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TimeformUS Analysis for June 24

TimeformUS Analyst David Aragona

TimeformUS Analysis for Racing at Belmont Park on Friday June 24

>>Go To TimeformUS Past Performances For These Races

 

Race 1: River Date (#1) has earned the fastest speed figures, but one could hardly imagine that Gary Contessa was envisioning putting this horse on the shelf for nine months after claiming him last September. If he returns to form here, he’s formidable, but the subsequent drop in class makes us skeptical. We prefer VILMA (#7), who makes his first start for a tag on the dirt. He’s faced much tougher company in just about all of his races and has earned speed figures that would make him competitive with River Date, even when that one is at his best. Nick Zito has been having a rough go of it lately, but this horse appears to have landed in a spot where he can shine. Shoot from the Hip (#6) was a decent second at this level last time, but we cannot trust his rider.

Selections: 7 – 1 – 3 – 6 

 

Race 2: The Pace Projector is predicting that Verdigris (#2) will be on the lead in a situation favoring the frontrunner. Brad Cox gets a 95 trainer rating with horses making the first start out of his barn after a trainer switch. In two of her last three starts, this filly has earned speed figures that would make her awfully tough to beat here. That said, she hasn’t been the most consistent sort and we would not want to take too short a price on anyone in this race. Game Girl (#8) is one of the more reliable contenders, as she appears to be moving in the right direction for Linda Rice. However, if we’re going to consider her, we’d rather take a shot with fellow late runner MISS SWISHER (#9) at a bigger price. This filly has also been steadily moving forward in recent starts and she was picked up out of her last race by sharp claiming owner James Riccio and trainer Gary Gullo, who gets an 81 trainer rating first off the claim.

Selections: 9 – 2 – 8 – 1 

 

Race 3: We’re pretty excited about the return of FAR FROM OVER (#6), who was very impressive when winning his second race in last year’s Withers Stakes despite completely blowing the start. He doesn’t have to come from that far out of it when he breaks cleanly, so we think he’ll be closer to the pace than the Pace Projector is suggesting. Regardless, he’s reportedly been working well for this return and Todd Pletcher just wins with horses off layoffs like this too often for us to take a stand against him, even at a short price. The main dangers may be either of the two speeds, Its All Relevant (#4) and Three Alarm Fire (#5). We prefer the latter, who should offer better value. Three Alarm Fire has only ever run one poor race in New York. He was beaten by Mills last time, but we felt that he did well to battle on to the wire after contesting the pace the entire way. 

Selections: 6 – 5 – 4 – 3 

 

Race 4: We’re against morning line favorite Apostrophe (#2). Rick Violette does well with first-time starters and that’s when this horse ran well. Violette does not do nearly as well off layoffs and there’s other speed for him to deal with here. Most notably, the fleet-footed Spectrolite (#5) ran an excellent race in his debut, setting a fast pace and battling on gamely all the way through the wire. David Donk’s runners often improve second time out, but he, too, may have to deal with early pressure. Our top pick is TEA AND CRICKET (#4). He was away awkwardly in his dirt debut last time, but ran very well, making a strong middle move into the race despite some quick interior fractions. He ultimately used up too much energy around the far turn, which set him up to be nipped for second at the wire, but we feel that was a stronger field than this one. He showed that he clearly prefers dirt and we love this rider switch to Javier Castellano. At bigger prices, we could also use Proud Zip (#3) and Archie (#9), who both make their first starts against claiming company after facing some decent fields as juveniles.

Selections: 4 – 5 – 3 – 9 

 

Race 5: Front (#6) is the horse to beat as he drops in class, but he just never seems to win and David Jacobson has compiled a poor record with his turf runners (53 trainer rating). We’ll use him defensively, but definitely prefer COMPLIANCE OFFICER (#9), who comes back at this level after performing admirably in his first start off the layoff earlier this month. While he’s back in for the same claiming price, he was facing a much tougher field in that race three weeks ago. This time he should work out an advantageous forwardly placed trip in a race lacking any confirmed frontrunners. Mobridge (#4) at one time would have been formidable here, but questions abound as he makes just his second start since December of 2014.

