Saturday, June 11, 2016
TimeformUS Analyst David Aragona
TimeformUS Analysis for Racing at Belmont Park on Sunday June 12
>>Go To TimeformUS Past Performances For These Races
Race 1: The two logical players are Distinctive Lady (#4) and Miss Amalita (#5). Distinctive Lady was off a step slowly last time, and was slow into stride thereafter, dropping well off the pace in the early going. Meanwhile, Miss Amalita raced up close to what was a pretty fast pace (color-coded red) and hung in well until the final furlong, when she was passed by the rallying Distinctive Lady. We feel that Miss Amalita ran the stronger race that day and the Pace Projector is predicting that she will have an advantage over her rivals here. That said, we don’t find either of these runners to be particularly inspiring options from a wagering standpoint, which is why we’ve landed on OMAGODDONNA (#2). This filly has been off for a long time, having not made a start since early in her three-year-old season. However, she actually kept some decent company back then put in a couple of decent sprint efforts when last seen. One would imagine that she’s matured since then and it’s not as if she would have to improve that much on the 88 speed figure she earned when last seen. Carl Domino has won with a few runners coming off similar lengthy layoffs recently, and we think she’s worth a stab.
Selections: 2 – 5 – 4 – 3
Race 2: The entry of Sweet Loretta (#1) and Teresa Z (#1A) is listed as the 6/5 favorites on the morning line. Pletcher gets an excellent 100 trainer rating with debuting two-year-old maidens, so these two deserve respect. However, neither one possesses pedigrees that suggest they’re going to win early. That’s especially true in the case of John Velazquez’s mount, Teresa Z, who is out of an A. P. Indy mare that’s a half-sister to Storm Flag Flying. We’ll use them defensively, but we’re more interested in a couple of fillies with experience. Dixie Kicks (#3) set the pace in a pretty loaded maiden race here last month before succumbing to the well-regarded Olive Branch in the stretch. The 91 speed figure that she earned would have made her competitive in the stakes earlier this week, so she must be respected. However, our top selection is the other runner out of that same race, CHINA RIDER (#7). We feel that Joel Rosario gave her the perfect learning experience last time, not rushing her along early, and allowing her to finish up well through the stretch. She galloped out strongly and we believe she will have more to offer this time.
Selections: 7 – 3 – 1/1A – 5
Race 3: Money Changer (#1) did not do that much running in his return on turf last time. He is more of a dirt horse, so the surface switch should agree with him, but we still don’t have any concrete evidence that he’s ready to return to his best form from last spring. We feel like he’s going to take money just because of the connections. Evolution (#3) is projected to lead this field early in a situation favoring the frontrunner. He ran well in each of his last two starts, earning speed figures of 100 and 98, the two highest numbers in the field. We don’t fully trust him to win the race, especially stretching out to six and a half furlongs, but he’s a major player nonetheless. Our top pick is the turnback SHADOW RIDER (#5). He’s never sprinted before, but he did run the best race of his life going a one-turn mile over this track. If Brolic and/or The Great Whiteway can apply some pressure to Evolution early, we’re hopeful that the race will fall apart just enough to allow Shadow Rider to run them down. Race ratings indicate he’s coming out of a tougher race at this level and should appreciate the subtle class relief.
Selections: 5 – 3 – 1 - 2
Race 4: We have little confidence in the chances of any of the competitors in this fourth race. The horse to beat is probably the morning line favorite Nonna Jo (#1), who may have been hindered by fast paces (color-coded in red) in each of her last two starts. However, we don’t think she’s ever going to get back to her strong debut effort and feel that she’s moving in the wrong direction. Even this further drop in class may not be enough to wake her up. Vision of Mine (#8) owns some of the fastest speed figures in the race. The problem is that they were all earned over a year ago and she hasn’t been seen in over 12 months. Michael Pino gets an 89 trainer rating with all types of layoff runners and she is running in the softest spot of her career, but we still find her difficult to trust. We’ve landed on ICE COUTURE (#7) as our top selection. She was facing tougher company two back and then was not able to make a dent into a slow pace (color-coded in blue) last time. Jimmy Ryerson gets a positive 78 trainer rating with new claims in a small sample and we believe this filly has found herself in the right spot at the right time.
Selections: 7 – 8 – 1 – 9
Race 5: Fly Ash (#2) is the horse to beat, but she’s gotten relatively good trips in her last two starts. She may work out another favorable trip today from this inside post position, but we’d rather not settle for the shortest price in such a competitive race. Of the fillies that finished behind runaway winner Broken Border on May 18, we’re most interested in second-time starter Marshmellowmaddnes (#10), who stayed on well through the lane that day and is bred to stretch out in distance. Flying K C (#12) finished ahead of her that day, but we believe she was better suited to that seven furlong distance than today’s route affair. Additionally, she’s hung out in a wide draw. This is a bit of a guess, but we think PRIDE OF SARATOGA (#4) may have much more to offer in her second start. George Weaver has been having a sensational Belmont meet, and he gets an 81 trainer rating with horses dropping from maiden special weight to maiden claiming races. This filly has worked out in an encouraging fashion since her debut—especially considering the pedestrian fractions she ran in the actual race. She was bad that day, but we’re going to give her the benefit of the doubt.
