Friday, July 11, 2014
TimeformUS Analyst Mike Beer
TimeformUS Belmont Analysis for Saturday, July 12
Race 1: With four of the six entered for the opener exiting the 4th race from June 19, evaluating that race may go a long way toward giving you a handle on this one. We were impressed with the late run put in by #3 Grand Rapport to get up in there, as he was last at the top of the stretch and still had work to do at the 1/8th pole, but still managed to close up on the leaders; he clearly has back races that are too tough for these, and having a 3: 2-1-0 record over this distance is another point in his favor. #2 Zane clipped heels early on and took an inside trip while no threat behind Grand Rapport in that race, but he was very impressive in winning his most recent turf start prior to that one, and he could put his strong late pace rating of 103 to good use with a clean trip. #5 Kiss of Thunder disappointed last time after running very well in his first three starts of the year; could be given a chance to rebound at the right price. We would take the chances of #6 Pretension very seriously were he not claimed from his last start (new trainer gets lowly 41 rating off the claim, and is 2 for his last 50 off the claim on turf), as his lone turf route, which came prior to the layoff last year, gives him a chance, and Pace Projector puts him on the early lead here.
Race 2: #2 Saythreehailmary's was impressive in breaking her maiden over this track and trip two starts back, and she earned an 86 TimeformUS Speed Figure for that effort, which is the top dirt figure in the race (none of her opponents has ever reached 80); makes second start vs. winners after racing on gamely while only third-best last time, but faced a couple of tougher foes there. #5 Daddy's Lil Saint showed enough as a 2yo to merit consideration here, and she's run only on turf so far this year. #1 Devious Maddy ran well with the best trip when back to dirt off the trainer change last time; will need to run her very best race over fast dirt this time.
Race 3: #5 Petrocelli has been facing tougher than this right along, and he ran well last time while taking charge of a fast early pace before succumbing late; Pace Projector places him in control early once again in a race that favors runners on or near the early lead.
#4 Beyond Empire was likely best two back when forced to take a five-wide run through the turn, and he did have trouble at the break last time before tiring in the stretch. #1 Four Directions parlayed a perfect trip tracking a pace duel into an overdue maiden win last time; stretches a little farther in a tougher spot.
Race 4: Tough turf allowance for fillies and mares has no shortage of contenders, so we'll take a shot at a price with #5 Malibu Holiday. She is clearly a better turf horse, so the spate of dirt races won't dissuade us, and she earned speed figures for her three turf races in NY (two of which she won) that fit well in this field. #3 Love Train switched to turf last time off the trainer change and could hardly have been more impressive in kicking clear strongly through the stretch before being taken in hand prior to the finish; must stretch out for the first time, which is no small thing, especially at a short price. #1 Lonesome Town has been close in a couple of tough spots recently, but didn't come away unlucky in either of those races; this is a better spot.
Race 5: #10 Startripenterprise's only dirt starts since being claimed by the very sharp Nick Esler have come vs. MSW company, and he was rated back and wide against a gold rail on March 16th, and then caught slop over a mile on May 8th; switches back from turf for this, and Pace Projector indicates that he has the best early speed in the field. #6 Hampden Fiveone has been unlucky more than once, and he is also dropping in class here while switching from turf to dirt; trainer gets 99 rating with the MSW-to-MCL drop, from a limited sample. #1 Bryce Bryce Baby can be given another chance as he drops down off the trainer change and layoff for his second career start; had some speed after getting away at the back of the field in his debut.
Race 6: One final chance for #7 Ziggy the Great here, as he cuts back to sprint on the turf for the second time since his solid debut win last summer; the only time he's sprinted this year, he was in contention past midstretch in a race that fell apart, and he tired out after dueling for the lead when left in to try the muddy main track last time. #11 Asset Inflation tired to finish over five lengths behind #3 Archer Hill when they met over this track and trip last month, but he was caught up dueling three-wide that day, while Archer Hill sat it out in a perfect trip; we'll take him to turn the tables this time. #4 Wake Up in Malibu has flashed some ability on the main track, and switches to turf with some pedigree, being out of a dam who went 5-for-7 in her career over turf, including a couple of stakes wins. #2 Three for Me switches to turf off the claim, and he did not run poorly in a solid $40k claimer the only other time he tried grass.
