Past the Wire’s very own Anthony Fontaine dug into the past performances for the Jockey Club Gold Cup card at beautiful Belmont Park and brings us his selections.
Race One: Anthony’s Selections 2-3-5-4
#2 Cash Offer looks tough against this group today. This one has displayed an abundance of speed and looks like she will be able to control the pace today and hold the rest at bay. #3 Maiden Beauty tries hard however always manages to finish behind a few in each race. Belmont seems to be preferred surface so expect another solid effort today. #5 Our Super Nova finds a spot with seemingly friendlier competition then she has been facing and with a clean trip can make some noise late.
Race Two: Anthony’s Selections 3-4-2-5
#3 Our Troubadour makes debut with a series of consistent works. Trainer is not known for prowess with debut types yet this one has the look of a runner that can get away at a nice price so will take a shot here. #4 Somethingtotellyou debuts for the red hot Pletcher barn. He may not have had a great Saratoga meet but since coming back to Long Island he has been el fuego. Nice solid works and a good aggressive rider should put this one in the mix. #2 Hellbender has been working well for debut and draws the services of a top rider. Trainer has shown an ability to have them ready first time out and if works are any indication this is the one all will have to fear in the lane today.
Race Three: Anthony’s Selections 2-1-5-6
#2 Power Player has the most potent weapon on Belmont turf, speed and plenty of it. Will need an alert start but should control race from start to finish. #1 Quarky has a similar running style to Power Player but I prefer the latter as I think that one has more upside. Does have experience edge and if by chance the #2 does not break sharply this one can wire the field. #5 Digital Footprint has been found wanting last few races in the stretch and the projected pace of today’s race does not do any favors. Will have to be patiently ridden to have an impact today but may be able to earn a slice underneath.
Race Four: The Grade 1 Vosburgh Stakes: Anthony’s Selections 5-4-6-2
#5 Promises Fulfilled did not get off to the best of starts last out and for a speed horse that basically spells defeat. Has shown a liking for Belmont in the past and should control the speed today so does not need to go: 44 for a half. If this one can relax on the lead today he will be hard to run down. #4 Imperial Hint looked like a world beater last out smoking the Saratoga surface to an easy victory. I caution handicappers of a few things before taking a short price on this one. The pace in his last race was suicidal as two horses ran themselves into defeat, while Castellano sat off them and pounced when both were looking for the oxygen truck. The race was fast and looked good however this one had an ideal setup. Will not have that type of pace to run into today and will have to dig deep to catch Promises Fulfilled if that one breaks alertly and controls the pace. #6 Firenze Fire tries hard every time he runs. Will not be surprised if this one upsets the applecart today particularly if there is a pace meltdown, however prefer to use underneath today.
Race Five: Anthony’s Selections 3-8-7-6
#3 Cove Bay debuts for Mott with a series of good works and has the look of a runner. Mott not particularly known for early win types, however I feel this one will buck that trend. #8 Sinister Siren comes to the races for Terranova who had a nice debut winner on the rail last week. I never have any qualms backing his horses from a physical standpoint. Look for a solid effort. #7 Princesa Caroline debuts for the always dangerous Chad Brown and has had a solid foundation of works. Price will be unattractive however with Castellano in tow has to be respected.
Race Six: Anthony’s Selections 9-8-1-2
#9 Mandatory debuts for Kimmel who is more than capable first out and normally is overlooked at the window. Works are not exactly flashy however his horses have been firing early recently and this one may just follow that pattern. #8 Modernist has been working well for unveiling for Mott who normally does not drill them early. Another runner that looks precocious, and should offer value in this spot. #1 Juulstone debuts for HOF Shug who does not win much first out however this one may be formidable if able to break alertly from the rail which is difficult first out.
Race Seven: Anthony’s Selections 1-4-8-6
#1 First Appeal looks tough in this spot particularly if the speed that is signed on shows up and sets the table. Look for this one in the stretch passing everyone on the way to the winners circle. #4 Merlins Muse had a difficult trip last out caught in I 95 like traffic, with hot riding JR back in the saddle look for this one to get a better trip and a better finish. #8 Hollywood Cat will need pace to chase but these connection win at any venue on any surface at a rate out the stratosphere.
Race Eight: The Grade 2 Beldame: Anthony’s Selections 6-1-3-5
#6 Wow Cat finished far behind Midnight Bisou at the Spa but may be able to turn he tables today at a longer distance and catching the prohibitive favorite coming off a massive race and not fully cranked for this event as the Breeders’ Cup is the main event in a few weeks. #1 Midnight Bisou towers over this field on numbers and is undefeated this year however I feel this one may regress off that gut wrenching effort in which she prevailed by a nose over a game Elate. Even with a regression will be tough to deny however feel Wow Cat has a good chance. #3 Another Broad will need to improve significantly in this spot but may be able to close and get a slice if one of the top two choices fail to fire for any reason at a nice number.
Race Nine: The Grade 3 Pilgrim: Anthony’s Selections 8-7-4-5
#8 Famished makes turf debut in this spot off two solid efforts on the dirt. Has shown an ability to finish each time and that experience should be a major asset in this spot today at a nice price. #7 Structor always looked like a winner in only outing to date. Was eager early yet rider was able to get this one to relax then pull away late. Number was not that impressive however this one has yet to scratch the surface of potential. #4 No Lime finally gets on the lawn after a nonperformance in the Funny Cide. This one has a bad habit of walking out the gate and can’t afford that type of delayed start today but my surprise some with a big effort today at a huge number.
Race Ten: The Grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup: Anthony’s Selections 4-2-1-3
#4 Preservationist should win this race handily as none of the competition can run with him early and expect to have a big finish. Although some of the best three year olds from this crop are entered I feel this is a subpar group that will not measure up well facing older runners, except maybe for Code Of Honor who may be pace compromised today and is prepping for a Breeders Cup run. #2 Code of Honor has to be considered a leading contender for three year old honors and will look to add to his burgeoning resume while facing older horses for the first time. JR is riding lights out now and if some pace can develop in front of this one he may be able to challenge Preservationist for a trip to the winners circle. #1 Tacitus will finally not be favored to win and may be able to work out a good trip today. Ortiz will have to decide if he wants to engage Preservationist and risk using too much of his horse early. Expect a good try nonetheless.
Race Eleven: Anthony’s Selections 4-5-6-3
#4 Motataabeq was whiplashed out the gate in debut and did not get an opportunity to show true ability. Gets preferred surface today and will be tough in the lane. #5 Betterment comes off a long break and finds a spot where his race experience may take him far into the lane. Look for this one to return firing a big effort. #6 Perceived also returns from the sidelines after undergoing the ultimate equipment change. Debut race was not terrible and displayed a modicum of ability so should be in the mix today.