Belmont Park: October 7, 2017, The Value & The Vulnerable, By Paul Hundley

Hello everyone and welcome to another edition of The Value &The Vulnerable, the handicapping column that sounds like a daytime soap opera or a stock market show. Today we go back to a somewhat more normal format. 4 Stakes today, including 2 “Win & You’re In” races for the Breeders Cup.

 

RACE 1, MSW 2 year old Fillies 7 furlongs (Turf): 1-LIL T N LORRAINE is a FTS by Majestic Warrior (8% first turf) for Trainer Leah Gyamati (14% FTS). The unraced Dam has had 1 starter run but hasn’t won so far. The rail is 0-10 so far this meet at the distance, and is never where you want a FTS to break from. Has a relatively steady work pattern. See how he does on the tote board. 2-BRARLATA closed to be 2nd of 10 in debut as 2/1 favorite at Saratoga a month ago, beaten a length and 3/4. Chad Brown is 26% second career race, and he and Jose Ortiz are 30% together last 27 starters.  The Dam, Mama Nadine, was a Stakes winner that has had a turf winner from 6 starters and also a Stakes Winner as well. With a clearer path today and added distance, will be tough coming down the lane. 3-NIGHT TIME LADY is a FTS also in for Chad Brown(20%, 22% debut turf), a $200K Fasig-Tipton yearling purchase by Midnight Lute (7% first turf) out of Stakes Winner Inspired. This is her first foal to race. Chad and Irad Ortiz are 33% last 42 starters together! Again, watch the board. 4-COCKTAIL COUNTESS is a FTS for Linda Rice (12% FTS, 7% first turf) by The Factor (13% FTT), is the first racing foal for Dam Beverage Queen. Rosario rides the $200K Keeneland 2016 yearling purchase. 5-CIRCLE THE BASES, yet another FTS by freshman sire 2013 Kentucky Derby Winner ORB(23% 1st turf) for Trainer Jeremiah Englehart (14% FTS).  Her Dam has a turf winner from her only previous starter. Sold for less than half of what an average Orb 2 year old sold for at the May Fasig-Tipton sale. 7% turf Jock Angel Arroyo has the mount. Mixed feelings. 6-NO DEAL(not to be confused with EL DEAL) for Phillip Serpent makes 3rd career start and turf debut (1 for 12) and only 2 for last 37 dirt to turf. By New York Sire Special Rate(8% first turf) has exhibited early bits of speed in previous two races, and another positive is Luis Saez remains aboard. 7-REALITY QUEEN has 5 starts already, which is 2 more than the other 7 combined! Mike Maker charge has tried turf last 2, both 4th place efforts vs tough fields going longer than today. Has shown really good speed early, and if she is able to do that today could prove tough to run down. Maker 24% route to sprint. It’s sort of amazing being out of Pioneerof the Nile by a Pulpit mare sold for less than half the stud fee at 2016 yearling sale. Still this one rates a big chance. 8-BURAK is the last of 5 FTS in here for my man David Donk(7% first turf)! Sire Street Cry(IRE) is 11% first turf, and this is the first racing foal for her Dam Adele. Manuel Franco is on for the debut.

It’s so hard to predict any type of pace scenario with so many FTS, imagine the 3 & 4 will be the most well bet of the first timers. Am guessing BRATTALA will be favored, but thinking the distance cutback and early speed of REALITY QUEEN gives her an advantage. Selections: 7-2-4

 

RACE 2 Allowance77K n1x, 3 & up 8.5 furlongs: The first of 2 straight 5 horse field races, (sigh) at least they won’t take long to analyze! 1-HOOKUP closed to be 3rd vs similar last out at Saratoga going 9 furlongs. Was his first start since being well beaten in last year’s Remsen Stakes. May appreciate the cutback to 1 turn, as debut at a one turn mile was a 4 length win. Franco remains in the saddle, so would imagine will continue off the pace tactic. 2-STARSHIP ZEUS has been stuck at this level for awhile. Has not seen the winners circle in 2 years, but closing style has gotten this 5 year old gelding ITM in 17 of 30 starts, though only 2 are wins. Will be chugging late, but with the small field seems up against a pace to chase. 3-COPPER TOWN is the possible favorite off last race 101 BRIS speed figure breaking Maiden last out in gate to wire fashion, which occurred 4 weeks ago at Belmont. Probably has a big pace advantage, Todd Pletcher 24% 2nd off the layoff and 28% breaking maiden last race. 4-PATTERNRECOGNITION is coming off 3 straight 2nd place finishes at this level and will challenge Copper Town for favoritism here is. Comes in for Chad Brown runner up to Mr. Crow, who was off the board last week in Vosburgh. First time stretching out beyond 7 furlongs. Would imagine with the small field will try to stick to the Pletcher trainee early on. 5-GLENNRICHMENT hasn’t ran since being well beaten 6th in Wood Memorial, which was coming off of a maiden win. Has really only ran well on the now defunct Aqueduct Inner Track, but there’s been extenuating circumstances. Debut was a 1 mile turf event on GOOD going at Aqueduct, followed by shipping to Laurel and going 1 mile in the mud. Then after the 2 good efforts, ran in a major 3 year old prep where he just simply wasn’t ready. Rudy Rodriguez has struggled this meet, though both his wins came in the last week. May be the primary challenger to Copper Town early.

