Free Picks & Analysis — Who Do Ya Like?
Friday, October 6, 2017
Today’s Jockey Club Gold Cup eve at Belmont Park, and nine races are on the schedule. First post time will be at 12:55 PM EDT, which will be the new post time for the remainder of the meet.
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! Give him a follow on twitter when you can.
Take it away, Jason!
It’s hard to make a case for any of the runners that have raced so I’ll go to the unraced Countessofpotenza (8) for the increasingly impressive Robert Falone. I know he doesn’t show much with relevant stats, but it’s from a really limited sample. This filly has a long string of works, and actually possesses some good turf pedigree. Her unraced mother is half to a graded stakes winner on the turf amassing over $500,000 in winnings. All three of her sibs to race have won as well. There’s clearly no world beaters in here.
Dune Buggy (10) goes first out for Linda Rice. She’s good across the board, but Linda is more successful than most with debuting maiden claimers. I’m intrigued by her use of jockey Junior Alvarado. She rarely uses him, but when she has it’s gone well. The work-tab looks sporadic, but I’ll give the benefit of the doubt to Rice.
The one I have the best feel for is Paz the Wine (1) . That is because she always runs the same race. She looks like a great horse to key for second and/or third. I have had good success lately keying horses in underneath slots, and this filly screams second place to me.
Grandpa’s Arianna (3) is probably best suited at this distance on grass. She definitely fits here. However, she’s very well bred and brought only $15,000 at auction. I’d imagine that’s the bottom of the barrel for More Than Ready progeny. She’s a half sister to GIII winner Like Now ($407K) , which further concerns me regarding her low purchase price. She can’t be the best of lookers.
Shrink (7) will probably garner more respect than she deserves. Her inability to find anything late when racing either on the lead or from off the pace is concerning. This is a week group though. She could win, but you won’t get an appropriate reward if you land here.
Justenuff Hope (5) might have the best gate speed. She can outrun her odds in a race of this caliber despite Sciacca’s bad relevant stats.
Frostie Anne (4) looks like the only speed on paper. She’s been competitive when facing claiming rivals, and has tallied five wins in twenty starts. If you toss her turf races she’s five for fifteen lifetime. She loves it here at Belmont winning three of four starts. She is stretching an extra furlong, but it’s still a one-turn race so she should be fine. If she can duplicate her last effort in a wire-to-wire score it should be enough to repeat.
Archumybaby (1) defeated conditional claimers at Monmouth when last seen for Gargan. You leave these connections out at your own risk, but this group will be tougher, and it’s not really encouraging she’s been away for three months since that victory. She would need a career best, and there’s nothing to suggest we haven’t already seen that from her.
Unbridledadventure (2) has back to back wins in races washed off the turf over a wet track. She races first off the claim for Bruce Levine. I’m leery of this one. All three career wins came over an off track, and she seems better going two turns.
I’ve been chasing Frosty Gal (3) but am running out of patience. I’m not sure the added distance is going to help, but she is getting some class relief. Her two best races came off layoffs so the dud she threw in last out is concerning.
No Hayne No Gayne (6) won on her fourth career start, but got clobbered in her two subsequent races. She’s had some time off to recuperate for an Assmussen barn more than capable off layoffs. She has some speed that could hinder my top choice. I’m hoping she opts to track since her best races have come when she’s rated a bit.
I’m willing to forgive the last race for Three Eight Eight (5). She was coming off a layoff at a distance she clearly didn’t want to go, and raced wide when facing better. She’s hit the board in both starts over the track as well as all four at this distance. Her running style looks good in this spot, and once again I’m intrigued by the presence of Junior Alvarado in the saddle for Rice.
We all know how friendly the New York jockey colony is so Perdona (2) could find herself completely unchallenged up front in the compact field comprising the race three turf event. Conventional wisdom has me thinking that she is not good enough to win, after all she lost to the program pick with a lose lead back in April. I think that any of the five horses could win this race, but unless they completely forget about this mare, I don’t think she will be the one. Clement sends out a pair of runners.
Princess Gibraltar (3) made her stateside debut at Suffolk in an overnight restricted stake. It’s hard to gauge that effort with no internal fractions listed. We see she was pinched at the break, but sometimes bettors will put too much stock into a trouble line like that. With speed horses obviously that’s not good, but for off the pace runners it is something that can be overcome. You could argue that she needed the race, but the layoff wasn’t that long, and Clement actually posts significantly better numbers first off the layoff than he does second off.
Somethingelse (5) is about as honest as they come. She sports a solid lifetime record, and if you toss the two tries that weren’t over a firm course she has never been off the board. She probably has the second best speed so I expect Joel Rosario to have her close enough to track and get first jump on the closers.
