Free Picks & Analysis — Who Do Ya Like?
Friday, October 27, 2017
We’re nearing the end of the Belmont Park fall meet; racing switches over to Aqueduct next weekend. Nine races are on the schedule for this Friday, with a first post time of 12:55 PM EDT.
We’ve got FREE picks & analysis for today’s card from Jason Perry (@jmanmetsfan1)! Jason was a contributor to Scott Shapiro’s site, shapperdacapper.com, in the past, and has also written for Danonymous Racing before. He wrote about Saratoga Thursdays for the site, and we’re happy to have him as our Belmont Park guy every Friday! You’ll also be able to check him out covering Aqueduct on the site this meet. Give him a follow on twitter when you can.
Take it away, Jason!
In the 40K claimer on the grass to kick off the card, Brad Cox sends out a pair of contenders.
Lion in Wait (6) just wired out a group of maidens when left alone up front. A similar scenario could materialize once again here. Cox is having a strong meet, and he has his main man Saez retaining the mount.
The only other speed on paper is his new stable mate Out of Trouble (9) who may actually be quicker. I’m not sure what to think about the trainer switch since she raced for a strong McLaughlin stable previously. She drops in class, and takes blinkers off on Friday. Cox has won a remarkable nine of seventeen times when taking the hood off. It’s encouraging to see Castellano in the irons, he possibly bailed from a logical contender to ride this filly. He’s also won eight of twenty-three times riding for Cox posting a positive ROI.
Castellano rode Questeg (1) for owner/trainer David Jacobson last out when she had some trouble, but just missed at this level. I’m not sure if Javier had an option, but getting off a horse that could have won her last start, and was flattered by a return winner would be a cause for caution. On a positive note, Irad Ortiz takes the call for DJ. She could easily make amends.
Hollywood Cat (3) has a little tactical speed, and drops to an appropriate level. Three back she ran well against much better, and last out she raced at a distance she is likely less effective at than this distance, in which her lone win came at.
Rock Sapphire (2) cannot be excluded. Trombetta is good shipping these horses to New York to run on grass after previously running on a synthetic surface.
War Canoe (5) is a tired act. She is happy running on for small shares, and there are too many horses in here with more upside.
Weekend Hottie (8) and Nile Princess (7) would be absurd.
Frost Giant progeny are horrendous on grass, but Frost Proof (4) almost got it done in his last start. That was his second decent try in as many chances sprinting on the turf. Now we see a huge jock change from Rajiv to Castellano. Can’t see any reason he won’t run his race again, but I do think he will need to improve some to win.
Pence (2) exits the same race, but didn’t show much. This son of Cape Blanco has been a bit of a disappointment for Rice. He was a 75K purchase and has underwhelmed twice at this 40 K level. Rice is good second off the layoff so this gelding could conceivably improve. I’m just not keen on his chances nor his relatively low ML odds.
The most likely winner is probably There He Goes (12) for the powerful Gargan, Midwest Thoroughbreds, and Carmouche combo. This pricey son of Here Comes Ben improved dramatically last out turning back in distance. He actually led late but lost the bob. I think this seven furlongs distance might work out well. With his outside draw he is fortunate to have the long run at this distance before the far turn, giving him the opportunity to secure a good position on or just off the lead.
Saratoga Colonel (3) turns back in distance for a trainer that is good route-to-sprint. He was marooned from the twelve hole in his last start racing wide for much of it.
Source Control (11) gets a piece occasionally, but I can’t use him on top. He’s had plenty of chances at this level already for top connections. Further improvement is unlikely.
Givetheman a Cigar (1) is a new shooter to the claiming ranks. He was bet a little in his first two starts, and didn’t have much of a chance most recently when stumbling at the start and racing behind a slow pace.
Enchanted Forest (10) ran one decent race in six starts. I’m not sure where that race came from in retrospect.
These bottom level claimers are rough. Augie’s Coming (3) won first off the claim four back, but has gotten steadily worse with each race since, culminating with an off the board finish at Finger Lakes at .20 on the dollar. The steadily declining form is a big concern.
Mister Hayes (2) has been in good form since the Nevin claim. His win last out versus n2l rivals came on a track that favored closers, and he had plenty of pace to run at. Both career wins came over a fast Belmont track. It’s always great to see Jose Ortiz up for Nevin since she wins at a much higher percentage with Jose aboard.
I don’t believe in Mr Grey (6). His good races have come on turf, and I’ll rarely endorse a horse claimed away from Christophe Clement.
In Equality (7) woke up a bundle off the layoff. His form before the vacation was awful, so perhaps he just needed a long break. He’s got a little tactical speed in a race that is light on front end runners. He gets a big jock change to Rosario who I would expect to have him forwardly placed. Joel Rosario rarely rides for this barn so I’m guessing he’s doing well in the morning.
Gotham News (5) is a notorious hanger. Against these rivals I can’t rule him out, but there are better options, particularly given the paltry 3-1 ML odds.
Reality Queen (8) is going to be the horse everyone relies on dropping in class for Maker. I’m a bit turned off by the fact they thought this filly was a dirt runner, racing over that surface to start her career, and I’m supposed to settle for a short price after a couple OK races on grass.
Bird Key (11) drops in class, but Gary Contessa has horrible relevant stats across the board. The post is poor and the price isn’t right.
If I’m going to an outside post here I much prefer La Contessa (12). Linda Rice is one of the few trainers I would ever endorse claiming away from Todd Pletcher. She wins at a 30% rate first off the claim, and I’ve seen her have success claiming away from strong outfits. Pletcher dropped this filly last out at a time he was competing for a Saratoga training title, and the poor effort on dirt means little to me since she had a rough trip, and Pletcher debuted her on grass suggesting that’s where he thought she belonged.
