todd Pletcher does well off layoffs, but we still have trouble trusting Crystal Wave (#5), who makes her dirt debut here. She’s the distant third choice.

Selections: 2 – 1 – 5 – 3 

 

Race 2: CUCKOO’S SALOON (#6) was scratched out of a shorter race yesterday, but finds a more appropriate spot here. He ran well at this level when he made his turf debut at Aqueduct two back and then never had a legitimate chance when dueling with eventual winner Cloontia through fast fractions (color-coded in red) last time. We’re not in love with the horses coming out of the race won by Lotta Gold, but there are a couple that we want to consider. One is second-time starter Dancer’s Edge (#9). This horse appeared to be difficult to maneuver coming to the quarter pole and then was caught in traffic at a few points during the stretch run. He was green that day but has a right to take a step forward here. Port Au Prince (#2) may have been compromised by a poor start and wide trip around the far turn last time.

Selections: 6 – 9 – 2 – 4 

 

Race 3: There’s not that much to say about this one. If SEVENTHFLEETHUMOR (#6) runs back to his first start off the claim for Gary Gullo, he’s supposed to beat this field. He proved that he handles dirt that day and is facing a softer field here despite coming back at the same level. Recanted (#4) and Manofmanyvirtues (#8) are the two others to consider, but both come with major questions. Recanted is unproven at this sprint distance while Manofmanyvirtues is dropping in class but has yet to run a competitive race on dirt.

Selections: 6 – 4 – 8 – 5 

 

Race 4: We’re not trying to beat the likely favorite CLASSY CHRIS (#3), who ran a pretty remarkable race in her debut. She was off about a length slowly and launched a wide, premature move around the far turn in a race that was won on the front end. She actually didn’t disgrace herself on dirt last time, but turf should be her preferred surface. If she breaks better and merely repeats that first effort, she will be extremely tough to beat. The others with racing experience could be up against it trying to beat her. Madison Blues (#4) showed some promise last year, but may prefer longer distances. The wild card is first-time starter Candy for Kisses (#7), who is out of a dam that was a turf horse and is a half-sister to a turf winner. Linda Rice is not known for her work with first-time starters, but this filly may have some potential.

Selections: 3 – 7 – 4 – 2 

 

Race 5: SILENT WATERS (#6) has been a completely different horse since switching to turf. He was awesome two back when he beat a decent field of older allowance horses decisively, earning a competitive 99 speed figure. He then returned to nearly hit the board at 50/1 in the Grade 3 Penn Mile behind the dominant winner Catch a Glimpse. If this horse runs either of those races back here, he is going to win. Beyond him, there is very little turf form in this race. Cloud Control (#1) has yet to actually finish first in a race, but he did run well against next-out winner Cloontia last time, earning the second-highest turf speed figure in the field in the process. The dirt horses running in this race are complete unknowns, since none of them sports much turf pedigree. If we had to guess that one might handle it, we’d lean towards Spooked Out (#7), who is by decent turf sire Catienus.

Selections: 6 – 1 – 7 – 5 

 

Race 6: This is as competitive a six-horse field as you’ll find. Every runner has a legitimate chance to win this race. The two runners that are likely to attract the most play are Thirst for Glory (#2) and Testosterstone (#4), who both exit the same May 7 race. Testosterstone was excellent that day, chasing a quick pace four-wide before pulling away to a clear lead in mid-stretch. He ultimately got nailed late by Extinct Charm, which is no disgrace considering what that one has done in subsequent starts. He was overmatched against open N1X allowance foes last time, but lands back in with his own kind today. Thirst for Glory, on the other hand, hasn’t run since then. He’s run some of the fastest speed figures in the race, but he really needs everything to go his way to come out on top, and we’re not sure he’s going to get enough pace to close into here. We’re going to take a shot with a bigger price in OWNER GENTLEMAN (#5). This three-year-old has been steadily improving over the course of this year. Three back he pulled away from Nobody Move, who has returned to do some nice things, and two back he didn’t handle the turf. Last time, he was in a pretty tough spot, but his trip is worth watching since the chart comment fails to mention that he got sandwiched between horses and squeezed back at the top of the stretch. He has the tactical speed to be placed close to likely speed Lyrical Miracle, and we think he’s most likely to move forward here.

