Free Picks & Analysis — Who Do Ya Like?
Friday, July 7, 2017
There’s only two more Fridays of twilight action at Belmont Park before the action shifts upstate to Saratoga. The first post time today is, as usual, 3:00 PM EDT, and we’ve got FREE picks & analysis of all nine races from Paul Hundley (@vapaul)! Be sure to give Paul a follow on twitter!
Take it away, Paul!
Hey everyone and welcome to the penultimate Friday card for the Belmont Spring/Summer Meet. Tomorrow is a big day for NYRA with 5 Stakes races, but we have a pretty good card today with a couple of very tough n/w3x Optional Claimers featuring Mohaymen’s scheduled Turf debut in race 7. Last week our picks got back on the winning track with 4 winners and a slightly positive ROI on top picks, though our Pick 5 and 4 both came up short. Let’s get to today’s analysis.
RACE 1: Two-year-olds scheduled to go 6 furlongs on turf starts us off. The Early Pick 5 starts here and I have a reasonably priced ticket. 4-ULTIMA D is making 3rd career start, was 2nd last out on the polytrack at Woodbine. Wesley Ward is 23% first time on turf, and he and Jockey John Velázquez are 5 of last 10 together! Her Sire the late Scat Daddy hits at 14% 1st turf. Her Dam has 7 winners from 11 starters with 2 turf winners. 2-Latrero is a FTS for Rick Violette, who’s have a great year and meet so far, winning well over 20% for both so far. Her Dam is a perfect 2/2 with starters with a turf winner. 7-Talk Softly makes 2nd career start after a last of 5 debut at a 9/5 price on dirt. Christophe Clement 25% 1st turf and 18% 2nd race. Her Dam is Stylish Wildcat, a former Stakes Winner. 9-Girl’s Night is another Ward entry, ridden by Joel Rosario, who has heated up recently. This one has good early speed, which she will need breaking from outside in order to get positioning. Using these for the Pick 5.
RACE 2: Throw out last 2 on turf for 6-CASIGORDO, his last time on dirt was 3 length win to break maiden. Also note those turf races were at the Allowance level, so big class drop as well. 1-Primo Pentimento ran 5th/7 at today’s level last out, but was first race in over 4 months. Has good early speed, and Luis Saez is 23% in sprints. Trainer Michael Miceli is 24% at the meet so far. Could prove tough to catch. 2-Professor Snape has the connections of Linda Rice and Jose Ortiz (27%), makes 2nd start for Rice (36% with + ROI) and 34% down +2 class levels. Has only ran on a fast conventional dirt track once, gate to wire win at 1 1/16 mile setting slow fractions. Will use but not entirely sure I can trust.
RACE 3: 6-BATS CLEANUP drops from NY bred MSW to today’s level. 3rd off layoff for Gary Sciacca, who isn’t setting world on fire but does have a + ROI with horses first time Maiden Claiming, though limited sample of just 18 horses. 4-Awesome Anthony was just 7th/10 at this level last race but had post 10 and was caught 4 wide on the turn, more favorable draw today. Had a 3rd and 2nd , both as the favorite, before that last disappointing outing. 3-Cafe y Blanco is making route debut, did make up 4 lengths last out in stretch of 6 furlong event. Seems bred for longer distances, by multiple G1 Turf Route winner Cape Blanco out of a Giant’s Causeway mare. Still a lot of upside with this being 3rd career start.
RACE 4: 6-ZIPPETY ZOOM is 2 for 2 at Belmont, including a win at today’s level. Should be in good position on outside of just a 6 horse field. Rice/Irad are 4/10 together and 8/10 in the money. 4 of ZZ’s 5 wins have come at today’s distance. 2-Royal Inheritance has done very little wrong in 3 career races, won NY bred entry level Allowance last out. Possibly fastest of this bunch early, a win here has her connections looking at some State bred Stakes in her immediate future. Trainer Cannizzo 21% for the meet. 4-Little Bear Cat also trained by Cannizzo, has good early speed as well. Rosario rides.
RACE 5: It all comes down to this race and 1 horse should we make it this far in the Pick 5. 4-SPECIAL JO has good early speed and is 1st off the claim for Joe Sharp (24%), who is having an outstanding Belmont meet hitting 33%! Not so coincidentally, he and Luis Saez are also 33% together recently. Does move up in class but there are no world beaters here. 7-Day Of Fury has been beaten a combined 55 LENGTHS last 2 starts, so why have 2nd? Well 3 back won by 3 lengths at 25K level, taking blinkers off and gets Jock switch to Rosario.3-Pegasus Red hasn’t visited the winners circle in a while but this one could easily pass tired horses late to get ITM. Has nine 2nds and eight 3rds vs a higher claiming level, though vs state needs.
