Free Picks & Analysis — Who Do Ya Like?
Sunday, July 8, 2018
There’s ten races on the Sunday card at Belmont, including two stakes races. The first post is at 1:30 PM EDT.
We’ve got Jason Perry (@jmanmetsfan1) providing free picks & analysis of the entire program. 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!
A nice little maiden event kicks off the card. Joyful Heart (5) had an encouraging debut when running a good second place after making all the pace. He is out of a nice race mare that tallied about half a million dollars. I’m not thrilled about Brian Lynch’s second out numbers though, and you certainly won’t sniff 7-1 again. I would also expect he won’t make a clear lead with a Wesley Ward trainee just to his inside. I know it sounds silly to assert speed to be expected from a first time starter, but Ward runners very often are really quick from the gate.
No Way Never (4) is a homebred by a young stallion that was also trained by Ward. I prefer when Ward uses other riders though, and he’s historically much better with two-year olds that debut sooner.
I think there is a good chance that Teachable Moment (3) has some skills. He goes first out for Chad Brown, and Brown’s primary ownership group, the Klaravich Stable. He doesn’t have much pedigree appeal from the female side, but he still commanded $180,000 at auction. The works have been consistent and steady, and Chad is really good in turf sprints. It’s interesting Brown is at a relatively low 23%, but he’s racked up a slew of seconds, and has been first or second in nearly half his Belmont starts. He could work out the right trip.
Winning Factor (2) was a pricey purchase out of a two-year old in training sale. That’s something I always keep an eye on. His trainer Robert Barbara is pretty low-profile though, and he has no turf numbers to speak of. Nevertheless, there could be value here. Christophe Clement is running cold with debut runners. That said, he won a race on Friday with a first time starter. You also always want to take note when he uses Irad Ortiz. Clement is very effective with two-year olds in general, and he excels in grass sprints.
Cotton House (6) could outrun his odds.
I don’t care much for the bottom level race two claimers. The Diodoro entry will take a lot of support, but I get the feeling that Got Even (1) has nothing left to give. He’s nine years old now, and comes in off a bunch of defeats by wide margins. I do prefer his entry mate Imperatore (1A), but nobody in this group can be entirely trusted. Cohen is named on both halves of the entry, so one will scratch, and I’m hopeful it’s Got Even since it would give me an opportunity to give Jet Black (5) a shot. Big Sandy is by far his favorite course, and he never seems to get a break up front. I realize he has not won a race since 2016, but he typically races against better than these, and has fired at this level in the past.
Barn mate Marriage Fever (6) could plod along for a minor share, but I wouldn’t expect more than that.
Bar None (7) won at this level two back, but he benefitted from a very fast pace for the level. Then last out he got another favorable pace set up, but finished a well beaten second, and just a nose better than Marriage Fever.
I cannot fathom landing on Tapin Mojo (3) . His trainer is clueless, and loves spotting horses in ridiculous spots. This son of Tapit returns from a nearly two year hiatus as a first time gelding. Let’s hope he gets home safe.
Rings of Jupiter (4) failed to impact last out at this level. He changes barns in a move that is lateral at the very best, even though his new trainer Antonio Arriaga has actually been ok.
This race was carded for the last Sunday card that was canceled due to extreme heat. So, I’ve spent a lot of time and it’s still a conundrum. I really don’t want a short price on Have Another (6) because I’m not a fan of the races he exits, even though he did handle his foes easily. I’m not really against him, but I want a better price.
I am against third ML choice Devils Halo (1) though. A four year old Tapit progeny that debuted as a gelding has to be a bit flawed. I’m understandably circumspect of older maidens at Churchill this time of year as well. He couldn’t have been facing much.
I prefer the other late starter Call Triple A (7) who also was easily victorious in his lone start. Sure, you should probably be leery of his competition since that win came against PA state bred’s at Parx. I like the connections though, and he will now get first Lasix.
I gave Pop the Hood (2) a long look, because he can beat these on his best day. His form has gone backwards though, and the connections are frigid.
I want to give Killybegs Captain (5) a shot, even though his lone wins, and one of his pair of second have come over an off track. Typically I would need to see him run big over a fast track first. But, John Terranova has strong figures with layoffs of this nature, and this gelding’s morning activity looks strong as well. The 15-1 morning line is enticing, particularly with a noteworthy jock change.
Those of you that follow me know that I like to oppose late starting Chad Brown and Todd Pletcher trainees. Therefore I’ll let Strategic Outlook (6) beat me. I wouldn’t be surprised by any stretch of the imagination, but Brown’s best runners make it to the races as juveniles. It just follows that for a horse from his barn to start this late there has been issues. It’s also concerning this son of Medaglia d’Oro debuts as a gelding. All of that said, I think he will take support.
To really make things dangerous I’m also against Overnight Success (7) . It’s hard to believe that Jason Servis has won fourteen of thirty starts, at the time of beginning this work, but it’s true. This colt also has some health concerns in my opinion. He shows a layoff line between all three starts. Last out, he simply wasn’t very good, even if it was not one of Irad’s finest moments. You aren’t going to get fair value on a horse like this as hot as this barn is running. Servis’ relevant stats are simply staggering.
I don’t think the last race from Another (4) was a fluke. He ran second in his debut, but ran poorly second time out. After the layoff he was distanced in a race I care less about since it was on the main track. Then most recently he ran big at long odds when getting back onto the debut surface. That’s an angle I love. He’s got some pedigree appeal as his unraced mom is a half sib to Santa Anita Derby, Kentucky Derby, and Preakness winner I’ll Have Another, as well as another horse that likewise won five of seven career starts for owner/breeder Harvey Clark. If you are worried about the trainer switch, don’t be. Bill Mott is sitting out a seven day suspension so his assistant trainer Leanna Willaford is the trainer of record.
