Belmont Park Daily Recap — Friday, July 13, 2018 (by John Piassek)

WEATHER: 80*F, SUNNY
DIRT: FAST

GRASS: FIRM

Race 1: Claiming $14,000 (n/w3L), 3yo and up, Fillies and Mares, 1 Mile
WINNER: 5, Daria’s Angel

OWNER/TRAINER/JOCKEY: M and M Racing, Robertino Diodoro, Luis Saez
OFF ODDS: 0.95/1
FRACTIONS: 22.99, 45.86, 1:10.68, 1:38.77

It was a two horse race on the board: Paula’s Pistol and Daria’s Angel, both coming off wins over the track, were co 4/5 favorites in this field of five. The latter wore down pace-setting Preziosa to take advantage at around the quarter pole, but immediately encountered pressure from Paula’ Pistol, who moved right to her outside and pressed the leader two-wide. Despite all the time in the world to go by, Paula’s Pistol never could wear down Daria’s Angel, who held on to win by a half-length. Caiomhe saved ground the whole way and angled out in the stretch, almost running down Paula’s Pistol for second.

Race 2: Allowance Optional Claiming (n/w2x), 3yo and up, Fillies and Mares, NY-bred, 6 Furlongs (Inner Grass)
WINNER: 3, Royal Inheritance

OWNER/TRAINER/JOCKEY: Mane Event Stable/David Cannizzo, David Cannizzo, Manny Franco
OFF ODDS: 5.10/1
FRACTIONS: 22.62, 44.77, 55.95, 1:07.50

Speed had been good all week long, and this race was no different. Royal Inheritance popped out of the gate on top and went straight to the lead, setting the opening quarter fraction in a relatively dawdling 22.62 seconds. In a race like this one, when you let a quality speed horse set a fraction that slow, there’s a low chance you’re going to catch them. That’s what happened to Royal Inheritance, who opened up on the turn and held off everyone to win easily.

A few closers made some noise late, namely Eloweasel. She fell six lengths behind the leader as they turned for home, but made up ground on the inside to finish second, beaten by just half a length. She’ll hope to get a more honest pace to run at next time. Kreesie was bet down to favoritism here, but was restrained early by Jose Ortiz and was nowhere near the early pace as such. She showed some punch late to finish 2 1/2 lengths behind the winner.

Race 3: Claiming $25,000, 3yo and up, Fillies and Mares, 1 Mile
WINNER: 4, Stay Fond

OWNER/TRAINER/JOCKEY: Peter Kazamias, Eduardo Jones, Abel Lezcano
OFF ODDS: 11.50/1
FRACTIONS: 23.85, 46.74, 1:11.54, 1:36.91

After a horse won race 1 gate-to-wire, some horseplayers wondered if the speed bias from Thursday’s card was going to hold up. Those notions were shattered in this one, with Stay Fond rallying from far behind and wide to win going away. Stay Fond was coming off a fourth-place finish against n/w1x company at Monmouth Park, a race where she was far behind throughout. She had a two-race winning streak against weaker company earlier in the year, but it didn’t seem as if she could handle the step up in class.

The pace in this one was honest, with Anna Rae and Just Got Out setting the early fractions and Archumybaby in close pursuit to their outside. Just Got Out quickly gave way, and Anna Rae and Archumybaby knocked heads into the turn. My Won Love, meanwhile, had been restrained off the early pace, and was preparing to launch a bid from the inside. Stay Fond came four-wide around the turn, something that would have meant almost certain defeat on Thursday. On Friday, however, Stay Fond drew off to an easy four-length victory. My Won Love won the battle among the rest, finishing second in a photo over Archumybaby. The latter’s race is notable, as the two other speeds in the field, Anna Rae and Just Got Out, both finished up the track.

Race 4: Maiden Claiming $40,000, 3yo and up, Fillies and Mares, NY-bred, 1 1/16 Miles (Grass)
WINNER: 5, Courageous Change

OWNER/TRAINER/JOCKEY: Susanne Hooper, James Ferraro, Junior Alvarado
OFF ODDS: 8.00/1
FRACTIONS: 23.87, 47.31, 1:11.55, 1:35.69, 1:42.06

Props to Junior Alvarado for a heads-up ride in this race. His filly had never shown speed in her three grass races, while the trainer, James Ferraro, was a dismal 1-for-32 on the season coming into this race. Alvarado knew, with the way the track was playing, his main hope was to go to the front with his mount.

That’s what he did, establishing control early and setting a moderate tempo. Fancycase pressed the leader two-wide around the bend, and appeared ready to pounce on the turn. She could not keep up, and Courageous Chance got clear in the stretch, leading by two lengths approaching the eighth pole. As they neared the wire, the only other one with a hope of winning was Smart and Sassy, who found running room late after dealing with traffic on the turn. The wire came just in time for Courageous Change, who held on to win by a head. Look for Smart and Sassy to make some noise at this level next out, hopefully with a cleaner trip.

Race 5: Claiming $25,000, 3yo and up, NY-bred, 6 Furlongs (Inner Grass)
WINNER: 8, Canarsie Kid

OWNER/TRAINER/JOCKEY: Loda Luck Stables, Michael Miceli, Kendrick Carmouche
OFF ODDS: 2.15/1
FRACTIONS: 21.64, 44.19, 55.76, 1:07.57

Another race, another gate-to-wire winner on the grass. Canarsie Kid went to the lead and didn’t stop going to win this one handily. Make note of Mission Command out of this race, as he was forced extremely wide on the turn, but still closed very sharply in the stretch to finish second, beaten just a length.