So the Early Pick 5 looks like this:
a $54 investment!
RACE 6: Starts the late Pick 4 and we have a ticket, which i think this sequence is going to pay! This is a tough turf sprint, 3 main contenders come out of their last race facing each other, however going against all 3 on top and taking 5-I’M BETTY G, who, after 3 poor efforts on dirt for Pletcher barn beaten a combined 51 Lengths, was switched to the care of Mike Maker. He switched her to turf, added blinkers, dropped her into maiden claiming, and took her from N.Y. to Indiana Grand, and the result was GLORIOUS! Gate to wire win by 7 lengths, which is rare in turf racing for such a wide margin of victory, especially a 5 furlong sprint. Castellano, who has also ridden Hoponthebusgus in here last out, opts to ride Betty. Should be a good price even with JCC. 7-Avery Mare had lead in comeback race before coming up a little short. Should be fitter this time for Cannizzo. 6-Reckless Humor has had three straight seconds, including last out here at distance and level. He’s 3-for-3 ITM at Belmont and has been ITM last 5 overall. 4-Hoponthebusgus was a Pick 5 single for us that just missed 2 back, then ran vs 6 & 7 last out, but not able to get through traffic to fully contend. 3rd off the layoff and switches to Saez. Using all 4 to start Pick 4.
RACE 7: Marks the scheduled turf debut of Mohaymen, and 2nd turf start for former GSW El Kabeir, but this race is so much more than those two. Honestly, I don’t see either hitting the board. Best betting race of the day here, so fittingly we have a bit of a price on top. 8-BIG CHANGES comes in for the combination of Saez and Brad Cox, who has just been tearing up the NY circuit this meet. Cox is a 32% turf trainer, 32%!! 2nd off the layoff ‘only’ 25%, so he needs to improve in that area. Has never raced at Belmont but does have a win at today’s mile distance. Saez/Cox 27% together.
You could make an argument the 3 best horses in this race all have the worst posts, i.e. on the far outside. 11-Tomberlaine has the 33% combination of Castellano and Chad Brown in his corner. Brown 23% third off a layoff, but horse has failed as favorite 3 times in last 5 races. Plus has never won at the distance despite 5 tries. Including but a few question marks for this talented horse.
7-Lubash is definitely one to root for, this 10 year old gelding is praying for firm turf today, not to mention thankful probably for the bit of class relief he’s getting this race. Clement is 23% 3rd off the layoff and has Irad in the irons. Won a similar confirmed race last Summer here. Has been ITM almost 75% of tries at Belmont.
1-Ispector Lumley is another stranded on outside compromising his chances. Respect because it is Shug and Johnny V, but is 0 for 4 at distance and 0 for 4 at Belmont.
12-Blacktype is another trained by Clement who draws furthest outside of turf entries. Does have a good record at the distance and here at Belmont, on speed figures arguably best, but the post is a disadvantage. Using all 5 in Pick 4.
RACE 8: This race comes down to 2 horses I think, 2-FRANCESCO APPEAL is one of 3 horses in here with good early speed, believe his inside post gives him advantage over the others, and should be able to grab an early lead and not look back. First start with Rudy Rodriguez (21%). Is first start versus older, but bullet four furlong work on July 3rd says he’s ready.
5-Story To Tell stands out on speed figures, but that last race is troubling and can’t be completely ignored. Is it telling that Irad rides top pick for RROD and not this one? 4-Moon Over a Beauty won an entry level allowance last out, may have been switch to Saez that led to improved effort. Using the 2 and 5.
RACE 9: Not going to mince words, this is a weak race. 4-SECRET SCHOLAR stumbled at the start last out, costing any chance with early speed style. A duplicate of his October 30th race from last year wins this. 3rd off the layoff for Rodrigo Ubilla. The fact I’m picking an 0 for 17 on top should show how awful this race is.
9-Martino switches to Castellano from bug boys last several starts for Carlos Martin, who is 17% turf to dirt. Will probably challenge top pick for early lead, whoever wins that duel more than likely wins this race.
7-Our American Star takes blinkers off, drops in class and goes turf to dirt. Was 2nd last time at the 25K level. Positive Jock switch to Saez. Using all 3.
Late Pick 4:
a $60 investment!
Join us next week for the final Friday of the Belmont meet, we also celebrate my 50th Birthday as well(Bring presents, $$$, cake, alcohol) Until then, good luck!
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