Free Picks & Analysis — Who Do Ya Like?
Saturday, June 17, 2017
We’re heading out to Belmont Park this Saturday, where we’ve got FREE picks & analysis of the card for the first time from Mike Mahon!
Mike’s a longtime reader of Danonymous Racing, and we’re happy to have him making his debut as a contributor this afternoon. Good luck to Mike and to everyone today!
My handicapping for selecting runners in a maiden race is simply choosing the horses with the fewest runs. They may show improvement after their first or second out, but anything beyond that I think losing becomes a habit.
Here, Number 1 Smart and Sassy and Number 3 Gypsy Jo have never run before, and therefore are still undefeated. Only one of them can come out on top, and I’m going with Number 1 Smart and Sassy because her Dam has produced two winners and one stakes winner, while trainer Bruce Levine wins 17% with his first time starters. For reference, 5/1 would be a good value at 17% and she’s well over double those odds at 12/1 in the morning line. Meanwhile Richard Violette, Gypsy Jo’s trainer, wins at 29% with first time starters.
Number 5 Skyler’s Lil Cutie has run one race, and this was an abysmal performance over ten months ago.
I won’t play the trifecta here, but if I had to I would throw in Number 2 Cozzy Spring to show. She’s run twice and showed improvement last out, and should find herself in the money.
I don’t like the favorite number 6 Toga Challenger for two reasons: number one she’s never raced on grass and number two she’s never won at this distance. Her last race is very impressive on paper, but was 6 1/2 furlongs and this will be 1 mile on the grass.
I really like Number 3 Kantune at 15/1, who looks to be on an upswing coming in third of the layoff. He placed first last out and is taking a step up in class. I think he can compete at this level, though he’s more of a value play than a
Number 7 Captain Moss looks like a strong contender, depending on how you feel about a horse that’s coming in off 10 months rest. A year ago this race would have been right in his wheelhouse, and you would have been looking at fairly short odds. If he’s anywhere close to that form his 10/1 odds are a steal.
The speed figures for Number 8 Cerise’s Prince may not jump off the page at you, but he looks to have a found his distance at the one mile mark. He ran well his last out against a maiden field. I’m not putting him on top, but he’s a good play to round out the trifecta
This is somewhat of a letdown as the only stakes race on the card. I hate to do this, but if you do plan to play this race my recommendation is straight chalk. The three favorite horses (numbers 1, 2, and 3) with the shortest lines should come out 1, 2, 3 with Wonderment and Super Allison maybe being able to sneak into the trifecta but I really don’t see them either of them finishing within several lengths.
In terms of who exactly do you think is going to come out and in what order again the chalky number 2 Clipthecouponannie should be able to outduel number 1 Absatootly, who may fall back down the stretch and give way to number 3 Court Dancer.
The wild card here is the longshot number 5 Super Allison. She looks like a classic example of throwing a horse out to “put speed into the horse.” In April 2016, she came off a layoff and won at 6 and a half furlongs against maidens. She is dropping in class today from last out, which was a mile and an eighth on the grass. She’s worth a look at 15/1.
I studied this card top to bottom and came up with nothing. I went from the bottom back to the top, and still had nothing. Plan B: when you’re looking at a turf race and you see Chad Brown’s name, you may want to play that horse unless you find a compelling reason not to. I couldn’t find a reason not to play number 5 They Shot Sonny. in the five slot but I don’t know if I’ll put him on top
The number 1 Lucullan is a speed horse. Given his position I think he can get out front and stay out front, as long as he can pace himself around the two turns.
I really don’t like number 8 Sentry at 2/1, but he ran well at the same distance last out and managed to gain ground down the stretch and lose by less than a length. He’s clearly not a value play, but you can’t ignore him in your exotics.
Number 6 Street Review at 8/1 was gaining ground versus similar in his last out on grass, and this today’s run is slightly longer. He looks like a sensible play to end up in the money.