Selections: 4 – 10 – 2 – 12
Race 6: Dauphine Russe (#2) put in a fantastic effort to win over this trip when last seen at Belmont Park in the fall of 2015. She’s made stops in Florida and California since then, but now returns to New York for David Jacobson. Her performances have been a little inconsistent as of late, but she seems to still do her best work in turf sprints. She’s earned some of the fastest speed figures and, if she flashes the speed she showed two back, she could control this race on the front end. The Jason Servis-trained pair of Sunrise Kitty (#1) and Simple Love (#9) merit consideration and have both run well over this turf course in the past. We’ll use them in exactas and trifectas, but our top pick is ROYAL TEMPTRESS (#3). Going back to January of 2015, she actually ran very well sprinting on turf at Santa Anita. She seemed to tail off in longer races towards the end of that year, but reappeared in Barclay Tagg’s barn at Gulfstream. There, she was overmatched in all of her starts. Race ratings indicate that she’s taking a needed drop in class and we like the fact that she’s getting another chance to sprint. She’s the wild card in this race, and we think the price could be inviting enough for us to bite.
Selections: 3 – 2 – 1 – 9
Race 7: Bluegrass Prevails (#7) is going to be a strong favorite once again in this race, and his recent performances back up this support. He’s recorded three straight triple-digit speed figures and is coming off a very game, albeit losing, performance against the talented Love That Jazz. However, he does not face an easy take today, since he’s likely going to have to deal with the speed of Frosti Agosti to his inside in the early stages. Six and a half furlongs may also be a bit of a stretch for him. At what should be a better price, we prefer PIERCE’S PRIZE (#3). This four-year-old has been in some of the best form of his career since returning to action this spring. He set an extremely fast pace two back and then was game to finish just ahead of eventual Mike Lee runner-up Mind Your Biscuits last time. He should sit a good stalking trip just in behind the speeds. At a huge price, we could also throw in Sharpie’s Dream (#5). He lost all chance when he was off slowly at the start last time, but we also wonder if he may have bled that day, since his connections apply Lasix for the first time here. He ran well when breaking his maiden two back and could be an overlay.
Selections: 3 – 7 – 5 – 2
Race 8: It will be interesting to see how these riders sort themselves out in the early going, since there is a serious dearth of early speed in this race. Manitoulin (#3) is projected to be the early leader, but he seems to be most comfortable being ridden as a closer. The horse to beat is Sport (#1), who was the wise guy pick last time off an eventful trip in his debut at Gulfstream. While he couldn’t get the job done as the favorite, Sport actually ran quite well, making a middle move down the backstretch and going wide around the far turn before flattening out in deep stretch. This half-brother to Isabella Sings is no cinch to stretch out to a mile and three-eighths, but the talent is there. A couple of runners making their second career starts interest us. Love and Care (#7) made a quick rush into contention at the half-mile pole in his debut, and proceeded to chase four-wide around the far turn before tiring in the stretch. This horse is bred to get better as the distances increase and Bill Mott gets a 76 trainer rating with second-time starters. Our top pick is SADLER’S JOY (#9), who was completely up against it from a pace perspective in his debut, where he rated well off a slow pace (color-coded in blue). Despite giving the others a head start, he actually finished up strongly through the stretch and galloped out like a freight train. He gets a positive rider switch to Jose Lezcano and is bred to run all day. He could get a little lost in the wagering in a very confusing race.
Selections: 9 – 1 – 7 – 3
Race 9: They’re going to have to catch Apologynotaccepted (#5), who was dazzling in her debut at Gulfstream, earning a field-best speed figure of 115. However, she was somewhat dull in her second start at Keeneland when losing at 1/2 odds against an ordinary field. You would imagine a mare that began her career at age five might have some issues and she’s no guarantee to handle this stretch-out to a mile despite the fact that she is projected to have a pace advantage. We prefer others. Going for Broke (#1) makes plenty of sense. She earned a competitive 104 speed figure when breaking her maiden in the slop last time. A couple of runners that finished behind her did come back to disappoint in subsequent starts, but this filly still has some upside. Our top selection is STELLA ROSE (#2). We realize that she did not run fast enough in her debut to make her a factor here, but we expect to see improvement today. Christophe Clement gets a 100 trainer rating with horses adding Lasix for the first time and a 95 trainer rating with runners that broke their maidens in their last starts. This filly hails from a strong female family that produced top runners like Citronnade, Whiskey Wisdom, and Poetically.
Selections: 2 – 1 – 5 – 6
Race 10: The finale feels like a two-horse, even though we don’t completely trust either one. Sauvignon (#2) is a deserving favorite, since she’s simply run faster than her competition on turf, and has done so against maiden special weight company. However, she was disappointing as the 4/5 favorite in her 2015 finale and now she’s coming off a lengthy layoff. She’s hard to trust at a short price. We prefer SARATOGA GAL (#7), who has faced only maiden special weight company in her turf races, but seems capable of handling sprint distances. We can excuse her three-year-old debut, in which she didn’t handle a sloppy track. We could also throw in long shot Super City (#4) underneath. She’s not really a winning type, but she’s had some trips in her turf races.
Selections: 7 – 2 – 4 – 3