What is the sweetest thing for a handicapper? Hitting a nice pick 4 after carefully selecting horses and keeping the cost of the ticket down? Picking a horse on top that everyone thinks you are insane to and the horse wins at 20-1 or higher? Sheer luck that one backs into a 5k trifecta based on the actions of the three blind mice aka stewards?
All 3 occurred to me this year in the Kentucky Derby and although I felt good about the win there is a part of me that prefers the horses actually cross the wire first and not have to be awarded the score. On to today’s full card analysis at Belmont Park.
On to today’s Belmont Card!
Race One: Selections 4-6-5
#4 Dazzling Speed has been running competitive races at the 25k level and drops to a spot where his tactical speed can be a way to the winners circle. In a race without a clear cut favorite this one looks like the best option of a bad lot. #6 Peggy Sue faced the same company as Dazzling Speed however the flow of that race gave this one a better opportunity to get the best of that rival. Today the race looks to shape up more favorably for the 4 however I expect Peggy Sue to be in the mix late. Shak’s Hidden Gem has had many chances to breakthrough with a second victory however that has remained elusive. This one catches a field that s not that tough today and has a good chance in all top three slots.
Race Two: Selections 1-2-4
#1 No More Miracles encountered severe traffic difficulties last race and was not afforded the opportunity to show his best. With a better trip he can upset this race. #2 Implied Volatility debuts for Chad for 40k after yielding 85k at market. Always wary of these types as they either win for fun or run up the track and some poor unsuspecting soul claims them. This field lacks any real standout so will use this one however sparingly in the top slot. #4 Magnesite has had multiple chances at this level and has yet to really make a real effort towards entering the winners circle. Today would be a perfect time for this one to put it all together and deliver a performance on par with some of the better efforts previously delivered as that may be good enough today.
Race Three: Selections 2-1-5
#2 Xenobia ran well first time this side of the pond and has some traffic trouble to navigate. Her speed figure may be a bit below some of the others in here but feel this one is capable of better with a clean trip and the price should be nice. #1 Chipolata fires each time she runs and expect another honest effort today. This one has tactical speed to be placed in a prominent position throughout and the course seems to give speed an advantage at times. #5 Scottish Jig figures to take plenty of action dropping from better company in this spot. The problem with front runners on turf is inevitably they tire more often than not unless just that much more superior than their competition which I do not believe is the case today. A contender for sure but not worth a short price in my opinion.
Race Four: Selections 1-7-6
#1 Barker Lane is a horse I have followed since his first start. His two races leave a lot to be desired no doubt however as a player one has to be forgiving and rational and I still think this one has some ability and hopefully gets to show it today. #7 Tequila Fog passed a few late in debut race and that experience will do this one a world of good. Cannot afford to come from the clouds and will need to sit closer today but can earn a share today. #6 trinity Girl has been working well for a trainer not known to really drill them in the morning. Sire was an absolute speedball and may have passed on that trait. With a clean break may head to the front and not look back so it would be wise to give this one some consideration.
Race Five: Selections 5-1a-2
#5 Clockstrikestwelve is a consistent performer that always seems to be in the mix in the stretch and may have found a field full of friendlier completion in this spot. With the streaky Rosario on fire making all the right choices this one can score at a nice price. 1a Golconda has been facing much better and takes a precipitous drop into the selling ranks. This type of placement always makes me pause and try to figure owner/trainer intent. Should be competitive with this field if horse is doing well. #2 Discreet Image has speed aplenty and a good record at the distance. This one should like the way the course is playing at Belmont Park and may carry them a lot further than many anticipate today.
Race Six: Selections 3-1-4
#3 Moshaher makes first start away from the UAE and has worked well for this event. Races back in the desert leave a lot to be desired however this spot does not look that difficult and if this one has a modicum of ability can surprise a lot of people. #1 Off the Record has ran some good races and lands a spot that looks like a launching pad to bigger and better. Races however are not ran on paper and this one will need to avoid getting into a duel upfront if has designs on taking this and climbing into stake company. #4 Fortune’s Fool was a major disappointment last out and looks to rebound today. May have regressed a bit off the prior race and with time in between should be able to bounce back in this race.
Race Seven: Selections 10-11-2
#10 Shennen adds blinkers for this event after running some good races this side of the pond. This one has shown some ability however I will back tepidly in this slot as this race has double digit winner written all over it. #11 Asdaaf gets back on a course more favorable to front running style as opposed to the Spa and that last race was live as the winner returned to run a good second in a stake. This one has the potential to wire the field at the nice price. #2 Timepiece is a debuting 5 yr old for Bond who had an excellent Saratoga meet and will look to keep things going in that direction. Works have been even but trainer never shows his hand in the morning. Do not feel they would run this one if they did not think he had ability to be highly competitive so will take a shot underneath and lightly on top as well.
Race Eight: Selections 1-4-8
#1 Harris Bay debuts for Kimmel on the pine. This is not the ideal post for debut runners however the work pattern suggests this one may have some early zip. With a clean getaway this one can make some noise from start to finish and may be overlooked on the board. #4 Dream Bigger was no secret in debut and ran well to finish second. A big effort like that can take a lot out of young horses and although this one may move forward I am not willing to take a big shot in that direction. Will play sparingly in the top slot in multi race wagers however will carry some insurance. #8 Big Package debuts for Donk and works do not jump off the page however Franco takes the call and has been a go to rider for this conditioner booting home nice priced winners.
Race Nine: Selections 4-1a-6
#4 Dowse’s Beach has been around it seems like forever winning sprints on the lawn in NY. Catches a field where should be able to use tactical speed to be in the mix late. #1a Leaky Cup ran out his skin in the slop last out and tries the grass for the first time today however I think the performance last time was a combination of things, facing state breds for the first time and came into the race razor sharp. I do not anticipate the surface posing a problem for this runner and expect another top effort. #6 Shiraz often runs well without winning and may give another such performance in this spot.
Race Ten: Selections 9-8-6
#9 Banana Thief has run well over this course and looks spotted for action against this group. This one has the right running style and Jose will place properly and give him every opportunity to breakthrough. #9 New York’s Finest last race was deceptively good with the traffic encountered and with a better trip this one will be in the mix late. #6 Mad Munny’s is strictly a reach based on the rider as this one will need to improve exponentially to have a shot however the rider is making all the right moves recently and will include underneath in some exotics.