Not much value to be had in this race, I’m going 3-4 because of the pace advantage Copper appears to have. Would be surprised if the winner isn’t one of these two.

 

RACE 3 The Belmont Turf Sprint Invitational, 6 furlongs, 3 and up: The Turf Sprint Division is my favorite division, so when I saw this race listed earlier this week I got excited. Then I saw just 5 entries. 1-SNOWDAY has won 3 of his 4 and is having the best year of his career, winner of the Laurel Dash last out at today’s distance. Before that was a close 3rd in the G3 Turf Monster at Parx a month ago. Will probably be out early as is his forte. 2-WE DEER YOU is 2-2 sprinting on turf, winning the Restricted Luck Coin Stakes at Saratoga last out. Only other turf sprint was here at Belmont in a head Allowance win. Will be coming from off the pace early, and has proven he’s not dependent on a pace meltdown. 3-READY FOR RYE was 5th in this race last year beaten 2 3/4 lengths to Pure Sensation. Has 1 win between 2016-17 and seems a notch below these. 4-BOLD THUNDER was midpack of 10 last out in aforementioned Turf Monster at Parx, but lead most of the way and set an incredibly fast pace. Has been double digit odds his last 7 races and today is probably no different, but has to be strongly considered due to possibly being lone speed. 5-DISCO PARTNER, who set a World Record here for 6 furlongs in the G3 Jaipur, comes back to sprints after stretching out a mile. Wonder if they will change his off the pace style and have him a little closer to the pace?

Disco Partner is the heavy, heavy favorite, but other than that Jaipur performance, really doesn’t standout otherwise. Bold Thunder could go gate to wire, but I think 6F is too long. Going with SNOWDAY- DISCO PARTNER – BOLD THUNDER

 

RACE 4 MSW 8.5 furlongs (turf), 2 year olds: Not going to do a horse by horse summary here. Half the field in here comes from a September 10 maiden race won by Voting Control, who finished 2nd last week in the G3 Pilgrim. 3-BLOCKADE finally made debut in that race after much hype, ran ok, making a middle move, losing a little ground, then making a mild late run. Shug McGaughey is 22% 2nd career race, and he should be ready to improve on debut after having a race under his belt. 2-AMBASSADOR JIM was 2nd over 2 1/2 lengths ahead of Blockade, but had a clear lead in the stretch and lost it. Depending on what the FTS do, coupe alone on the lead early. 6-FREEDOM WARRIOR is a FTS for Chad Brown out of freshman sire Violence (19% first turf), the Dam , Ever Elusive, is a former Stakes Winner that has produced 2 turf winners out of 4 racing foals. 7-WITCH DOCTOR puts Blinkers On for Mike Maker (21%) and switches to Luis Saez.

Selections: 3-2-6-7

 

RACE 5 Alw50Ks 8.5 furlongs (inner turf) 3 and up: 8-PATRIOT DRIVE may possibly be loose on the lead and just missed at this level at Saratoga last out. Just meets the condition for this race by being offered for $50K two back. Have protected since. 7-CARIBBEAN is probable favorite and tries starter allowance company for the first time after a solid win at n3l level. Will be charging late. 6-HEMBREE was 2nd at this level last out as the 5/2 favorite and is 2nd off the claim for Rudy Rodriguez (19%) . 3-SHAMCAT had a pair of 2nds here at this level in the spring and comes off a win at n2l. 3-3 in the money at Belmont.

Selections: 8-7-6-3

 

RACE 7 Claiming $25K, 6 1/2 Furlongs, 3 and up: 3-SARATOGA WILDCAT has been claimed 3 straight times and 4 of his last 5 races. David Jacobson brings him back 3 weeks after that September 17 race and puts him in at the $25K level that he achieved a 2nd in the mud here and a win on May 17. Jacobson and Dylan Davis are 4 of last 10 together. Should be stalking a somewhat brisk projected(well by me) pace. Interesting to note that while Speed has dominated the 6 furlong events here, the 6.5F distance has been favoring horses from off the pace. 8-TALE OF E DUBAI won at $32K 2 back before trying PA bred Allowance company. Has already beaten a few in here, concern here is if he’s not able to establish the lead early hasn’t been as successful. 5-SCARLY CHARLY drops from 50K and 3 back vs 20K was a 1/2 length behind winner, so fits here. Think the distance here fits as well, as he’s 6-2-2-0 and his off the pace style and good late kick.

