Free Picks & Analysis — Who Do Ya Like?
Sunday, July 15, 2018
It’s closing time at Belmont Park this Sunday. They’ll wrap up the spring meet with a 9-race program. On Friday, Saratoga begins, and we’ll have wall-to-wall coverage of everything relating to the meet here on Danonymous Racing.
In the meantime, we’ve got Jason Perry (@jmanmetsfan1) providing free picks & analysis of the entire Sunday card. Jason’s been writing about New York racing for a while now, and we’re happy to have him handicapping the card today.
Good luck, and take it away, Jason!
In the opener I’d pass on Patriotic Endeavor (1). She comes in off a pair of non-threatening seconds at the level. There is no reason to expect improvement at this point. You need to watch Rice when she races on one week rest, but I think this decision is because Linda saw how bad that field was in this filly’s last race, and knew she would find another small group of weak rivals with Saratoga a week away. She could get a piece obviously. The other three horses with hope all intrigue me more on top.
Timely Tradition (2) won easily at this level in her last start, and Clement has had a great meet, and would likely enjoy tallying another win as he has a good shot to finish second. In that last start she dusted the aforementioned foe to her inside.
Midnight Bounty (6) is pretty honest for a horse that races at a low level. She gets a huge barn upgrade to Robert Falcone first off the claim. He’s been fantastic this year with limited starters. Expect to see some improvement off her last.
Madame Barbarian (3) has historically raced for lesser outfits than Gary Gullo who claimed her two back. She won that day at this level quite easily over an off track. Then she was curiously spotted on grass where she’s been less effective while facing better. Now she returns to a proper level, and gets back on her favorite course at her favorite distance. We also get a big rider switch to Ortiz. Frankly, I’d need to use three horses here to feel comfortable getting through the first leg of a pick 5.
Quidura (1) is going to be a really popular single in the horizontal plays. I mean two back she took a GII event in Canada 🇨🇦 at 2-5 odds, and now she will face optional claimers off the bench for new trainer Chad Brown. Brown wins at a 30% clip with first time trainees. This spot is actually logical given that she’s been away a while, and the fact Chad has a loaded barn in the older filly and mare grass division. Indeed he has half the horses nominated for the Diana, the first graded stakes of the meet. She should not get beat. As I said earlier, Christophe Clement has had a great meet, but he has not been connecting with first time North American starters.
I think Candy Store (3) will need a race.
My Impression (2) had a solid 2017 campaign, but has struggled in her first couple races this year. She has excuses though, and could certainly be part of the exacta at a nice price.
Team of Teams (6) will make the pace, but her last pair were not that good, and she looks like a horse that likes Florida better than NY.
Delectation (4) gets a nice drop in class, and returns to a distance she probably prefers. She was not embarrassed when beaten a little over a length twice by some good horses.
I’m not entirely comfortable singling 4-5 favorite Byself (5). Yes, she’s the likeliest winner, but in her last start off the layoff she regressed a bit from a figure perspective. She also bested some rivals that frequently finish second or third. My Roxy Girl simply doesn’t like winning races. The problem is that she looks like the only speed.
I’ve never cared much for No Hayne No Gayle (4). I think she wants a bit more ground as well.
Hay Field (1) put back-to-back wins together off the claim, but then spun her wheels a bit in the slop. She has a good wet track record, so it’s a little concerning that she digressed some. You want to pay attention though when this barn races off short vacations. Phillip Serpe boasts some big figures with horses that are making their second start off long layoffs. He’s also really good when racing turf-to-dirt (29% $3.87 ROI).
This 7F distance seemingly hits Held Accountable (2) right on the nose, and her best to races came over the Belmont main track.
Really tough race here because by process of elimination most will land on Ascender (7). There are plenty of reasons to be skeptical though. I’m not sure why she is previously trained by Chad, and moves to a new barn after one race. I’m leery of late starting Brown runners to begin with, and she’s a classic reason why. She ran fifth in a race she was “unfocused.” I watched the replay, and she unseated Javier prior to the start and took a long time to load. Then once the race started she wasn’t prepared and proceeded to race erratically while swooshing her tail from start to finish. She did pass tired horses making a really wide move, so she’s a horse that could be any type here. This is a bad group so if Nevin got her head right, she could certainly win. However, if not you could be looking at a big underlay.
I have been chasing Barrel of Destiny (1). Her big brother Barrel of Dreams is a pretty nice turf router. He’s got some speed, so I think with the blinkers going on, coupled with a rail draw along with the stretch out in distance, the plan might be to go to lead. The right jock is named as well. However, it’s hard to take short odds on a trainer that is 0-62 on grass, and 0-45 in route races.
I know Tom Bush isn’t very good with first time starters, but That’s Smart (2) has some real flashy breeding for a NY bred. He’s from the final crop of the great Smart Strike, and his mom won over a half million dollars, for the same breeders and owners as this filly. She would not have to be much to beat these.