Selections: 5 – 4 – 2 – 3 

Race 7: Forever in Love (#4) burst onto the scene last year, winning his debut at Saratoga by over 8 lengths with a strong 94 speed figure. He was overmatched against tougher open company foes in the Pilgrim last fall and then just did not handle the dirt in his juvenile finale. Linda Rice’s horses sometimes need a start coming off lengthy layoffs (she gets a 73 trainer rating with this move) and we wonder if seven furlongs is really the right distance. At a short price, we prefer some others. Our top pick is STORM PROPHET (#10), who also showed promised at two. However, he has the benefit of a race under his belt, in which he was badly compromised by a slow pace (color-coded in blue) at this distance. Storm Prophet figures to step forward today, and we believe he’s the horse to beat. At a bigger price, we could also use first-time turfer The J Y (#3), who is out of a turf-winning dam and is a half-brother to two turf winners. Mark Hennig gets a 93 trainer rating with horses that broke their maidens last time out.

Selections: 10 – 3 – 4 – 8 

 

Race 8: The Pace Projector is predicting a situation that favors horses on near the lead, which is supposed to benefit the four-year-old Portando (#1), who ships in from Kentucky. This horse did show a ton of promise at Oaklawn Park, earning a field-best 117 speed figure when second to the talented Ray’swarrior in April. However, while the speed figures haven’t tailed off that much, we feel he’s coming out of a slightly weaker race. He also could receive some early pressure from Mawthooq (#4), who got an unusually aggressive ride from Irad Ortiz last time. He ran extremely well that day, but Kiaran McLaughlin does well with horses off lengthy layoffs like that, so we’re not sure how much improvement we can expect. We’re not sure the pace will be in his favor, but we ultimately could not go against SWIPE (#2), who finally gets some class relief. Keith Desormeaux does not have good numbers with horses coming off lengthy layoffs, so he was really up against it in the Lexington last time. This horse was fast enough to win at sprint distances as a two-year-old and we think he’ll be tough to hold off on the turnback.

Selections: 2 – 4 – 1 – 3 

 

Race 9: We’re faced with a dichotomy here. On one hand, you have the horses with proven turf form that are unproven against stakes company, and on the other, you have the proven stakes performers that have never tried grass. While we’re generally against horses in the latter category, we do want to give a shot to Libreta (#1), who is out of a dam that is a full-sister to Grade 1-winning turf mare Better Lucky. If she transfers her dirt form to turf, she’s going to win this race. However, the value may not be there, which is what led us in a different direction. Our top pick is AMETRINE (#7), who only comes off a maiden win, but has shown plenty of promise in her first couple of starts. She ran very well in her debut, overcoming a four-wide trip and a slow pace (color-coded in blue) to finish second to the still-undefeated Ancient Secret. She rallied well to get up for the victory last time and should move forward off that effort for David Donk, who is having a terrific meet. At a very big price, we also want to consider Louisville First (#10). This filly has turf pedigree and she ran to it last time, putting in her best effort today while earning a strong 96 speed figure behind the exceptionally fast Animal Appeal. Seven furlongs may be a stretch, but she has talent.

Selections: 7 – 1 – 10 – 5 

 

Race 10: It’s hard to get past the two favorites in the finale. BASS RIVER ROAD (#8) makes his first start off the claim for Bruce Levine, who does well with his new acquisitions. The immediate drop in class is a concern, but Levine does get an 85 trainer rating with runners dropping in claiming price by 50% or more. We also have to use the other logical player, Storm Pursuit (#5), who just fits very well at this level and has been fairly consistent in his dirt races since last fall. The Pace Projector is predicting a situation that favors the frontrunners, which should help his cause. Hannibal Lecter (#3) may be moving in the right direction after returning from a layoff and has an outside chance at a price.

Selections: 8 – 5 – 3 – 7

 

 

 

 

TimeformUS Analysis for June 25

TimeformUS Analyst David Aragona

TimeformUS Analysis for Racing at Belmont Park on Saturday June 25

>>Go To TimeformUS Past Performances For These Races

Race 1: Beautyinthepulpit (#6) has earned some of the fastest speed figures in this field, but he is very hard to trust. In two of his last five starts, he has completely failed to fire, basically being eased before the wire. When he’s right, he’s good enough to beat this field handily, but it’s hard to know what to expect from him. We prefer MARRIAGE FEVER (#2) and Best Play (#1). Both have been somewhat disappointing for their new connections since claims earlier this winter, but they are each taking significant drops in class. We slightly prefer Marriage Fever, since he appears to have a tactical advantage in this race. There is not much speed and the Pace Projector is prediction a situation favoring horses like him, who should be placed close  to the front.