Selections: 3-8-5

RACE 8 Champagne Stakes G1 2 year olds, 1 mile: 1-KOWBOY KARMA has done very little wrong, winning 2 at Delaware before a 2nd in the Sapling at Monmouth, though was the 1/2 favorite that day. 1 of only 3 in here that has already went a mile on dirt. Will probably be coming from off the pace. 2-BLAME IT ON HONEY has good early speed but has not been past 5 furlongs and speed figures look light. 3-STRONGER is the only Colt in here with a win at today’s distance, a 6 1/2 length victory to break Maiden last out in which the place finisher won next out. Sharp work on 9/30, just as he did before maiden win. Probably stalking pace. 4-ENTICED is cross entered here and the Breeders Futurity at Keeneland. Wherever he lands will be a strong contender, lone race was on a muddy sealed track where he was able to come off the pace and score, not the easiest thing to do for a young horse. 5-MASTER MANIPULATOR is a maiden still but has been the 1 turn mile already. Trained great on October 1. Will be stalking or off the pace as well. 6-GOOD MAGIC is another maiden, running a very even race in debut to one of today’s foes, Hazit. Chad Brown 30% first route, 26% second race. Million dollar purchase was 3/5 in debut, Jose Ortiz rides today in place of Keeneland bound Castellano. 7-BAHAMIAN is another maiden, this one from Southern California. Simon Callaghan is 24% 1st route , 19% shipper and will probably challenge the front end early. 8-AVEENU MALCAINU, an undefeated NY Bred, won the Funny Cide last out over a couple of nice horses. Interesting to note that last bullet work, which is so different from his other works. Seems to indicate he may be closer to the pace today. 9-HONORABLE TREASURE debuted on turf but last out rolled in an off the turf event, pressing pace for a 6 length score. Was also FTL. Earned the highest BRIS speed figure of anyone this field. 10-FULL OF RUN was exactly that in debut at Monmouth, in which he closed nice for convincing 3+ length win. Jason Servis 27% 1st route and he and Jockey Nik Juarez are 5 of last 16 together. 11-HAZIT has the usual suspects Pletcher and John Velázquez, who teamed up for a 1 length win in debut pretty much going gate to wire on lead. Pletcher 28% first route and with outside draw has options. Though went out front in debut, closed strongly, last sixteenth in 6.1 seconds. 12-FIRENZE FIRE is the only GSW in here, taking the G3 Sanford 2 back before stretching out to 7f in Hopeful last out. Is also trained by Servis, and I expect this one to be stalking from the outside.

HONORABLE TREASURE’S win is hard to ignore, and I will use as my top selection. 11-HAZIT will be very tough for TAP, and would not surprise as he could be versatile as far as his running style. 7-BAHAMIAN will possibly be on lead early, and can never discount west coast speed. 6-GOOD MAGIC was only length behind 2nd pick, so impossible to leave out of exotics.

Selections: 9-11-7-6

RACE 9 The Hill Prince G3 , 1 1/8 mile, 3 year olds: I won’t do a horse by horse here because for me it comes down to 3 horses; 2-YOSHIDA, 4-FROSTMOURNE, and 6-BRICKS AND MORTAR. Of these 3, prefer the latter, as he was a bad trip away last out from being 5 for 5, after that insane early move making up almost 10 lengths. Will be coming off the pace again today, and with better luck, should win. 4-FROSTMOURNE dominated Kent and should be stalking early. Clement trainee has 1 off the board finish in 6 starts. 2-YOSHIDA almost won Saranac last out, and other than the Belmont Derby, has been one of the most consistent of the 3 year old turfers. Probably coming from off the pace as well. Also want to mention LUCULLAN, who has done little wrong since being switched to turf and another probably flying late.

Selections: 6-4-2-5

RACE 10 Jockey Club Gold Cup G1, 1 1/4 miles, 3 and up: no doubt 1-DIVERSIFY will be on the lead here, and with rail draw should be able to establish a clear lead early, but expect 5-RALLY CRY, 1 of 3 in here for Pletcher, to challenge him on the lead so as to help his stablemates, 6-DESTIN, and 7-KEEN ICE, who will be coming from off the pace as usual. Diversify was impressive his last race, but did not fare will vs open company in a Stake in March. At 7/2, will let him beat me. Same goes for 4-PAVEL, whom I really like, but at 5/2, making only 4th career start, first vs older, I will let him beat me as well. His last race was visually impressive, and like that they kept him on the East Coast after, and the confidence in going to this spot. 6- DESTIN’s speed numbers have been light this year, but have always thought highly of the 2016 Belmont Runner up and believe TAP will have him primed for a big run. 2-HIGHLAND SKY was training still on turf as late as 2 weeks ago, and just seems like they are reaching for anything right now. Never been on turf, so no idea what we’re getting. 5-RALLY CRY is a nice horse but I think he basically acts as a wingman today for his more accomplished stablemates, unless of course he’s good enough to put away Diversify and hold off others. 7-KEEN ICE has won 2 big races at the distance, deserved favorite but anything under 2/1 is a huge underlay for a horse who has won only 13% of career races.

So that just leaves 1 other horse in here, my top pick, 3-GOOD SAMARITAN. Has displayed an amazing turn of foot late in both dirt starts, winning the Jim Dandy easily before rallying wide for a better than first looked 5th in Travers. Puts Blinkers On today for Bill Mott, and my only concern is that the Belmont stretch may not be as kind to his late run as Saratoga was. However, at 8/1, believe he’s too good to pass up.

Selections: 3-7-6

Pick 3 play Races 8-10: 4,6,7,8,9,11/6/3,4,6,7 $24 ticket.

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