Free Picks & Analysis — Who Do Ya Like?
Thursday, September 8, 2017
Saratoga may be over, but the NYRA racing party doesn’t stop. Today’s opening day at Belmont Park, as they begin their fall meet! Nine races are on the schedule today, with a first post of 1:30 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! Give him a follow on twitter when you can.
Take it away, Jason!
In the “Big Sandy” opener I want no part of Conquest Lucknlove (4). She’s had twelve chances already settling for second five times and third on three occasions. During that time she raced for strong outfits like Mark Casse, David Jacobson, and Chad Brown. Then most recently she raced for the Sharp Jason Servis barn, a trainer that excels in turf sprints, but she finished beaten three lengths at this level. She’s not going to get any better at this point. Surely one or more will prove better. Daddyisdooley (3) comes in off three straight second place finishes at this level and distance. Typically that would be a three strikes and your out scenario for me, but she goes first off the claim for Diodoro, and we now how effective that can be. Run Blondie Run (6) drops to her lowest level yet while turning back in distance. I’m not sure she has sprint speed though, and she would definitely need to come from off the pace to factor. The jockey change to Jose Ortiz is noteworthy. He has won at a high rate for Bill Mott, and the tandem has been strong from limited tries at Belmont. Foreign Affair (5) has some appeal turning back to this seven furlong distance that may be her best. She has some excuses in her pair of turf sprint defeats. She drops to her lowest level yet while picking up the services of Javier Castellano for the first time. Of the long shots Banner Wave (7) seems to be the one that could improve. Toss the last routing in the slop against better. Her previous debut run against faster horses wasn’t awful considering she encountered a good deal of trouble and was never allowed to get going.
The 16K claimer for non winners of two lifetime is as bad as you would expect. I can only make a case for a couple of horses. One of those is Iwishirish (6). She’s improved slightly with each start, and most recently graduating versus bottom level state bred’s. That win came by a wide margin, and she was opening up through the lane indicating one extra furlong is within her scope. However, she will be navigating two turns for the first time, and this is her first chance taking on “winners.” She should sit a nice tactical spot behind the possible lone speed of Desirous (7). She goes second off the layoff which is a powerful angle for trainer Danny Gargan. He wins at a 31% rate off layoffs of this length, and clicks at 30% with Kendrick Carmouche in the irons. I made a mental note to try to beat this filly after the wheels came off in the stretch last out, but this looks like a good spot for her. She likes both Belmont and this distance. Indeed her lone win came at the one mile distance over this surface, albeit in painfully slow time. If long shot Forres Lily (2) can force the pace a bit it could allow for a late run from Talkn Til Midnight (3). She drops in class while going turf to dirt for Linda Rice. Turf to dirt is a strong angle for Rice, but then again so is just about every angle for her. She has a second and a third in three races on the main track against drastically better than these. Madame Barbarian (4) has a heinous lifetime record, but of the long shots she could plod along for a minor award.
Kinsley Kisses (2) is the likely pace setter while trying the grass for the first time. She’s not particularly bred well for the lawn, and she’s relatively inexperienced routing. I would be a little surprised if she stayed the course in what has the look of a reach for Pletcher here. Enchanteresse (1) should work out a nice stalking trip with a rail draw. Her three lifetime wins came at Laurel, Meadowlands, and Tampa Bay respectively. So I’m a bit concerned about her chances to win at a major circuit. She did work out a second place finish on this course about a year ago, but that was against lesser. Her last start on a yielding course at Saratoga was awful, but perhaps the troubled trip and soft footing were primarily the problem. Penjade (4) will be favored to make it three straight, but I’m leery. I’ve never been overly impressed with her, and you know she’s not going to improve any further for Brown. Her last victory was a nail biter when she wore down Browse, a filly that subsequently returned and raced poorly. She seems best at a mile and tends to hang a bit as the distances get longer. Somethingelse (5) comes in off a rare off the board finish. It was just her second in thirteen starts. I can forgive it considering she’d been away a couple months, was inexperienced over soft ground, and had some racing trouble getting bumped at the start. In the end she was only beaten five lengths. That was her first start for Christophe Clement, who should have her even tighter on Friday. I’m most interested in Azaela (3). She was bet to favoritism in her stateside debut at Keeneland last fall but hung against better. She rebounded with a win then was a bit overmatched in her last two races. She’s been away since January, but that’s not a concern as Shug does fine off extended layoffs. It’s always good to see Jose Ortiz riding for this barn. Typically that means they are live.