Race 7: #11 My Four Rewards ran a couple of turf races vs. claiming company last summer that fit well in this field, and she did not get the most comfortable trip in the world either time; taking her at a price as she drops back down in class for her second start off the layoff. #5 Eddy's Time has some hang in her, but she managed to take over after a perfect trip and hold on to the end to get her long overdue maiden win last time; think the shorter distance of this race may suit her well. #8 Eurokay by Me is just 1-for-40 lifetime, but she's run two of her best races since being claimed by this trainer, and she has received a couple of questionable rides in those races. #4 Dattts Da Boss and #10 Saratoga Karaoke are both contenders, but they both took advantage of fast paces that collapsed in their recent good efforts.
Race 8: Strong coupled entry from David Jacobson here is tough to go against, as both #1 Cousin Michael and #1A Groomedforvictory look tough in this spot. Won't try to beat them but will be interested to see what we get from #3 Associate as he continues his comeback with a class drop; caught very wide throughout the running in a very tough spot off that long layoff.
Race 9: The Grade 2 Bowling Green, run over 1 1/2 miles on the Widener course, drew a well-matched field of seven, which is likely to scratch down to six with #4 Chamois cross-entered to an easier spot over the same distance at Delaware Park on Saturday.
This race appears to go directly through the 6/5 ML favorite, #5 Grandeur, who recently finished 4th in the Grade 1 Manhattan and 3rd in the Grade 1 Man O' War and takes a bit of a step back in class here. He ran TimeformUS Speed Figures of 113 and 112 in those two races, and while those figures make him competitive in here, they actually give him no edge at all over several of these horses. He has better races than that to get to, but he'll likely have to in order to come out on top in this race, and we thought that he was just picking up pieces at the end of the Manhattan last time while finishing a no-factor 4th. We have no argument with him as the horse to beat, but we think we can do better than taking him at a short price. Instead, we will be looking to beat Grandeur in this spot.
The second choice on the ML is #3 Boisterous. Boisterous is, like Grandeur, a logical horse in this race, and he is going to be very tough if he shows up here with his best stuff. The problem with him is that he hasn't appeared to have his best stuff yet since being privately purchased and sent to Todd Pletcher's barn for his last four starts, and he has always been a horse who is at his best with a little "give" in the ground. We also have never thought that he was at his best at this kind of distance. Unless it rains, in which case we would move him up, we will stand against Boisterous on top.
We want to try #1 Hangover Kid on top in this race. He figures to be a playable price in here and is not a horse who gives you concerns over distance, as he has run very well over 1 3/8 miles several times in the past and done so in some tough spots. He has also managed to run TimeformUS Speed Figures on par with the two most recent figures earned by Grandeur, and he bounced back from a no-show effort at Keeneland with a strong runner-up effort at Monmouth last month. We think Hangover Kid is dangerous in the Bowling Green at a square price, and we like that he reunites with the hot-riding Jose Lezcano for this. He will be the focus of our play.
The other horse for us is #7 Reflecting, who actually turns back out of a 2-mile race, one in which he was an unlucky loser at a big price after failing to gain clearance at a crucial point in the stretch. He is a typical slow-developing runner from the Phipps/Shug McGaughey operation, and he is also the field's lone two-time winner over 1 1/2 miles.
Race 10: Bit of a guess in wide open finale, but #8 Molly Jordan returns form the layoff with a class drop, and her half-brother, Sandy'z Slew, has been a very effective turf sprinter since making the switch. #5 Lakeview Lady drops to a better spot after getting caught up in a couple of fast paces vs. better; she feels like the horse to beat as she makes her second start off the layoff.
There have been some whispers surrounding #12 Home to Carrowkeel, who was scratched from a dirt race earlier in the meet, so we'll see what we get if she starts here; sire Big Brown is off to a good start with turf sprinters.