Selections: 2 – 1 – 6 – 4 

 

Race 2: ELOWEASEL (#8) ran well in her first start off the layoff last time despite being rated through slow (color-coded in blue) early fractions and having to race three-wide around the turn and into the stretch. This distance suits her well and we expect her to come out on top here with that last start under her belt. The Pace Projector is predicting that Majestic Bloom (#6) should be well-positioned at the front of the pack in a situation favoring horses on the lead. She was no match for the talented Ancient Secret last time and lands in the right kind of spot here. Tapa Liath (#4) has run well in both starts against winners but is a question mark at this sprint distance.

Selections: 8 – 6 – 4 – 5 

 

Race 3: Both Brooklyn Major (#4) and D’ Eloquent (#5), who exit the same two races, have run well in recent starts. However, we prefer one of the new faces. That is SAMADI SKY (#6), who only made a single start over 11 months ago as a two-year-old. That day, he was bet down to 5/2 favoritism despite being sent out by a barn that is not exactly known for its work with first-time starters. Samadi Sky was off to a slow, tangled start, was rank in the first furlong, rushed up around horses coming into the stretch, and flattened out. He seemed like the kind of horse one would want to bet back in his next start, not knowing that next start would come nearly a year later. Nevertheless, it’s a good sign that Jose Ortiz takes back the mount and he appears to be working strongly.

Selections: 6 – 5 – 4 – 3 

 

Race 4: Race dynamics and rider tactics should play an important role in the outcome of this race, since none of the runners has shown any willingness to race on the lead. The horse that we think may benefit most from this situation is GIO’S CALLING (#4), since he has at least shown some early initiative in his races. He was a decent fifth behind some nice horses in his first start against winners last time, earning a very competitive 105 speed figure. Ray’s the Bar (#6) is the horse to beat, but he’s struggled with consistency since arriving in this country. That said, he has run his two best races here at Belmont Park, so he’s certainly a formidable foe. Hunter O’Riley (#3) showed a lot of promise in his first couple of starts on turf, and is one of our favorite horses to watch. However, it’s hard to envision him working out the trip he needs in this spot. He’s one to keep an eye out for down the line.

Selections: 4 – 6 – 3 – 2 

 

Race 5: GUYANA CAT (#8) is a standout, in terms of speed figures and class. He’s never run for a tag this cheap and has earned speed figures ranging from the mid-80s to low-100s. He’s kept a busy schedule for a three-year-old in June, having already made 14 starts, but it does not seem to have greatly affected his performances. Today he gets a very positive rider switch to Jose Ortiz and appears to have found a field that he can beat. His main rival is probably Don’t Point (#2), who has also kept tougher starter allowance company in recent starts. The Pace Projector is predicting that he’ll be on the lead, but we’re somewhat skeptical of the prediction of a fast pace considering how little speed is signed on. Howie’s Tiz (#5) has been steadily getting back on track, but he still has to take another step forward to prove a danger to either of the top two selections.

Selections: 8 – 2 – 5 – 1 

 

Race 6: Stormin Stephen (#7) has run the fastest races and has done so against tougher competition than what he faces here. He would have to be considered the most likely winner, except he never wins. He’s been the favorite four times in his career and has been short prices in almost every start, yet he’s still 0-for-8. We’ll use him defensively, but find others more interesting, especially two first-time starters. Alexander David (#4) is out of a dam that won 8 of her 17 turf starts, while winning stakes and earning over $250,000. She has not been much of a producer as a broodmare, but Lisa Lewis gets a decent 77 trainer rating with first-time starters, so we have to include him. Our top selection is LEGENDARY HUMOR (#6). Assaf Ronen flies under the radar but he can certainly win on this circuit. This horse is by decent turf sire Justenuffhumor and is out of a dam that has produced 3 turf winners. Most notably, she is out of the excellent turf mare Noble Damsel, who has a race named after her in the fall at Belmont. It’s a great sign that Luis Saez takes the mount for this low-profile barn. In terms of those that have run, we would also want to use A Chip and a Chair (#3), who put in a decent effort in his only turf start at two and now faces claiming company for the first time.