Selections: 9 – 6 – 4 – 1 

 

Race 6: The race ratings of QUALITY INDEED's (#3) last few starts in Florida and Kentucky indicate that he's dropping into a much softer spot here. He put in an excellent effort last time out, finishing a good fourth behind some talented allowance runners after taking the lead in midstretch. The 109 speed figure that he earned that day makes him the horse to beat. We're also interested in either half of the Linda Rice entry of Prospectus (#1) and Altar Boy (#1A). The former has never tried turf but has plenty of pedigree suggesting he'll take to it, while Altar Boy was a good second last time after having to wait for room at the top of the stretch. Data Driven (#2) got the better of Altar Boy last time, but he also was able to get the jump on his rival that day.

Selections: 3 – 1/1A – 2 – 9 

 

Race 7: We don't quite get the morning line in this race, which has Skipalute (#1) pegged as the favorite. We doubt that she'll be anything close to those odds, and can't make a particularly compelling case for her. This is not the strongest N1X allowance race, but the field she faced last time may have been even weaker. We're most interested in second-time starter TAURINE (#4). We realize that her debut did not come back as a particularly fast race, but we feel that she ran better than it appears that day. Breaking from the tricky rail post position, she found herself in tight quarters for much of the race, nearly running up on horses' heels as the pace slowed down around the turn. When she found a seam in the stretch, she came through professionally. Christophe Clement gets a 100 trainer rating with horses adding Lasix for the first time and a 94 trainer rating with runners coming off maiden wins. The other horse that we could throw in at a bigger price is Mahabodhi Tree (#3). She was off a step slowly when facing tougher last time and was part of a pace that was falling apart two back. She's run competitive speed figures and should be well-positioned towards the front today.

Selections: 4 – 3 – 2 – 6 

 

Race 8: We're not trying to beat the strong favorite TAKE THESE CHAINS (#9). This filly was very impressive when taking her debut at Gulfstream, making a strong four-wide sweep from the back of the pack into a slow pace (color-coded in blue). Horses running back out of that race have performed well enough to validate the "question mark" 106 speed figure that she was assigned, and some even improved their speed figures in subsequent starts. The other recent debut winner in the field, Half Irish (#2), also impressed first time out, but may have benefitted from being allowed to set a very slow pace (color-coded in blue) before spurting away in the stretch. She's clearly talented, but she may not get a free ride on the lead today.

Selections: 9 – 2 – 1 – 6 

 

Race 9: We're not getting too creative in the finale. SUBTLE LADY (#2) is the horse to beat as she drops in for the tag after being moved to Linda Rice's barn. She showed steady improvement through her three starts as a two-year-old and will be tough to beat here if she merely repeats those performances. Linda Rice gets a 91 trainer rating with horses making their first starts for her after a trainer switch and a 96 rating with horses dropping from maiden special weight to maiden claiming company. The two main threats are Bea Bea (#11), who hasn't taken a step forward since returning as a three-year-old but may appreciate dropping in class, and Sophia's Choice (#3), who has had more chances than some others but has run well enough to win this.

Selections: 2 – 11 – 3 – 1

 

 

 

 

TimeformUS Analysis for June 23

TimeformUS Analyst David Aragona

TimeformUS Analysis for Racing at Belmont Park on Thursday June 23

>>Go To TimeformUS Past Performances For These Races

Race 1: Imslopokerodriguez (#1) has run significantly faster than his competition, having earned speed figures in his last two starts that are some 15 to 20 points higher than what his competitors have recorded recently. That said, there are definitely some red flags surrounding this guy as he returns from a layoff and is dropping in class despite coming off a lifetime best performance. These connections have won with moves like this before, but we're a little skeptical and don't need to bet him at a short price. Doctor Dempsey (#3) is also dropping in class, but at least he's coming off some lackluster performances. He figures to go after the speedy Imslopokerodriguez early, which could help set things up for a late runner. We're taking a small shot with WATERGATE (#6), who is taking a slight drop in class as he returns from a lengthy layoff. He tailed off towards the end of last year, but he was running some decent races last summer. He figures to get overlooked in the wagering, but is far from impossible if the others underperform, which seems likely.

