Thursday, June 16, 2016
TimeformUS Analyst David Aragona
TimeformUS Analysis for Racing at Belmont Park on Friday June 17th
>>Go To TimeformUS Past Performances For These Races
Race 1: Unlike most Todd Pletcher runners, CARIBBEAN (#2) took a few starts to figure things out. However, his last two starts, a strong second place finish at Turfway and a fast-closing third on Oaks Day at Churchill Downs, appear to signal that he’s put it all together. Last time, he found himself a bit farther back than he otherwise might have been due to some early traffic. He’s our top pick, but we also want to use Somesville (#9), who put in an encouraging stretch run to get up for third in his debut. The runner-up came back to run well here last week. Shug McGaughey gets just a 57 trainer rating with debut runners and an 87 rating with second-time starters. Of the Chad Brown pair, we prefer his first-time starter, Kitten’s Dilemma (#1), to Wyeth (#6), who was a disappointment in his debut.
Selections: 2 – 9 – 1 – 3
Race 2: This race is dominated by firsters and we spot two that could have a major say in the outcome. Obviously, we have to include Todd Pletcher’s Ethan Hunt (#8), a son of Mission Impazible who is a half-brother to stakes-winner Teeth of the Dog. However, we don’t know what to make of the fact that this horse was prepared at Monmouth. Our top selection is the runner breaking from the rail, FOLLOW THE SIGNS (#1). Dominick Schettino does well enough with his debut runners, getting a 76 trainer rating with first-time-starter two-year-old maidens. This one is out of a precocious dam that won three of her first four starts, including two stakes. We could also use second-time starter Flagofpomeroy (#3), who is a half-brother to a couple of nice New York-breds and goes out for 87-rated second-time out trainer Michael Dilger.
Selections: 1 – 8 – 3 – 10
Race 3: While the Pace Projector is not predicting a situation favoring horses on or near the lead, we cannot ignore the fact that SILVER SILENCE (#4) appears to be the lone frontrunner in this race. The one predicted to be her closest pursuer early, Pink For Me (#6), is a one-run closer in sprint races and will attempt to stretch out in this spot. Silver Silence has run plenty of speed figures that can beat this field and she’s taking a slight drop in class. We also have to include morning line favorite My Jimmy Chew Girl (#5), who drops in for the lowest claiming tag she’s seen yet. She figures to be running on late.
Selections: 4 – 5 – 7 – 6
Race 4: Assuming both halves of the entry participate, we’re not trying to beat Chad Brown’s COMET SIXTY TWO (#1A). She’s simply faced far better competition in her recent starts, and all of her turf efforts in New York would make her awfully tough to beat in this race. We realize that her last race appears to be supbar, but that was a stakes-quality field that she was up against. (Note the 112 race rating that day compared to the preliminary 98 race rating today.) Wild Bella (#1) has a few more questions to answer, but she’s a decent enough backup option off the claim for Michael Dubb and Jeremiah Englehart. She’s typically been more of a router but she may find this distance to her liking. Katie O. (#5), like Come Sixty Two, is facing much easier company here. However, we are somewhat concerned that she came up so empty in the stretch of her last two starts. It’s possible that she’s moving in the wrong direction, but she still may have enough left in the tank to compete here. We’ll try to get long shot Desert Bliss to round out the trifecta. She’s run some of her best races at this distance.
Selections: 1A – 5 – 1 – 2 – 8
Race 5: We’re not trying to beat the favorite, STARTUP NATION (#8), who could not overcome a three- to four-wide trip last time. He was obviously expected to do better than that as such a strong favorite, but we’ll give him the benefit of the doubt since he was returning from a layoff. We like that he’s reunited with Joel Rosario, and Chad Brown gets a 91 trainer rating when adding blinkers. Uncle Sigh (#10) is the other runner that is going to take money in this spot, and while he’s certainly a threat, we’re more interested in Memories of Peter (#6), who finished just behind him last time. Memories of Peter, perhaps too keen off the layoff, made a premature move to the lead down the backstretch. He faded in the stretch, but actually fought on gamely to the wire. He should have more to offer today.
Selections: 8 – 6 – 10 – 7
Race 6: ROYAL EKATI (#6) was well-backed in his debut, going off at 6/5 against a decent field of New York-bred maidens. It’s always difficult for a first-time starter to break from the rail, and he could not overcome that draw. He was shuffled back in the early stages, eventually dropping out to last on the far turn. He made a mild late move through the stretch and galloped out with interest. There’s enough evidence to suggest he should handle this stretch-out to a mile and Barclay Tagg gets a solid 81 trainer rating with second-time starters. Only You (#4) is a bigger price that we want to throw in as a potential backup. He was also well bet in his debut, albeit on turf. However, this Christophe Clement trainee has much more of a dirt pedigree, so we wonder if he’ll have more to offer in his second start.
Selections: 6 – 4 – 9 – 3
Race 7: There is quite a bit of speed signed on for this race, led by recent maiden winner Animal Posse (#11). The Pace Projector is predicting a fast pace, which could help set things up for a closer. We could use the reliable Black Tide (#3), but we’re more interested in two lightly raced options. If he draws in off the also-eligible list, we would have to include Whiskey Seven (#13). We acknowledge that this horse got a very hot pace to close into in his debut, but he could face a similar scenario here. He made an eye-catching late run that day and has a right to keep improving as a half-brother to Princess Violet. However, the horse that we’re most interested in betting is TIMBER (#5), who makes his turf debut. This guy showed some potential in his debut, but has struggled in two starts against winners. We think this surface switch could wake him up, since he is a half-brother to Grade 1-placed turf sprinter Green Mask. His running style fits this race well, and we think he can make an impact here at a generous price.
Selections: 5 – 13 – 3 – 8 – 1
Race 8: We won’t overcomplicate this one. It’s basically a two-horse race between Toledo Eddie and Unbridled Juan. Toledo Eddie (#4) got the better of his rival two back, earning a graded-stakes-quality speed figure of 127. That was his fifth win in a row and should have set him up to be the favorite for a race like this. However, for whatever reason, David Jacobson decided to run this horse on turf last time despite the fact that he was 0-for-12 over that surface. He, unsurprisingly, did not show up and now we’re not sure what to make of him. We have no such questions about UNBRIDLED JUAN (#6), who has seemingly stepped forward with each start since moving into the barn of Jimmy Jerkens. This could be the final stop in optional claiming/allowance company before he’s stepped up into some graded stakes in the near future. Dontbetwithbruno (#3) is not impossible if he gets back to some of the races he ran off the claim for Rudy Rodriguez, but he’s a distant third choice.
Selections: 6 – 4 – 3 – 5
Race 9: He would require a number of scratches to draw into the race, but we wanted to point out TAKE ME AWAY (#16), who would be our top pick here if he drew in off the also-eligible list. He got an odd ride last time in his first turf start, rushing up to contest the pace before backing off. He appeared hopelessly beaten at the top of the stretch, but actually stayed on well to just finish three lengths out of second place. We don’t think this horse wants to go long and would be anxious to see what he can do sprinting on grass. If he doesn’t play, we’ll focus on two first-time turfers. Excluded (#1) is out of a dam that was a 5-time turf winner, won stakes on this surface, and earned over $200,000. Croke Park (#3) is a half-brother to a 4-time turf winner, and is coming off an effort in which he finally showed some signs of life. Of those with turf experience, Risky Sour (#11) is the one we could use. He’s had so many chances, but he is in the best form of his career.
Selections: 16 – 1 – 3 – 11 – 9