Matty’s Magnum (4) should be used. She ran well at this level in her third start, and can probably be counted on for a similar effort. Her prior two races were against considerably better, and David Donk is certainly overdue.
I prefer her over Acorn Street (3), who improved in her second start, but had things her own way up front before offering little resistance.
I see nothing wrong with using Glam (1) for Bill Mott. Mott is capable with relevant stats, and wins at a high rate with Ortiz up.
The one I’m most interested in is Old Florida (7) for Tom Proctor and his long time owners the Glen Hill Farm. Proctor is deadly dropping from straight maidens to maiden claimers. Her debut wasn’t bad considering she raced behind a slow pace over a speed favoring course.
Parx shipper Take Charge Sue (6) could also improve stretching out, changing surfaces, and adding Lasix.
I don’t care for late starting Pletcher trainees, and Tapella (2) is a perfect example of why. In just three races I can already tell this pricey daughter of Tapit is just OK. She got it done in her third career start by a narrow margin. She tracked a slow pace that day which favored horses forwardly placed. Look, there’s not much in here, but this filly is not the 750K of horseflesh she commanded at auction. Luckily for her this is a really bad group.
Barn mate Stay Fond (5) was at first glance also unappealing, but she will be the longer price of an uncoupled entry, that will have plenty of pace to run at. Her ambitious placement last out in the GI Cotillion is a bit of a head scratcher, but maybe Todd thought she was doing well. Her race two back sprinting in the slop is irrelevant, and three back she actually ran decently after a rough start left her chasing slow fractions on a speed favoring day.
I’ll use her and my top choice Full House (6). She showed promise this spring before being overmatched in a couple GII events. Jerkens backed off since, and she’s had plenty of time to recover. The fact Jose Ortiz rides leads me to believe she is ready. Ortiz has teamed up with Jerkens for remarkable success from limited opportunities at Belmont over the last two years. Crimson Frost (3) had no chance trailing slow fractions and making a wide bid. She’s still going to need to get better.
Barrier to Entry (1) has lost her last six starts by an approximate six combined lengths. This has been the story of her career, as she is now just 2 for 39 with twelve life time second place finishes. She was ridden perfectly by Irad in her last start and still lost. I’ve got to believe that someone will beat her.
I think that will most likely be Munchkin Money (8). I’ve been against this filly for the most part, but she’s now won two of four starts for Brian Lynch. She had a perfect trip in her last start when defeating questionable rivals though.
The race sets up nice for her on paper, but it does as well for a filly that will offer more value, Eloweasel (9). She has the look of an improving four year old, that ran her best race to date in her most recent start finishing second to a Jason Servis trainee. She never seems to get a fair shake from a pace perspective, and I think she finally will on Friday.
First Appeal (7) has been a colossal nemesis of mine. She’s not going to beat us on Friday, but she can run better with some distance relief.
I can’t make a case for a single runner besides Shadow Rider (2) in race seven. That’s pretty unusual since a horse like this with so much “hang” in him is not my typical cup of tea. However, this is a really lousy group with many runners I’m done with.
Let’s start with Acoustic (1), a Tapit gelding that raced for bottom level maiden claimers five times before finally winning at Laurel on grass. If he wins I’m done for the day.
Second choice on the morning line Karma Delight (6) was a $400,000 purchase that Chad Brown could do nothing with. His lone victory came against 30K maiden claimers, and even though I like his current trainer Charlie Baker, he shouldn’t have folded most recently without excuse.
Going Strong (5) has gone backwards since the Contessa claim from Rice, not exactly shocking. You can have Contessa off a weeks rest with your own money. I don’t know if we will see more from Scarf It Down (3). Englehart has cooled off, and this horse is suspect at eight furlongs, but someone has to hit the board.
Battle Ready (8) is not going to step up and win. No Bruce Brown trainee claimed away from Pletcher is ever going to beat you, even if there has been no greater spot than against these stiffs.
The Big Handsome (2) looks impeccably spotted as everyone’s pick four single. His turf sprints have been awesome. They are racing for second if he can replicate any of his races at less than a mile. I don’t need to further elaborate about his credentials, but I do want to consider an outsider.
The race came up light on speed, and its possible First Growth (5) has the best early lick. Two back he defeated a horse that I gave out at over 20-1, Bucchero, who is running back on Breeders Cup Weekend. Before his last start he finished first in seven consecutive races. I know those wins came at a small circuit, but he clearly has heart, as did his mother who bankrolled over $400,000. This son of a turf influential sire Sidney’s Candy has encouragingly won both of his starts over a synthetic course, so I have little concern he can translate that form to the grass. This gelding took a long time to figure things out, but has really become a nice horse.
After four straight wins Dubini (1) deserves a pass. He raced wide throughout versus horse with much more experience. Now he draws inside where he’s a perfect two-for-two.
Commend (7) has been tackling tougher. He just doesn’t seem to have a great late kick. He’s such an incredibly well bred colt from a tremendous family. It seems he fits well versus allowance level company.
Simon Bar Sinister (4) should be used under. He always tries.
I only want Lil Commissioner (8) in the finale. The biggest threats are a Chad Brown duo debuting for less than they cost. Give me the horse that already ran well at the level. Goodness he was eight lengths clear of a third place finisher, and anything short of a huge try would be a big surprise. I think he gets claimed for the 75K and that’s an encouraging idea when getting behind a horse…
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