As an aside: considering there were three gate-to-wire winners in the first three races, horseplayers may have been eager to declare the grass courses speed-biased. As we’ll see in the next few races, however, that notion was not exactly true.

Race 6: Claiming $40,000 (n/w2L), 3yo and up, 7 Furlongs (Grass)
WINNER: 7, Rappel

OWNER/TRAINER/JOCKEY: Marc Keller, Robert Ribaudo, Manny Franco
OFF ODDS: 4.40/1
FRACTIONS: 21.75, 43.53, 1:07.66, 1:20.33

Man, look at that second quarter. It came courtesy of Linbergh’s Kitten, who won gate-to-wire going 1 1/16 miles last out, and was now cutting back to seven furlongs here. He had a clear advantage at the opening quarter, but soon encountered stiff pressure from Charnley River, the morning line favorite who rated wide throughout. With the added pressure, the second quarter was ripped off in a deadly 21.78 seconds. Setting fractions like that tends to exhaust horses, and Linbergh’s Kitten ultimately threw in the towel in the last eighth of a mile.

Meanwhile, Rappel got a great trip, rating on the inside and moving two-wide on the turn. He was jostled a bit entering the stretch, but managed to keep a steady path and take dead aim at the leaders. La Maquina Gris, who had a dream trip rating off that blazing pace, grinded as best he could down the stretch, but Rappel showed a more powerful closing kick and got up to win by a neck. La Maquina Gris finished second, in the start after breaking his maiden in his 12th try. He seems like he’ll be at this level for a long time. Bootlegger was in the three-path throughout and managed to finish third.

Race 7: Allowance (n/w1x), 3yo and up, Fillies and Mares, NY-bred, 6 Furlongs (Inner Grass)
WINNER: 1, Summer Sweet

OWNER/TRAINER/JOCKEY: Virginia Kraft Payson, Michael Stidham, Joe Bravo
OFF ODDS: 2.85/1
FRACTIONS: 21.48, 44.07, 55.78, 1:07.50

Here’s another grass sprint that featured a blazing early pace. Dreams Are Pazible had to hustle to get to the rail early, and once she did, she encountered immediate pressure from Shrink. That rival drew close to the lead on the turn, and the two were locked in battle as they turned for home.

Unfortunately for them, Summer Sweet sat a great trip just off those leaders, and rolled by them in the stretch to win by three lengths. The winner came into this race with an 0-for-11 lifetime mark in grass races, and a string of five top-four finishes without a win. The key was that she had not lost at this level before, having spent the past twelve months bouncing around to various circuits. Getting into NY-bred company and sitting that beautiful trip proved to be what she needed. Both the second and third-place finishers also came from far behind, with Saratoga Treasure saving ground early and rallying three-wide to be the runner-up, and Spa Treatment also closing wide after running in the two-path well off the pace.

Race 8: Saginaw Stakes, 4yo and up, NY-bred, 1 1/16 Miles
WINNER: 1, Pat on the Back

OWNER/TRAINER/JOCKEY: Harold Lerner/AWC Stables/Nehoc Stables, Jeremiah Englehart, Dylan Davis
OFF ODDS: 1.35/1
FRACTIONS: 23.55, 46.13, 1:10.08, 1:35.09, 1:41.73

Twisted Tom had a fine three-year-old season, winning five listed stakes races, including the Empire Classic against older horses back in October. He returned to the worktab in April, and had a string of steady workouts leading up to this, his big return race. Bettors pounded this Chad Brown trainee down to 3/5, while making Pat on the Back the second choice at just a sneeze under 7/5. Pat on the Back definitely had the edge in recency, having finished second in two New York-bred stakes earlier in the year. Last out, he finished just a nose behind Diversify, who came back to crush in the Suburban. If Pat on the Back’s nose had gotten down that day instead, it’s almost certain he would have been the favorite instead.

As it turned out, 6/5 was a bargain on the winner. He rated on the inside off front-running Hit it Once More, who was allowed to set an uncontested pace. Pat on the Back then moved two-wide on the turn and drew off to win by almost two lengths. Twisted Tom, meanwhile, was asked for run on the turn, but came up completely empty. He lost by 10 1/4 lengths, finishing ahead of only the hopelessly outclassed Fullback Foye. I don’t know what happened to him, but that was a dismal effort even accounting for the long layoff. I would say that I hope he runs better next time, but he almost has to when compared to this showing.

On the other hand, even though it was an easy trip, Pat on the Back won this race very professionally, finally getting over the hump against NY-bred company. You can expect to see him next in the Evan Shipman Stakes at Saratoga.

Race 9: Maiden Claiming $40,000, 3yo and up, NY-bred, 7 Furlongs (Grass)
WINNER: 6, Scatsuku

OWNER/TRAINER/JOCKEY: Martin Zaretsky, Linda Rice, Junior Alvarado
OFF ODDS: 0.90/1
FRACTIONS: 22.51, 45.60, 1:09.82, 1:21.97

Three horses went to the front early, with Rough Justice, Tammany Giant, and Lewyville all showing early speed. This suited heavily favored Scatsuku just fine, as he rated off of them on the inside through a modest opening quarter. The favorite was dropping in for a tag for the first time, and had speed figures vastly superior to the rest. With a trip like this, he was a near-certainty to win.

As it turned out, he delivered, moving two-wide on the turn and running down pace-setting Rough Justice to break his maiden in his fourth start. Rough Justice held on for second, while Straitouta Congtin, who was 73/1 after breaking horribly in his debut last out, came to get third over Tammany Giant.

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