Selections: 6 – 1 – 2 – 5 

 

Race 2: Morning line favorite Frostie Anne (#1) did not do any serious running for Michelle Nevin in her return from the layoff last time. While Nevin does have poor numbers with turf sprinters, that was supposed to be Frostie Anne's preferred surface. She has not done any serious running on dirt and we don't trust her here at a short price. There's little separating others with proven dirt form, so we will take a shot with the runner that may offer the best value. DOUBLE MANE (#8) did not care for turf in recent races, but her speed figures on dirt give her a legitimate chance to win this race. In particular, she's been in the money in four of her six starts over fast tracks, which is greater consistency than Appealing Miss (#3) or Lebowski (#6) can claim.

Selections: 8 – 3 – 1 – 6 

 

Race 3: The horse to beat is Scout Leader (#6), who was a strong second last time, earning the highest last-out speed figure in the field while finishing over 10 lengths clear of the third place finisher. A repeat of that effort could certainly win this race, but we think he might have a serious foe again today in the form of U. S. S. BOXER (#3). He was making his first start off the claim for Michelle Nevin last time, but she is primarily based in New York, so we wonder if more improvement is forthcoming here. This horse kept some good company as a three-year-old and might be fast enough to post the minor upset.

Selections: 3 – 6 – 1 – 4 

 

Race 4: Trading Stock (#2) and Refer (#8) both exit the same race at this level last time. Both ran well while working out reasonably good trips and are threats to win this. However, we prefer Linda Rice's CITY GOLD (#9), who is cutting back in distance. While the pace of his last race is not color-coded as fast, that event was dominated by late runners and he helped to break the race open when making one of the first moves. We feel that he will like this slight turnback to seven furlongs, as well as the softer competition.

Selections: 9 – 2 – 10 – 8 

 

Race 5: The Pace Projector is not predicting a fast pace, but we cannot ignore the fact that there still appears to be plenty of speed in this race. Dahven with Dooley (#3), Godiva's Limousine (#5), and Porch Pounder (#7) all figure to be sent out towards the early lead. A contested pace could help set things up for the late-running GREYJOY (#8), who turns back in distance and gets back on dirt. He's only had a few chances sprinting on dirt, and that appears to be his preferred trip.

Selections: 8 – 3 – 7 – 9 

Race 6: Given the presence of a few speed types, the Pace Projector is predicting a fast pace. That should work to the advantage of the morning line favorite, Cap's Vow (#8). She actually ran fairly well at this level last time, overcoming a slow pace (color-coded in blue) to nearly get up for the win. Michelle Nevin has fairly poor numbers with her turf runners but this filly appears to be holding her form. We'll use her, but our top pick is FIRST EMBRACE (#7), who should offer a bit more value. Her recent race ratings in her turf starts indicate that she's been facing tougher fields. Her speed figures stack up very well with her competition and she, too, figures to benefit from race dynamics. 

Selections: 7 – 8 – 5 – 10 

 

Race 7: Robillard (#7) was installed as the morning line favorite off the strength of her 114 speed figure third place showing behind the well-regarded Sea Calisi last month. That effort indicates she's in good form, and she may be better suited to the shorter distance of this race. The Pace Projector is predicting a situation favoring horses on or near the lead, which should work to the advantage of this potential frontrunner. While we respect her, we give slight preference to MISS CHATELAINE (#2). Christophe Clement gets a 98 trainer rating with runners coming off layoffs of this type. She primarily contested longer races towards the end of last year, but she's perfectly capable of handling this distance and she's run some of her best races at Belmont. We believe she's the most talented horse in this race, but she has to overcome the projected pace scenario.

Selections: 2 – 7 – 3 – 4 

 

Race 8: Runaway Posse (#6) is the horse to beat, but he's developed a tendency of hanging in the late stages of his recent starts. Especially last time, he may have been a little too close to the pace, but he still had little to excuse to finish up in such lackluster fashion after getting a quick pace to close into. We prefer THREE FOR ME (#7), who took a step in the right direction last time after a disappointing return from the layoff two back. He now gets some logical class relief. His running style should give him an advantage in a race that does not feature that much early speed. At a bigger price, we could even throw in Snake Oil Charlie (#5), who has been steadily improving in recent starts and may find this distance to his liking.