Azaelia (4) looms her biggest threat, she is the filly she just nipped for second last out. That day she was compromised by an absurdly slow pace, even by New York standards. She likes to drop back and make one late run, but that won’t be advantageous in this spot. If she can keep contact with the field she can turn the tables. Shug posts strong second off the layoff numbers so it’s logical she will be tighter on Friday.
I don’t know what to do with Tricky Escape (1). She really figured things out when finally getting on grass six races ago. Her last pair of solid races came going longer around two turns, but she’s been competitive at shorter distances as well. She has no early speed at all though, and this will be her first one turn race in a long while. This is a contentious group, and it’s going to be difficult for anyone to pass them all should they find themselves last early. 8-5 seems awfully short to me.
Flattermefabulous (2) was claimed three back when wiring out similar rivals she will face on Friday. New trainer Carlos Martin spotted her poorly two back against Stakes caliber rivals on the main track. Then last out she raced wide when facing better. She was further behind then she likes to be through slow fractions on a yielding turf that day. That was her first race on anything but firm ground. All three of her career victories came at this distance over firm ground. She drops in class, will get back on the solid ground she’s performed well enough on, draws well with a two post, and lures the services of Joel Rosario. I fully expect Rosario to be aggressive and put her right up and on the lead. When she wired the field three back she showed enough speed that would get her to the top in this race.
The only other rival that has demonstrated early speed is Zeven (4). Two back she took a similar field gate to wire as my top choice writing for this site. In her last race Dylan Davis allowed a more aggressive rider to take the lead, so if Joel does what I think he will, I’d expect Dylan to concede again. This filly isn’t a need the lead type necessarily, as opposed to my top pick whom I believe is.
I expected more from Silver Magnolia (3) last out. This is a logical drop in class after being uncompetitive in her last pair of races. Her deep closing running style isn’t going to do her any favors though.
Free and Clear (1) has long shot appeal. She exits races versus drastically better than these. Junior Alvarado has logically been replaced by Kendrick Carmouche. I say logically because in both of this fillies last two starts Junior made bizarre early bids. I realize she was “headstrong” in her latest, but it just seems Alvarado has had difficulty controlling her of late. If you look at her comments they are filled with trouble lines. Often she’s raced wide or had issues at the start. If Kendrick can reign her in and get her to relax she could be dangerous. Another scenario could be Carmouche just letting her go early, but I’m hoping that’s not how this plays out.
Linda Rice is exceptional first off the claim therefore some improvement from Khaleesi Kat (8) could happen.
There is a boatload of speed in the race five 16K claimer, so I’m looking for an off the pace runner. Lightning Buzz (12) has three straight seconds at this level for the solid Gary Gullo Stable. There’s nothing to suggest to me he will make amends. With the presence of plenty of early speed type, he will have to rate, and he’s never demonstrated he can come from off the pace.
Reedini (5) could find himself in a good tracking position, but he’s never shown he wants to pass horses in the stretch. He’s consistently faced better though, and there is sure to be some horses tiring in the lane here. He’s was claimed out of his last, but I would qualify this as a negative barn change so I’m a bit more interested in a couple others.
Northern Grey (11) is an interesting option racing first off the claim for Jacobson. DJ has been real hot this meet, and is doing particularly well with horses he’s raced for the first time. This gelding showed speed in his last pair, but those were route races. The fact he’s been away since the January claim is troublesome, and Jacobson’s route to sprint numbers are weak.
The one I want to get into the number is Casigordo (4) . If he can avoid a troubled start he can certainly make an impression late. Even with a bad start last out at this level, he still managed to finish third. He will get an extra half furlong of real estate under new rider Irad Ortiz. He also races second off the layoff for Chris Englehart who wins at a 21% rate second off layoffs of this nature. Even if he’s not good enough to win, I expect him to get a piece of the pie. Sometimes in races with a a lot of early speed, the best speed of all makes it to the top and bottoms them out.
If that’s the case then I would want Money Laundering (1). He woke up when last seen getting back on the surface he began his career, and that’s an angle I’m fond of. With a rail draw and Kendrick Carmouche riding it should be all systems go. His three turf tries were against some real quick early runners, and on dirt at an appropriate level he’s very dangerous to make it two straight.
I wouldn’t give Thaddeus (6) much of a chance if not for the jock change to Rosario. Whenever Joel rides for Cannizzo you had better pay attention.
The once promising Silver Assault (7) is in lousy form. He clearly arrived on the East Coast as damaged goods. A turn-around would be astonishing.
Borsa Vento (8) showed nothing off the Assmussen claim, and will now race for Carlos Martin off a second straight claim. He might get overlooked in the wagering, and could surprise. At least he’s passed horses in the stretch before.