Mascarello (3) has missed by a neck in two straight races at this level. I see no reason why he can’t duplicate those efforts and run well again. Toss the race over yielding turf, and you’re a left with four straight solid tries going two turns on grass. Bond changes jocks to Jose Ortiz, and that’s paid off for him as they have combined to win seven of twenty-four races. The well bred Keepingitquiet (5) is a major disappointment, as many late starting Pletcher trainees are. He returned from the layoff for a new barn and ran horribly at this level. Don’t expect a form reversal. Heated Verdict (9) has had plenty of chances, and really hasn’t run well in two years. Shamcat (2) drops in class, and gets a big-time jock change. Dutrow means business when he uses Castellano. He will deservingly be well supported turning back to a preferred distance on a Belmont course he’s run well over. I can’t make a case for New York John (1). He ran poorly at this level last out, and two back he failed to hit the board against possibly a weaker group than this. The winner that day, Yummy Bear, is a notorious hanger. Nutforboltz (10) is probably going to be the “wise guy” horse again. Two back he had a really tough trip, then was bet off the board most recently against better. He drops in class and attracts John Velazquez. There’s certainly a lot to like admittedly. Calculated Risker (11) goes first off the claim for the powerful Englehart barn. He recently graduated against a poor group, and would have to step forward off the win. It’s certainly possible given the strong barn upgrade, even if Jeremiah is better with dirt runners than grass ones.
Missimlazi (7) will likely be a heavy favorite in the state bred maiden special event race five. In her debut she was pretty well supported, and battled on the lead before yielding late. Her work tab leading up to the debut looks spotty, and it is reasonable to assume she will improve off that effort from a stamina perspective. Obviously she’s fast enough. She adds Lasix against a group of rivals racing primarily for low profile trainers. The exception is the Brian Lynch trained Flatliner (9). Lynch shows a powerful ROI with debut runners, and the long string of works suggests further she will be fit and ready. This daughter of Majestic Warrior brought 75K at auction as a two-year old in training, so she could be quick. Carlos Martin has also made noise of late with first time starters. He saddles Aunt Babe (4) whom shows a quick gate move two works back. There’s good value at anything near the 10-1 ML. Bruce Levine is decent with first time starters, but the works look limited for My Lightnin Strike (3). It is interesting to see Joe Bravo aboard. He’s ridden for Levine only three times in over eighteen months, but was victorious on two of those occasions. My Roxy (2) shows three mediocre races in as many tries. I don’t know why we would see anything more on Friday. Nicholas Esler is 0-6 since January of 2017 with first time starters, but manages to attract Irad Ortiz. That’s interesting since Ortiz has had success for this barn and will ride Lady Camille (6). Her works appear to be spaced apart more than I care to see, but she was purchased for twenty times her sires stud fee so it is conceivable she could have some talent.
The 32K claimer race seven features a few runners going in the wrong direction. Most notably is the David Jacobson entry that both go first off the claim. Typically he scratches one of his entry mates, but even if both go I’ll pass. Shivarelli (1) ran horribly dropping in for a tag off the short vacation and was claimed for about twice what he’s offered for now. Barn mate Conquest Twister (1A) blew a race he shouldn’t have last out in a wash off. He’d be a big surprise to me. Both parts of the entry race best near the lead, and there’s plenty of early speed signed on. Of the two I prefer Shivarelli, but won’t recommend either. Formal Summation (4) probably has the best early speed, but he’s never shown the ability to compete with horses of this caliber. Forget about Too Fast To Pass (5). He’s stunk since the claim from Diodoro, and has historically raced for way better barns. Tale of E Dubai (4) has been beaten fifteen lengths in each of his last three races. He looks like a need the lead type in a race he’s probably not quick enough to clear. On a positive note he moves to a barn that’s sharp off the claim, and squares off against other struggling rivals. Power Nap (6) has a little price play appeal. I’m not a fan of the new trainer versus the previous one he was claimed from two back, but he’s shown the ability to close. His last race at this level really wasn’t that bad considering he had no internal fractions to run at. He should be used in exotics underneath at a price. The last effort of Monte Man (7) was visually impressive. I’m not sure where that race came from though when this gelded son of Custom for Carlos finally ran to his relatively high purchase price. Granted, those were 14K non winners of two lifetime foes. He goes first off the claim for Chad Summers, a trainer that high profile owners have been using of late. I like how he’s shown that he can rate, and a repeat of the last could be enough. Story to Tell (2) drops back to the level he was effective. Rudy Rodriguez has been campaigning this gelding against better. It’s clear now he can’t compete with horses of that caliber, but this field is a different story.