Selections: 7 – 6 – 5 – 4 

 

Race 9: Thin Dress (#2) is a deserving favorite as she drops in class for Bill Mott, who gets a 98 trainer rating with horses moving from maiden special weight to maiden claiming company. She didn't do much running in her debut but she figures to move forward with that experience under her belt. We can make a similar case for Stevie the Cat (#9), whose trainer, Tom Proctor, also gets a 98 trainer rating with this move. They'll be on our tickets but our top pick is long shot WEEKEND HOTTIE (#8). She has run competitive speed figures at this level and lost all chance last time when she went four-wide around both turns. She's better than that and may get ignored on the tote board here.

Selections: 8 – 2 – 9 – 6

 

 
 
 
 

TimeformUS Analysis for June 22

TimeformUS Analyst David Aragona

TimeformUS Analysis for Racing at Belmont Park on Wednesday June 22

>>Go To TimeformUS Past Performances For These Races

Race 1: Of those that have run, we’re most interested in MacCorleot (#10). Wesley Ward gets a 97 trainer rating with second-time starters, and does especially well with runners moving to turf in their second starts. This daughter of Uncle Mo was a little slow into stride in her debut but rushed up while racing wide on the turn before flattening out. We expect better here and prefer her slightly to obvious contender Bahama Halo (#5). That said, our top choice is the first-time starter, NOBLE READY (#3). Christophe Clement gets a 92 trainer rating with first-time starters, and is particularly effective with two-year-olds debuting in turf sprints. This filly is a full-sister to multiple turf stakes winner Zindaya and a half-sister to Grade 1-winning turfer Western Aristocrat.

Selections: 3 – 10 – 5 – 9 

 

Race 2: We don’t see any viable alternatives to the heavy favorite BEACH HUT (#1), who is probably going to win for fun as he takes a nose-dive down the class ladder. His recent speed figures are far superior to his competition and he held his form well in his first start for Danny Gargan last time. After starting Point Hope (#6) in an ambitious spot off the claim, Rudy Rodriguez is getting more realistic as he drops him down into this $20,000 claimer. Point Hope has won at seven furlongs before, but he’s unlikely to get any pace to close into today.

Selections: 1 – 6 – 4 – 5 

 

Race 3: One could make a reasonable case for each of the five runners in this race. We’re not making the most creative argument in picking STORMY SKY (#5), but we do feel that she brings the best credentials. This filly ran very well two back when making an early four-wide move around the far turn. She made the lead sooner than Eric Cancel would have liked, but she held sway gamely in the stretch. Then last time, she was racing in an uncomfortable spot behind and between horses for much of her trip and then had to wait for room at the top of the stretch. She probably would have been a clear second that day otherwise. She always shows up and we’re not trying to beat her. Rachel’s Temper (#1) has run well in each of her last two starts, but she’s unlikely to get the favorable pace setup that she received last time. Desert Valley (#2) was totally overmatched in the Ogden Phipps last time, but she does have some competitive speed figures on her resume, and her tactical speed should make her dangerous in a situation projected to favor horses on or near the lead.

Selections: 5 – 2 – 1 – 4 

 

Race 4: Wild Chatter (#7) or Candida (#10) could certainly win this race. They performed well at this level last time, but both had relatively good trips. Wild Chatter, in particular, had no excuse to lose and actually got herself beaten by wandering around in the stretch after making the lead. We believe there are some other more interesting players that should go off at slightly higher prices. The Pace Projector is predicting that Miss Aja Brown (#9) will be racing on a clear early lead in a situation favoring the frontrunner. She was forced to rate last time after an awkward start, but she came through along the rail professionally. The two horses that finished just behind her both came back to run improved races in their subsequent starts. She’ll be on our tickets, but our top pick is INDYGITA (#4). This filly was facing subtly tougher competition at Gulfstream this winter. She ran well two back after getting shuffled out early in the race and last time she lost to a filly that has gone on to win two more times, most recently taking down a stakes. Indygita is in good form and her tactical speed should have her placed close to the pace.

