2YO Maiden Special Weight ‘Picks, Plays and Pontification’ – Belmont at the Big A, 05/24/2024

May 23, 2024

Belmont at the Big A, Race 1 – Friday, May 24, 2024

By The 2YO EdgeMan

BAQ1:052424 – 5 1/2f on the Turf.  Nine colts (including two entries) are set to do battle on the lawn providing we can keep the rain away.  All but a pair of them will be making their first start.  Twos are wild in the trainer column with Potts, Mark Casse, and Ward each entering a pair of runners.  Kenneally also will sling the saddle across one.  The sires that have my attention are Bernardini, Classic Empire, Kodiac, Churchill, and Practical Joke.  Let’s take a closer look at some of these dudes that interest me…

#1 – Mister Monoclonal (5/1) – This is the first of two in the Mark Casse entry and this colt comes by way of Bernardini from a Bernstein mare – he is making his debut run. Mama banked $132K in her racing days by going three for 12.  In the breeding shed, she’s thrown six other foals of racing age, one filly who won her fifth start while two in October of GP West (86 EBSF) and one who won in their sixth effort as a two-year-old, also in October, in a Maiden Claiming event at Santa Anita.  Today’s runner hammered for $110K as a yearling.  He’s worked a total of four times (15 furlongs) with his first three coming down at Palm Meadows Training Center and his most recent here at Belmont.  In his last drill down in Florida on 5/3/24 earned him a ‘small bullet’ – 36.15 seconds for three furlongs (1/8).  Mark will entrust Dylan Davis to ride this guy.

#1A – Classic Time (5/1) – The second half of the Mark Casse entry will start from the five hole, just outside of his stablemate.  As you’ve likely already guessed, this FTS Louisiana-bred colt is by Classic Empire and was thrown by an Indian Charlie mare who was winless in two attempts at racing.  She’s also produced two other foals of racing age, but they’ve not set the world on fire.  Today’s runner was a $40,000 yearling last winter down in Ocala.  He’s have five morning drills (15 total furlongs) here at Belmont over the dirt training track with no flashy times, but all solid efforts.  Mark taps Isaac Castillo to guide him today.

#2 – After Taxes (8/5) – Wes Ward will saddle this firster who is an Irish-Bred colt sired by Kodiac.  He was thrown by a Sea The Stars mare who doesn’t show any PPs, however she may have started in Europe.  Additionally, it appears that this is her first foal.  When today’s entrant was a weanling, he sold for the equivalent of $98,700 (6/38) and then he brought approximately $169,100 as a yearling (15/130).  He’s logged seven works (the first at Payson Park back in late March and the last seven at Keeneland) for a total of 23 furlongs and his last was rapid – 34.6 from the gate over three panels (1/53).  Wesley will give the leg up to Johnny V.

#2B – Honorary American (8/5) – The second half of the Wesley Ward entry is also an Irish-bred colt.  This dude is from the stallion Churchill and was thrown by a mare from Bernardini.  This guy demanded $88,000 when he was a weanling (4/23) and then came back to bring $296K as a yearling (5/84).  Also a FTS, Ward worked this guy with his stablemate last time out in the morning at Keeneland on 5/17/24 and he has seen a total of eight works (the first two at PMM and the last six at KEE).  Joel Rosario will tickle the leather.

#6 – Cheval de Guerre (7/5)  – The morning line favorite is from the Eddie Kenneally barn – his stallion is Carvaggio and his mom is by Declaration of War.  She was only one of 13 in her racing days with earnings of $55,000 and this is her first foal.  Originally, today’s competitor RNAed for $70,000 as a weanling, then brought only $22,000  as a yearling, but earlier this year, as a 2YO, he demanded $450,000 from John Stewart’s Resolute Racing.  The dude ran a big race on the lawn at Keeneland in his only attempt when he held the lead at the head of the lane on 4/25/24 in a 5 ½ furlong affair, only to be caught and clipped by a ½ length on the wire.  Since then, Eddie has put him through two 4f works – his next to last was a terrific move of 47.8 (2/88).  Irad Ortiz, Jr. will get to pilot him for the first time.

Pick – #1/#1A – Ward has won at a clip of 29.4% at Belmont in the spring over the previous five years (15/51, with seven of those scores coming on the lawn – and, yes, I know this race is technically at AQU)  Kenneally’s horse certainly looks like a formidable foe (and he’s got Irad in the saddle), but I like both of the Ward runners (Honorary American slightly better, if I had to pick between the two) and you may get a slightly better price – we’ll see.  My guess is that the ‘2YO Maestro’ is looking to take one, if not both, over to Ascot in a few weeks.  Have a blast with this one – it should be a dandy!  Thank you for your keen interest in two-year-old racing – you’ve come to the best place to get the key insights on it – www.pastthewire.com.

Contributing Authors

The 2YO Edge Man, Past The Wire

The 2YO EdgeMan

The 2YO EdgeMan started following horse racing when his family moved to Louisville, KY when he was 9 years old.  The story goes that he...

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Nice score King! @jonathanstettin Well played with the 4 singled on one ticket. 2 times! Big congrats.

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