Thursday, July 10, 2014
TimeformUS Analyst Mike Beer
TimeformUS Belmont Analysis for Friday, July 11
Race 1: #3 Rigby is the horse to beat in the opener, and he only figures tougher with Pace Projector placing him in charge of the early pace, but he's been hard to trust for a while now, and when last seen, he did not look good when never offering a challenge as an odds-on favorite. We'll try to beat him with #6 Buckeye Heart, who has been unlucky several times during his current losing streak and gamely outfinished Rigby for 2nd when they matched up at the end of May. #4 Straight Fax may be all done, but he's capable with his best race, and showed some late determination to get up for 3rd last time.
Race 2: #1 Giant Slayer didn't have much to offer in his debut, which came over turf, but so far this year, Clement has won with three of six maidens switching from turf to dirt in their second start; plenty of pedigree to suggest this surface will agree with him (91 pedigree rating), as his half-sister Welcome Guest was Grade 3-placed on dirt, and his dam is a half-sister to Grade 1 dirt winner Political Force. #5 Stockholder raced greenly and then finished with interest in his debut earlier in the meet and rates to improve for the experience, though his trainer has been quiet here this summer, his horses underperforming when they've appeared. #3 Sublime and #7 Successful Runner are the ML favorites, and they've run the fastest races so far, but they've also had their chances, and neither is particularly scary at a short price.
Race 3: #5 Wine Burglar has run some of the best turf races in this field, and she got a long-overdue win last time despite having to swing very wide to the stretch from off the pace; found right kind of spot for first start against winners. #6 Quick as a Bunny couldn't do much with a very good trip tracking an 80/1 shot on the lead last time, but that was a much better field, and she can do better vs. this one. #3 Funky Munky Fever endured a tough trip on turf three starts back when unable to find anywhere to run in the stretch, and then came running very late at a huge price in a stallion series race last time; heading the right way. #2 Wraith is the wildcard, as her dirt form makes her the one to beat, but it is unknown whether she can reproduce that form on grass.
Race 4: #5 Granny's Kitten is a full sister to Grade 1 turf winner Kitten's Dumplings, who was a debut winner routing on grass; trainer one of the few who excels at getting 2yos to win first-time out over route distances.
#10 Cabo de Hornos is an Ohio-bred with some pedigree, as his dam was Group 3-placed in England and made over $163k on turf overall. #12 Reality debuts for Pletcher/Castellano, and his dam was a stakes winner, and graded stakes-placed, over both turf and dirt, but she was better over sprint distances, and her 7 foals to date have not accomplished much (only 2 are winners to this point). #3 Security Risk is out of Smuggler, who won multiple Grade 1s on dirt, but she gets turf from sire War Front.
Race 5: No one to trust in this two-life claimer, but a pace battle may develop between #7 Probably and #9 Mononoke, which would give class dropping #8 Wisdom of Oz the best chance she's had in a while.
#4 Cajun Wedding was a no-excuse 2nd behind the now 2-for-50 Bluesixtyfour after a perfect trip two starts back, but is back into a restricted race here after facing open claimers last time.
Race 6: #7 Pilatus and #10 Knox both had clean runs into a fast contested pace on May 25th but couldn't parlay that scenario into a win at this level; unlikely to get another set-up like that today, and, while they can win, they aren't good horses to take short prices on.
We'll instead try #9 Deimos, who chased and tired in a turf sprint off the layoff but may be the speed of this matchup as he drops in class for the first time.
Race 7: #1 Artic North is taking a big class drop here after finding himself behind a slow pace on Belmont Stakes Day; unlikely to find a much better spot than this one. #9 Favor Factor is the main danger, as he has back races that can compete with Artic North, and he endured a very tough trip when dropped to this level last time, coming away a very unlucky loser that day.
Race 8: #1 West Hills Giant acted up prior to his turf return last month and then didn't run his race; he is better than that, handles dirt, and lands in a race containing plenty of speed, which should play to his benefit over this elongated sprint distance. #4 Weekend Hideaway acquitted himself very well over a mile in a tough spot last time, and he did not get the cleanest of trips two starts back; dangerous. #5 Amberjack has not been seen since failing to complete the Big Apple Triple last August in the Albany; think he's better going shorter, but he will need something approaching his best right off the bench in this spot.
Race 9: #9 Corinthian Summer has now lost four in a row as the favorite, but he's has reasonable excuses in all three 2014 starts, including the last one, as he was forced into a long battle from a wide position, which is always a bad combination over nine furlongs on the inner; won't be getting any more chances after this one. #2 Ostentatious Me raced greenly and wide when unable to contend in his turf debut, which came in a tough spot; this is better.