Selections: 4 – 9 – 7 – 10 

 

Race 5: There are many ways to go in a race where the contenders just aren’t that reliable. Our top pick is DA WILDCAT GIRL (#3), who closed well into a slow pace (color-coded in blue) last time and now drops slightly in class. She apparently needed the short layoff earlier this spring because she’s come back with two improved efforts for Ed Barker. We also believe that Pearls for Girls (#9) will offer value. She ran competitive speed figures in March and April, but then caught a wet track, which she clearly does not like, and was squeezed out at the start last time. We’ll also use the logical Touching My Toes (#4), who gets some class relief.

Selections: 3 – 9 – 4 – 5

 

Race 6: There are a couple of ways to look at this race. On one hand, Chomsky (#8) is the fastest horse in this race. He has consistently earned speed figures that are faster than what the others have recorded and he's done so against some pretty legitimate competition. That said, he's had many chances and has often failed to get the job done at relatively short prices. It's possible--but not a certainty--that one or more of the lightly-raced horses could take a step forward. We think it would be unwise to dismiss Chomsky as a win candidate, but we will nevertheless try to beat him with MAGICIAN MAN (#9). This horse did not run very fast in his debut, but he is by a Belmont Stakes winner out of a dirt routing dam who is also by a Belmont Stakes winner. There is a lot of stamina in this pedigree so he is supposed to stretch out. Furthermore, Tony Dutrow, who gets just a 47 trainer rating with his debut runners, gets a 94 rating with second-time starters. He especially does well in situations where he's stretching maidens out in their second starts. We could also use Motown Sound (#5), who ran deceptively well in his debut last fall, and Tale of Mist (#6), who faced a weaker field last time but may be improving.

Selections: 9 – 8 – 5 – 6

 

Race 7: The likely favorite is Jonrah (#7), who drops in class for Chad Brown. While we acknowledge his merits, this is not the kind of horse that we want to take at a very short price. While we acknowledge that he's been facing tougher company, his two races this spring since the lengthy layoff have been unspectacular. Furthermore, the Pace Projector is predicting a situation that favors horses on or near the lead, which could work against this late runner. The one they will have to catch is Little Jerry (#5), who was able to pull off the victory against a slightly softer group last time after setting moderate early fractions. He tends to let horses come to him before battling on, so he might have had more in the tank that day. That said, we still don't want to take a short price on him, especially as he lands in 50-rated turf route trainer Michelle Nevin's barn. Our top pick is OUR EMERALD FOREST (#2), who has enough tactical speed to not let Little Jerry get too far away early. He's routinely faced tougher competition and has performed well off lengthy layoffs in the past. He also gets a positive rider switch to Luis Saez for this race.

Selections: 2 – 5 – 7 – 6

 

Race 8: With speeds like Saratoga Smoke, Midnightatmarions, and Pussy Willow all signed on, the Pace Projector is predicting a fast pace. That should benefit our top selection, SUGAR MAGS (#10). This filly ran well against a tougher group last time, only losing to an impressive runaway winner after slicing her way through the pack with an eye-catching late run. If she works out a trip again today, she's probably going to win. The others we would use are Kitty Maddnes (#3), who has a right to take a step forward as a three-year-old, and Queen of Castle (#12), who is improving but once again stepping up in class.

Selections: 10 – 3 – 12 – 8

 

Race 9: There are many ways to go in the finale and little proven turf sprint form on which to base opinions. We'll primarily use RIO VISTA (#1) and Citizen by Day (#3), who both at least have run well sprinting on turf previously. We could also include Bellamy Touch (#5), who drops in for a tag for Bill Mott after she was overmatched on dirt in her debut. We don't know if she can run at all, but her dam was a turf horse. We're somewhat against favored Crimson Cat (#9) at a short price. She's run the fastest races, but is an unkown quantity at shorter distances.