Handle With Care (6) is a viable option. Bruce Brown is capable, particularly on grass, and he’s managed to attract a top jock for the second straight time.
I really can’t get excited about Union Patriot (3) at 5-1. She did improve last out though when racing wide throughout.
It bothers me that Let’s Dance Some Mo (4) was purchased for a little more than half her sire’s stud fee. In her lone start she was lifeless on the board, and on the track.
Final Form (7) is my selection here coming out of a race against better. He chased really fast fractions against a next out winner, and the second place finisher that day is also in good form. Jeremiah Englehart is really strong with grass sprinters (23% $3.13 ROI), and he does well with Manny Franco in the saddle (24% $2.92 ROI). On paper she could work out a nice stalking trip.
Banty’s Girl (9) is just 1-16, she races for a low percentage barn, and underwhelmed at this level off the bench. 7-2 doesn’t work for me.
Animauxelle (4) fits if she can retain her form for a lesser outfit than she was claimed from two back.
I’ve never liked Problem Solving (2) who was claimed away from Chad Brown in her debut. She’s got some pedigree appeal, and is dropping in class, however.
As a price play I want to use Paranoia (1) getting back on her debut surface. It’s really interesting she will finally face non winners of two lifetime. I’m not sure if she can win without the lead, but she’s a viable long shot.
For obvious reasons I won’t spend much time on this. I don’t use horses like Joe’s Smokin Gun (7) whom have had their chances, and aren’t making any significant changes. Clearly a minor award would be no surprise, but I’ll let him beat me on top.
Ten Eyck (4) is the class dropper that makes sense. I don’t care much for the special weight events he exits, but they are still considerably better than these 40K ones.
He needs to find away not to lose contact early though, but should be able to do that. Run for Boston (2) could get a small share, but nothing more.
I also definitely don’t want Platinum Nugget (1), previously trained by Linda.
American Ninja (3) has had just one chance, on the main track, for a different trainer. He ran decent in his debut, and on paper it seems that this is a rise in class, but it’s not since this is also the bottom level they race for at Belmont. The biggest problem I have is that the horse he lost to in the debut had been toiling at the bottom for some time, and won easily being geared down.
I really thought that Space Captain (5) would improve more with the big barn change. However, he had been away a long time, and Nevin has stronger figures second off long layoffs of six months or more. He also wasn’t anywhere near the lead while marooned from the 12 hole in a race that featured an extremely fast early pace for the level. He can make amends here, as the pace projects to be slow in my opinion.
Midnight Sarlite (1) had a useful debut against open company at Monmouth for the unconscious Servis barn. Even though it was against open company it surprises me that she went off at 10-1 for this barn. It may not mean anything, but it’s definitely curious. This filly adds blinkers for her second start, and obviously could improve. She will most likely get bet off the board though, and win or lose she isn’t going to be good value I’m guessing.
Positively Jean (9) comes in off the best win, but that race came on the turf. I prefer this daughter of Midshipman’s pedigree more for grass with substantial influence coming from the Citidancer line.
First time starter Toss Up (8) has strong pedigree for a New York bred, but it may be that she will want longer. That said, her half sibling won her Saratoga debut, and her graded Stakes winning dam won her debut going on to tally almost $500,000. I’d want more than 7-2.
The bargain buy Native Dawn (5) won her debut over the track in slow time. That day she easily disposed of Princess Pinky (6). I just have a hunch someone will be better than her on Sunday. Frankly I’d give any of four horses a better chance, but this is a race you may want to be wide in.
To say that She’s Trouble (7) lost all chance at the start is a dramatic understatement. She ran on like she has some ability though, and Linda Rice is a virtual ATM with second time starters. It’s been an angle she’s historically excelled at. With a clean start I give her a big shot as she clearly can close.
Spring Folly (1) has been knocking on the door, and may have found the right spot to graduate this condition. She cuts back to seven furlongs, a distance you could argue that she ran her best two races at. The one thing that could get in her way is the glaring lack of early speed.
Miss Mystique (5) has improved quite a bit since switched to the grass. She was only beaten a few lengths in a pair of races where she stalked very quick fractions. Things project to be much more friendly for horses that want to race on or near the lead in this event. She could get first jump.
Peril (2) was a narrow victor after making a very wide sweeping move. The barn is on fire and she looks like an improving filly. She got squeezed a bit at the start in her last an may possess a little more tactical speed. Something that may be necessary is to not be pace compromised too far back.
Lila Ruth (4) could improve second out as many of this barn’s runners do. Linda Rice opts for this spot as opposed to starter allowance company. That’s a sign of confidence.
Can’t elaborate much on the finale. Someone should be able to best Latin Love Bug (10), but who is the question. Wheresthebarber (4) took a lot of money in his debut for a barn that wins infrequently. That day he caught an off track and raced greenly.
Laura’s Posse (6) drops in class after flashing speed versus better. She could run better with a race experience.
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