Belmont Park, Race 1 – Thursday, June 8, 2023
By 2YO EdgeMan
BEL1:060823 – Five furlongs on the grass. A full field of 12 fillies have been entered to take a shot at the $90,000 purse (this is quite a step up from the five that were entered here on Sunday). Eight of these gals are debutants, having never previously seen racing action. The other four have been out in the afternoon only one time. We’ve got a star-studded list of sires and trainers. More Than Ready is the dad to two of the twelve, along with singles from Liam’s Map, Speightstown, Mendelssohn, Constitution, Kodiac, English Channel, Munnings and one First-Crop sire – Flameaway. On the trainer side, Mike Maker has put two youngster’s names into the hopper, along with one each from Motion, Weaver, Clement, Mark Casse, Ward and Arnold. How ‘bout them apples? Let’s go…
#2 – Beads (8/1) – Graham Motion (1 for 5 in 2YO MSW races in Belmont Spring Meet races from 2018 thru 2022) will sling the saddle across this first-time starter by Speightstown who sold as a 2YO at OBS in March for $180,000 (6/9). Pops is a strong 21 of 113 (18.6%) with two-year-old MSWs on the turf at the ‘Top 11 Tracks’ from 2012 through 2022. Mom was 1 for 18 in her racing career (with her one win coming on the turf) and she earned $90,000. This filly has four half-siblings that started and all four were winners, including two that brought home north of $100K. She’s been out for seven morning drills, all at Fair Hill in Maryland, none that are overly fast. Motion will give Manny Franco a leg up.
#4 – Mayfly (5/1) – Conditioner Christophe Clement has terrific numbers in 2YO Maiden Special Weight races at Belmont in the spring – he’s 6/28 (21.4%) with a $3.58 ROI over the previous five years. This home-bred filly is by More Than Ready and she’s set to make her debut today. Although her dam only won $33,000 on the track, she sold in December of 2019 for over $500K to this gal’s breeder; this is her first foal of racing age. Additionally, this gal’s 2nd dam won $550,000 as a race mare, including scores in three G2 races in England in three separate years. After today’s runner worked once down in Florida at Payson Park Training Center back in late April, she’s worked four more times – twice at Saratoga and twice here at Belmont. Her best morning effort has been a move of 37.76 seconds for three panels from the gate at the Oklahoma training track at SAR on 5/17, giving her a bullet move from the 13 total workers at that distance on that day. Joel Rosario gets the opportunity to ride.
#6 – Dr. Ray D. (8/1) – Constitution is the sire of this filly who will be making her debut as one of Maker’s two runners in this affair. Mike is 4 for 19 (21.1%) at Belmont in the spring over the prior five years in our baby races. She sold for $130K at the Keeneland September Yearling sale (58/105) and her dam made $142K on track going 3 for 15 (2 for 7 on the turf). She has one half-brother that won $121K in nine tries (eight of those on the grass) and he won twice with one of those being a win at first asking as a 2YO in August at The Spa. He also was a runner up in a G3 event. She’s worked five times in Lexington at Keeneland with her last four at a ½ mile – three of her five works have been done at a 12 second and change per furlong clip. Tyler Gaffalione will be the jockey.
#7 – Precisely (3/1) – The morning line favorite is trained by Wesley Ward and comes to you by way of the late More Than Ready out of a Data Link mare. Mama won in her second try (first on the grass) at Ellis Park as a 2YO, but only was able to visit the winner’s circle once more in seven total tries (all except one on the grass) and cashed in for $93,000 in purses. This is her first foal of racing age. Today’s filly failed to bring her reserve of $50,000 at last fall’s KEE Sept Yearling sale. WW has won more 2YO MSW races at BEL in the spring from 2018 thru 2022 than any other trainer – 17 victories from the 58 that he saddled (29.3%). She’s been working down at Keeneland, but not in the swift times that we are used to seeing with babies trained by ‘W Squared’. Her fastest morning work was 48.4 seconds, breezing ½ mile from the gate, which checked in as 14th quickest from 50 that day at that distance at KEE. The always dangerous, Irad Ortiz, Jr. will be aboard.
#8 – Kodiac Wintergreen (9/2) – As the name implies, this filly is by Kodiac and she, too, will be competing for the first time today. She sold overseas at Goffs as a yearling and brought the equivalent of $153,486 (17/83) and her mom was unraced, however she’s thrown some nice runners. One half-bro won nearly $1 million while going 8 for 25 on the turf (10/28 overall) and scored at the highest level, bringing home a G1 trophy. This guy also won as a first-time starter in England in November of his 2YO season. She also sports a three-year-old half-sis (Love Reigns) that has already banked almost $250K having won three times from five starts, all on the turf – two of those wins coming in stakes company. Not to be outdone, she won in April last year at KEE as a 2YO for Wesley Ward and posted a fabulous 96 Equibase Speed Fig. Trainer Rusty Arnold is 0 for 2 in these races at Belmont in the spring over the five previous years, however his numbers are excellent at CD and other tracks. Her work tab shows seven morning outings at Churchill with one four panel work on 5/11 being completed in 47.8 seconds (6/53). Jose Ortiz will be the man in the saddle.
#10 – Smooth Waves (6/1) – Mike Maker’s second gal in this one is another FTS who is by English Channel. She hammered down for $90,000 as a yearling last September at KEE (8/14 at that specific sale for her pops). Although her dam was never victorious on the turf, she did go 3 for 15 on the dirt and made her owners $234K richer. As far as siblings, she has one half-brother that won $563K on the turf (6 for 30 total) after scoring in his debut race on the all-weather track at Presque Isle Downs in September of his two-year-old campaign. Like her stablemate, she’s been working at Keeneland, having been out on seven mornings, but none jump off the page as very fast. Flavien Prat gets the call to ride.
Pick – #4 Mayfly – I really like the fact that this PA bred filly has been training up in NY. Additionally, that bullet work on May 17 shows us that she has speed. Although Clement frequently waits until Saratoga to unleash his best two-year-old runners, he is always dangerous at Belmont in the spring (21.4% strike rate and strong ROI). Clearly her owners were extremely high on this gal’s dam, shelling out over $1/2 million for her and then breeding her to More Than Ready to produce this filly. The Ward horse is likely to take big money, so hopefully this one will get off at a reasonable price and we are glad to see that she’ll be in the capable hands of Rosario.
This is an excellent race and dare I say that it is even starting to feel a little like Saratoga (only five more weeks!). Have fun with this one and be safe, my Edgie Partners in Crime.