Selections: 1 – 3 – 5 – 9

 

 

 

TimeformUS Analysis for June 19

TimeformUS Analyst David Aragona

TimeformUS Analysis for Racing at Belmont Park on Sunday June 19th

>>Go To TimeformUS Past Performances For These Races


Race 1: Our Caravan (#4) is the deserving favorite as he drops in for $32,000—only slightly more than half the price for which he was last offered. His last race may have been a little disappointing, but this is still an awfully steep jump down the claiming ladder for a horse that had otherwise been running well for his new connections. He’s the horse to beat, but we don’t fully trust him at what should be a very short price. He faces at least one rival that is in very good form and may have a chance to beat him. PASS THE DICE (#3) seems to always show up, having finished in the exacta in 12 of 15 starts over fast dirt courses. He has admittedly been facing weaker company, but he’s earned strong speed figures in his recent starts and the commanding nature of his victories gives little indication that a backwards move is forthcoming. His trainer, Mike Miceli, has made the most of limited opportunities at this meet. The wild card in this race is Banner Bill (#1A), who makes his first start for David Jacobson. Some of his Oaklawn Park races give him a chance.

Selections: 3 – 4 – 1A – 6

 

Race 2: WHATSTOTALKABOUT (#8) looked like a certain winner coming by the eighth pole last time, but he just could not get by a game Animal Posse, who refused to relinquish. Animal Posse returned to finish a strong second earlier this week in his first start against winners, so the race in question seems to be legitimate. Jason Servis adds blinkers and Whatstotalkabout appears to have landed in the right kind of spot. We prefer him to the two runners coming out of the May 28 maiden race won by Whiskey Seven. Junger ran the best race that day, but we question his ability to get seven furlongs. Yummy Bear (#2), on the other hand, may be suited to this slight stretch-out, but he’s had his chances. At a bigger price, we could also throw in Heavenly Sun (#7), who steps up in class after a decent second place finish for a $40,000 tag. He gets a positive rider switch to Jose Lezcano.

Selections: 8 – 2 – 7 – 4 

 

Race 3: Fabulous Kid (#1) brings plenty of back class to this race as he drops in for this $50,000 claiming tag. While he has undoubtedly run the fastest speed figures, we were not in love with his last race, in which he had little answer when called upon. He can win, but we don’t need to bet him at a short price. Of the Linda Rice duo, we give slight preference to Celebrated Talent (#6), who took advantage of a perfect trip last time to draw off to an impressive victory, earning a best-last-out speed figure of 111. He was a turnback last time, but this horse has no problems handling sprint distances. It’s usually wise to take notice when Linda Rice moves a horse up in class (100 trainer rating moving up by 50% or more) and she gives a rare leg up to Javier Castellano. We’ll use him, but our top pick is MANHATTAN MISCHIEF (#4). This runner was overmatched in a tough allowance race late in the Belmont Stakes day card last time, but we find it encouraging that he’s wheeling back quickly in this easier spot. He used a similar pattern to work his way into the exacta at 21/1 two races back. He’s earned some of the fastest speed figures in the race and the Pace Projector is predicting that he will be on the lead in a situation favoring the frontrunners.

Selections: 4 – 6 – 1 – 7 

 

Race 4: Llanita (#5) has lost at short prices four times in a row since arriving in this country. Win or lose, she’s going to be favored again in this spot. On one hand, we do like this turnback to seven furlongs for her. She appears to flatten out late in many of her two-turn races and she was successful sprinting in France as a two-year-old. We think she’s the horse to beat, but we could never bet her at slim odds. Our top pick is CREATIVE DIRECTOR (#8), who goes out for Shug McGaughey, a 57-rated debut trainer who gets an 84 trainer rating with second-time starters. This filly is by War Front out of the Grade 1-placed turfer Theyskens’ Theory, so the potential is there. She lagged well back in the early going first time out, launched a wide rally on the far turn, but flattened out late. She lost by almost 13 lengths, but the winner of that race won by over 9, so she actually wasn’t disgraced in defeat. The 91 speed figure that she earned stacks up well here and horses have run back out of that last race to validate the figure. We also want to be cognizant of the prices on a couple of firsters, particularly Sassy Little Lila (#10). Brad Cox does well with first-time starters across the board, including turf races, and this filly certainly has the pedigree to handle this surface.