Three horses jump out to me today: number 11 Majestic Bloom, number 9 Lulu’s Blues and number 6 Queen of the Castle.
Majestic Bloom (7/2 in the morning line) ran a very tight second in a similar race last out. This is her third run off the layoff and she should be able to handle this field.
Number 9 Lulu’s Blues is tempting at 15/1. I don’t think she can win and it’s a stretch putting her in the two spot. I like her because this is such a big step up in class ($40,000 claimer last out; $64,000 Allowance today). I don’t think they’d be running her here if they don’t think she can compete, and she’s been working sharp in the mornings. She ran well in similar races back in the fall, although Castellano was onboard.
Similarly, I don’t see number 6 Queen of the Castle winning, however I did notice a pattern in her previous races where she’ll press the pace and come on at the end. I don’t think she’ll have enough room or the speed to catch first or second but 20/1 would be nice to round out the trifecta.
A very deep field takes to the Inner Turf for 6 furlongs in Race 6. Number 1X War Queen offers compelling value at 8/1. I like him for two reasons – Chad Brown has been winning at 36% when switching from Route to Sprint and Javier Castellano will take the mount.
Number 8 May Flowers will not win, but should end up in the money. She has only won once in 20 career starts, but has finished second her two last outs and should be well positioned to end up there again today.
Number 7 Treatherlikestar showed mild improvement last out and drops down in class today. She should place in the money.
I’m putting Number 6 Rockford on top of Number 5 Gentrify, despite the latter beating Rockford two back. This is a step up in class from his last out, which I take as a strong indication of a big showing. Overall, I think Gentrify is the best horse in this field, but think Rockford will have a better day.
Number 2 Too Fast to Pass last time one race with second off a layoff and the only time he’s been with the same trainer for two races.
Number 8 Josephine’s Moment presents an interesting proposition as she has switched trainers three times in 2017. Each of these claiming races were incrementally higher, and she won all three – going from $20,000 to $25,000 to $40,000. Today is most aggressive jump in class she has seen – a $62,500n2x. I like her, but not her odds. The 2/1 morning line would suggest she’ll win this race 66 times out of 100, and you’ll break even. Go ahead and read that again. I prefer a greater reward for that risk.
I broke this race down through pace handicapping, as I’ve had pretty good luck doing so in turf routes.
I see number 1 Now Power running loose on the lead. She should be able to break out of the shoot and be out front by a length at the first turn. None of these contenders can catch her.
After that I see number 4 Squeeze sitting in the center or towards the back of the pack and coming on at the end. She’ll gain ground on the backstretch but won’t have enough track to catch Now Power.
Number 2 Penjade may be able to compete with Squeeze, although this late closer could get jammed up in traffic especially around two turns.
This is a very deep field of 13 maidens. You would hope this would present a lot of opportunities. Typically, I look for a horse that’s only fallen short once or twice; showed improvement in its last race; may be more comfortable stretching out; or first time on turf. Unfortunately, over half this field is well over five failures and others are over ten.
I’m going with number 10 Weekend Hottie, despite her 3/2 morning line. I know looking at a horse that’s never won in over 10 races (all on the turf) may seem silly, but this is her second out after switching trainers and she showed big improvement in her first run with David Donk.
Number 1 Ciao Bella Mia is tempting at 6/1 morning line. Her last effort looks a little lackluster at first, finishing 7 lengths back, but she demonstrate she can run at this distance on the grass. Hopefully the layoff was good for her, and it’s worth noting that trainer Barclay Tagg is winning at 30% when switching from Maiden to Maiden Claimer.
Number 6 Got the Gist comes flying out of Chad Brown’s barn after previously being trained by Patrick Reynolds. She has not raced in over 10 months and has never run on the grass. Her breeding doesn’t necessarily suggest she will thrive on the turf. At 5/1 on the morning line I’ll take a pass. I may throw her into my trifecta if she’s closer to 10/1.
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