This is a weak group so give me the horse dropping in class over the ones that have failed at this level. I’m not a big promoter of Startwithsilver (1), but she looks well spotted for sure. Linda Rice has been relatively cold this fall Belmont meet, and when trainers get old they get more aggressive. This filly is a versatile sort that race from on or just off the pace. It’s now or never.
The other filly I could make a case for is Winner’s Dream (4) first off the Jacobson claim. She’s making a lateral barn change, and I mentioned earlier DJ isn’t astute going route to sprint. Her morning moves seem sharp sprinting though, and she should work out at great trip in a race that appears to have a good deal of speed.
Buffalo Miss (7) will probably set the pace. She frequently folds, and virtually never puts two races together without getting put away. Clearly she’s a fragile sort, and I don’t want her after the last poor try albeit versus better. Another Genius (6) ran terribly dropped to this level last out. Now she races for an extremely low percentage barn after racing for a good one – yikes.
Samekindacrazy (5) has been beaten over five lengths only once in her last 12+ starts, and that race came over a muddy track. She always seems to try, and it would be silly to leave her out of your exotics. A Dixie Twister (3) makes sense underneath. I’m not thrilled about her though, and I don’t think she will repeat after a life and death win versus non winners of two lifetime. I would assert she was a bit of a shrewd claim two back, but aren’t you concerned about the defection of Joel Rosario coming off a win in favor of a horse he’s never ridden? It’s not like he’s had big success riding for Bruce Brown.
Dwizard (7) is clearly the horse to beat with a pair of thirds from as many starts for Michelle Nevin. He was well supported in both of those races when flashing good speed. On Friday he squares off against a small circumspect group. We are probably looking at a wire to wire win by default. That’s because his opposition does little to excite. The exception may be Side Tracks (4). After an encouraging debut last winter against 62.5K claimers Charlie Baker brought this Trappe Shot gelding back off the layoff opposing special weight company on the grass. He ran well enough against a pair of next out winners. Now he gets back on the main track. That’s a strong angle for me since it suggests Baker thought his future would be on dirt. Charlie also wins at nearly a 30% clip second off the bench.
Valiant Man (1) returns from a vacation under a new conditioner. David Donk is a good horsemen, but I don’t believe this is a positive trainer change simply because Michelle Nevin wins at a higher rate. Donk shows an 0-14 mark with “first time with trainer” so the 5-2 ML doesn’t feel right to me.
Devilry (3) races as a gelding and with blinkers both for the first time. Clearly McLaughlin is looking for an answer to the subpar pair of races. This is a soft group, so if the changes can make a difference we might see improvement. Kiaran boasts strong numbers when he adds blinkers.
Frozen Angel (6) is racing for a minor share at best.
Lucky Song (1) was a little compromised in her last pair of route races. Last out she went the overland journey from an outside post, but still ran on willingly. It’s encouraging John Velazquez stays aboard, he has strong figures riding for Dutrow. She has run much better with inside post positions, so the rail draw looks great. There also appears to be a decent pace scenario with enough front runners.
Battlement (8) is starting to look like a hanger. I don’t know that the added distance will help, but to the novice eye it will. She could not have had a better set up last out, and I won’t say she can’t win, but I will say that even if she does she will be overvalued.
I’m turned on by the long shot odds of Conquest Tizfire (3). She is untested both routing as well as on grass, but the fact she’s run well twice on a synthetic surface makes me think she will be fine on the turf. She was part of that Conquest Stable dispersal, and the original owners shelled out a quarter of a million dollars for this Tiznow filly, so there’s probably some talent there. This barn does extremely well sprint to route, and I firmly believe she can outrun her odds.
Bareeqa (9) made it two straight, winning from far off the pace despite slow fractions. I can’t see leaving her out of exotics. That said, the win streak should halt here. The state bred rivals she’s been facing are not that good.
I would expect a similar race from Remarqued (4). This filly is decent, but must show a bit more to win at this level.
Tasteful (7) would not stun me, but I would think this barn would be using someone other than Rajiv if they really believed in her stretching out and trying the grass.
Sand City (8) is supposed to win the finale. This is a heinous group, and she’s the only one who has shown palpable signs of life. She goes first off the claim for Gargan and Midwest Thoroughbreds so you know she’ll be ready to go.
Party Shot (7) has a pair of thirds for the capable Pecoraro Stable. She’s spotted well against New York bred foes for the first time.
Desert Affair (10) should work out a small share yet again, but you cannot back her with confidence on top.
Ally Oop (11) goes route to sprint, turf to dirt, and drops in class. This field is so ugly that a horse making so many changes with little experience deserves a look by default.
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