Selections: 8 – 5 – 10 – 6 

 

Race 5: Depending on what the riders of a few horses posted down towards the rail do, there may not be a lot of early speed in this race. In fact, the Pace Projector is predicting that BRUISED ORANGE (#10) will be out winging on a clear lead in a situation favoring the frontrunner. She’s our top pick, partly for that reason, but also because she ran very well in her only turf start in this country. She set a contested pace last August at Saratoga and was only just run down by the talented colt Too Discreet. She got her prep in last time and Wesley Ward gets a 100 trainer rating with horses moving from synthetic to turf. She’ll have to hold off the late charge of Quaver (#11), who, despite losing, has run very well in both starts since returning from the layoff. We also want to include Lady of Victory (#2) and Ortiga (#4), who possess the tactical speed to not be compromised by a lack of pace if things slow down too much on the front end.

Selections: 10 – 11 – 4 – 2 

 

Race 6: Given the presence of speeds like Apache Warrior (#1) and John Eddie (#13), who will break from opposite ends of the starting gate, it’s no surprise that the Pace Projector is predicting a fast pace. We’re hoping that these and others ensure an honest early clip because we’re primarily interested in late runners. Our top selection is NORM THE GIANT (#4). We were interested in this horse last time, but were very wary of his rider, who has had little success on this circuit. Unfortunately, the horse actually showed up with a decent effort, but his ridiculous trip was impossible to overcome. After getting badly steadied out at the start, he was rushed up to regain contact with the field while racing extremely wide. This horse had previously been hindered by biases in his two starts in March and is in much better form than it appears. We love the rider switch to Jose Lezcano and have to give him another chance. We could also use Nicholson (#7), whose last two races at this level have been fine, and Corpie the Cat (#12), a disappointing claim for Todd Pletcher who is getting some needed class relief.

Selections: 4 – 7 – 12 – 2 

 

Race 7: Fulmer (#4) was made the favorite on the morning line, and he can certainly win this race if he has improved with maturity since his two-year-old season. However, this horse has been off for an awfully long time and no one really knows what to expect, in spite of strong layoff numbers for Christophe Clement, so we’re not willing to take a very short price on him. In many ways the horse to beat is Harbor King (#11), who almost led a similar field the entire way last time. He’s the only confirmed frontrunner in this race and appears to be in excellent form. The only issue is that he’s 1-for-29 in his career. We ultimately landed on COCO IS LOCO (#9). This three-year-old made quite a splash in his debut, putting in an eye-catching run while wide on the far turn to sweep to victory. He finally got back on turf last time and was somewhat dull, but he may have needed that start off the layoff. He has some questions to answer, but the price should be fair enough to warrant taking a shot.

Selections: 9 – 11 – 4 – 3 

 

Race 8: This is an incredibly deep field for a listed stakes race. Ava’s Kitten (#10) exits a pair of strong efforts behind Catch a Glimpse in Kentucky and should appreciate the slight class relief that she’s getting here. We also believe that this filly may be better suited to one-turn races, so this switch back to Belmont should suit her. However, she could have her hands full here if TIN TYPE GAL (#9) can return to the form she displayed during her juvenile season off the layoff. This filly really impressed us last year and she is bred to just keep getting better with age. Graham Motion gets a 94 trainer rating with horses coming off layoffs of this type and it’s not as if she even has to improve that much to come out on top. Furthermore, the Pace Projector is predicting a fast pace, which should help set up her late kick. Of those exiting the Soaring Softly over this course last month, the one we want most is Welcoming (#5), who would also benefit from some pace and should appreciate stretching back out to a mile.

Selections: 9 – 10 – 5 – 3  

 

Race 9: We’re not trying to beat the obvious favorite KUNDRAY (#8) in the finale. She ran fine over a very soft turf course two back at Gulfstream and then put in a furious late rally to just miss getting up at Keeneland last time. She was the only horse to make such a dramatic run from the back of the pack that day. Now she’s facing a softer group as she makes her debut against New York-breds. Of those exiting the race won by Naked Empress on May 12, the one we want most is Munchkin Money (#2), who had trouble getting fully clear while racing somewhat greenly in the stretch. At a big price, we also want to include Out Of Nowhere (#7) in exactas and trifectas. This filly has had a few more chances than the others, but she’s shown talent when she’s been able to race into form, and her last is a signal that she’s heading in the right direction.

Selections: 8 – 2 – 7 – 9