Linda Rice sends out a pair of big time hangers in race seven that will garner plenty of support. This will be the ninth attempt for Startwithsilver (10) to get through this same condition she’s been unable to crack since her first try over a year ago. No, I won’t be stunned if she wins, but in general you should oppose a short priced horse that’s repeatedly failed at the same level. Most recently she ran second to a sharp horse, but she sat a perfect trip that day while never threatening. She will figure out a way to lose again. Her stable mate Barrier to Entry (6) is just two for thirty-seven, with eleven second place finishes. Yikes, I shutter at the thought of putting her on top at a short price. Paz the Bourbon (3) is much more intriguing. She’s run well in her turf sprints, and exits a route race race versus better. This filly has two wins, a third, and a fourth with Castellano riding from four starts. Trainer Mark Hennig wins at an 8% rate, but is noticeably better with every single applicable stat. I love her chances to run big. Vicki’s Dancer (2) is an old pro that can outrun her odds. She’s hit the board in eleven of her fifteen career turf races. Her trainer Steve Klesaris excels in turf sprints. The one I’m interested in at a price is Rockin Alli (4). She comes in off a short layoff, and was victorious the last two times that she was away 31-60 days. Indeed, her trainer Raymond Handal is currently excelling with that move winning at an 18% rate with a $2.61 ROI. She’s inexperienced going six panels, but her lone two tries at seven furlongs were solid. In her two previous races against horses at this level she forced or tracked fast fractions, and I think she may be best as a sprinting closer. She might be short on talent, but 15-1 is awesome value in exotics. It’s nice to see Manny Franco taking the call again, he’s done really well riding for Handal. At first I wanted nothing to do with Buffalo Miss (5), but John Terranova is winning at too high of a rate with turf sprinters to exclude. This filly can’t put two races together without showing a layoff line so I’m inclined to believe she will fade late. Eloweasel (8) is going to appreciate the distance relief. I don’t think she’s fast enough to win, but definitely recommend using her underneath at a price.
I think Rubilinda (4) is far too talented to lose here. She was awesome in her debut, then had considerable trouble second out when a TAP trainee virtually walked on the lead up front. There doesn’t seem to be a problem with a lack of early speed in this spot to facilitate her good late kick. She’s been an “also eligible” or washed off the turf two straight times, and has to be kicking the door of her stall down ready to go for Chad. Her barn mate Noble Freud (8) should help her out by enforcing an honest pace. She wired out much lesser in her victory last out, and would need to improve to win. Adorable Miss (9) has won three of four lifetime, but I’m not a believer. She is unproven sprinting, and has been handled with Kid gloves of late. You can expect a big try from Epping Forest (6). She’s two for two at the distance and three for four at Belmont. There is plenty of early speed to make sure she runs her typical solid race. Last out she ran a good second to the razor sharp Morticia. Smiling Causeway (1) should take this group a long way on the lead with a rail draw. Arnaud Delacour has staggering dirt to turf numbers, has tremendous success with this rider, excels in turf sprints, and is good adding blinkers. I see plenty of reasons to include her. Heavenly Score (5) is probably a cut below. She’s experienced sprinting on grass, and looks versatile enough to include in exotic wagers however.
In the frightful finale give me Nicholas and Me (1). He races first off the claim for the powerful Jeremiah Englehart barn as a first time gelding. He’s the lesser of many evils in here. Thaddeus (8) disappointed last out dropping in class. Perhaps the sloppy track didn’t help. Harlan’s Vador (10) makes sense at the level. He goes turf to dirt for McPeek and doesn’t stink of a red flag. One would expect Fastlanefrontman (11) to be better than he showed last out. This is by far his softest spot yet. I want nothing to do with Competitiveness (4), a horse that debuted in for a tag for Chad Brown and his most prolific owners. Beltany (3) will certainly take support, but do you really want a 300K purchase racing for a 20K tag for a powerful ownership group that turned this horse over to a relatively weak trainer? Donegal racing uses Pletcher, Brown, and Baffert, so the fact he has run for Morley since the debut can’t be a good thing.
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