Selections: 6 – 7 – 3 – 4 

 

Race 7: We're not ones to spend a great deal of space extolling the merits of short-priced horses, but this race does appear to be pretty straightforward. CAPTAIN MOSS (#9) gave the well-regarded Tale of Fancy all that he could handle last time, trying to get by him for the entire length of the stretch before falling just a head short. The 105 speed figure that he earned, coupled with the 103 he recorded in his prior start, are the highest numbers in the field. Furthermore, he is projected to be racing on a clear lead early in a race that does not feature any other confirmed frontrunners. The distance is the only question mark, but he's probably up to the task. Two back, Yowl (#1) was no match for the same Tale of Fancy that Captain Moss almost defeated. However, he did take a step forward in his next start, finishing an even third after having to briefly alter course in deep stretch. Verger (#4) is fresh off what appears to be a very positive trainer switch to David Cannizzo, but he could not have had this horse for very long, considering that as of 10 days ago he was still training at the facility his prior conditioner used.

Selections: 9 – 1 – 4 – 5 

 

Race 8: Once again, we're not trying to beat the deserving favorite. REALM (#4) has progressively been getting better with each start since returning from a layoff this spring. After his comeback at Gulfstream, he was a better-than-it-appears third at Aqueduct. A number of horses came back out of that race to improve their speed figures and Realm was no exception, earning a field-best 114 in his most recent start, a runner-up finish behind the highly-regarded Gift Box. He has speed, but he doesn't need the lead, and we think he'll be sitting in a great spot right up on the pace. His primary pace rival is Cadeyrn (#5), who never had a chance at Pimlico last time after breaking slowly and failing to make the lead. He showed what he can do with an early advantage when he broke his maiden by 11 lengths at Aqueduct two back. If a horse is going to make an impact from the back of the pack, it could be Sea Raven (#6). This nine-furlong distance really suits him and he's been steadily improving with each start since returning to action this spring.

Selections: 4 – 6 – 5 – 7 

 

Race 9: Favored Wavell Avenue (#2) brings the biggest reputation to this race, having won last fall's Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Sprint. She returned to action at Keeneland with an encouraging third place finish in the Grade 1 Madison behind top racemares Sheer Drama and Stopchargingmaria. However, it's hard to paint her last start as anything but disappointing. The pace was on the moderate side and Wavelle Avenue did well to be relatively close to eventual winner Taris for the run around the far turn. However, once straightened away in the stretch, Wavell Avenue had nothing to offer, not even able to get by pace player Enchanting Lady for third. There's no Taris this time, but she's still going to have to do better than that to win this race. We're more interested in a horse coming out of Aqueduct's Distaff Handicap. Bar of Gold (#3) was the one that finished closest to Paulassilverlining and Cavorting, but we think fourth place finisher BY THE MOON (#1) has a right to step forward. Michelle Nevin was quite candid about the fact that she needed a race last time and that's exactly how this filly ran. Michelle Nevin gets an 88 trainer rating with horses making their second starts back from a layoff. Furthermore, By the Moon is getting back to Belmont Park, which is where she has run the two best races in her career.

Selections: 1 – 2 – 3 – 4 

 

Race 10: FREEDOM SEVEN (#1) actually ran fine in his lone turf sprint effort last fall. He wanted no part of routing in his second start and has raced exclusively on dirt since then. Despite the fact that he's not really a dirt horse, he's shown subtle improvement recently, especially when finishing strongly in the mud two back. If he can get back to his debut effort, his 12/1 morning line will look like quite the bargain. Cuckoo's Saloon (#6) should be involved in the pace as he turns back to seven furlongs. He's clearly taken a giant leap forward since moving to turf, but was no match for maiden special weight company last time when he was cooked dueling with Cloontia through fast fractions. At a big price, we could also use Take Me Away (#4), who got a weird ride last time, dropping back on the turn before staying on in the stretch. He may like sprinting on turf.

Selections: 1 – 6 – 4 – 3