He should sit a nice stalking trip behind Teryn It Up (8). That colt wasn’t bad either exiting the same race in which he forced a strong pace. He could definitely outrun his odds.
However, the other horse I’m a little interested in is Carom (2) . Robert Ribaudo does a pretty good job training a few horses for Marc Keller. This son of Data Link was bought for 37x the sire stud fee so clearly he impressed. He races with first Lasix, and Manny rides back. He will likely go longer than the seemingly low ML. He also scratched on Friday for this spot.
Truly a Moon Shot (8) blew a big lead in a race that he shouldn’t have lost at even money. He’s now one for twenty-one lifetime. He has little desire to finish races, and so he’s not a horse I’d want in any race at a short price. I’m willing to forgive the last race from Go Big or Go Home (7). It came over a sloppy track in which he chased a fast pace while racing wide. I don’t typically want horses claimed away from Diodoro. However, Gary Gullo is good first off the claim, as well as with other relevant stats. This gelding closed willingly four back, so I don’t think he’s a need the lead type.
Basic Hero (3) finally won a race when dropped in class, but after that score he went away for a year. Brian Lynch is good with horses returning from long layoffs, and he’s spotted appropriately so I wouldn’t rule him out. He also has good early speed, and has run best over this course.
Robert Falcone is doing fantastic right now, but I’m hard pressed to see anything better than a small share for Anything Pazible (1). In his last start he was out kicked by an impossible long shot. In exotics yes, but on top I think no. The rest seem without hope.
Fig Jelly (8) goes first time for the sizzling Jason Servis. You can obviously look for huge improvement moving to this barn after racing for an 0-38 one. Before Servis was the king of everything, I used to call him the king of the turf sprinters. He’s posting a $2.51 ROI from a large sample with grass sprinters, and he’s boasting an awesome $3.37 ROI with first time trainees. The only flaw I can see is the unknown reason he’s using Jose Lezcano. It really bugs me.
He should stalk the pace setter Polar Axis (2) who will also race for a different outfit for the first time. This Bustin Stones gelding has lit up the tote board on many occasions in the past. His last three wins came at 21-1, 15-1, and 6-1. So he’s not afraid to play spoiler. He’s run well fresh, and all three of his wins have come over this course. He also attracts John Velazquez. That’s great news as Johnny V rides at a very high level for Michelle Nevin winning at a 25% clip with a $3.58 ROI over the last nineteen months.
The horse to beat is clearly Unlockthepotential (3) for Chad Brown. This son of the obscure stallion Crown of Thorns was bought for 110x his sire’s stud fee. Obviously he worked very quickly at the OBS sale. That said, he’s clearly had some issues. He didn’t make his debut for over a year after he was purchased, and he was not well supported when he ran to his long odds first time out. Things changed when he got on the grass though, as he won easily defeating a barn mate that was a next out winner. Now he’s been away nearly a year again, and will race as a first time gelding. The Saratoga morning works have been very quick, and Brown is the best in the business when it comes to long vacations. Expect this guy to be dead fit.
I think the Linda Rice trained Major Force (4) is running for a small share. I have NEVER trusted this son of Scat Daddy that cost $475,000 and debuted for 30K. Since getting on grass and racing for Rice he’s become a pretty consistent horse that tries. Take note though that all of those races came against lesser, and he would need to further improve to win here. I can’t see it happening.
Yummy Bear (7) has demonstrated a lot of hanging lately, and seems stuck at this level. You always have to use this guy, but I don’t think he will win.
Estrechada (5) is the deserved favorite having accomplished the most in this field, and getting arguably a slight trainer upgrade to Diodoro. She also ran pretty well in New York last summer when she shipped here after Santa Anita closed. I must say though, at the end of the day, she’s just 1 for 11 on grass, and has not been able to string races together. Typically she’s not well supported at the windows, so why get on the bandwagon when she won’t be a price?
Homeland Security (2) has been cold para-mutually speaking as well. You won’t find many Chad Brown trainees to go off at 5-1 or higher in their first five starts without really running poorly in any of them. She’s twice rewarded the people that supported her in those four starts, but disappointed last out as the favorite. It was a race over a yielding course though so it’s not without some excuse.
I still prefer others. Flower Fashion (3) got the better of her that day when Joel Rosario opened up a monstrous lead while cruising in slow time. She was life and death to hold on though, and I think she should at least get token pressure from Not Taken (4) should Joel attempt another wire-to-wire score.
Barn mate Silver Step (6) seems up against it as Clement is just 1 for 35 with Franco riding, and this horse looks to slow, and is untested going longer distances.
Summersault (1) fits here getting reunited with Johnny V. She’s an honest mare that often tries, bit her 0-10 record over this course bugs me. That means she is 7-22 everywhere else, and her best races actually have come in Florida. That brings me to my top choice Violet Blue (7). Her win last out was eye catching. Toner has a knack for getting them ready off long layoffs. This mare always seems to be pace compromised, but finally got a fair shake last out. Both of her wins have come over this course, and she’s got a tiny bit of tactical speed that could work out perfectly.
This race is so weird on many levels. Do you really want the program pick Wicked Freud (2) moving from Brad Cox to Mitchell Friedman off a loss at this level? That was a relatively good group, but still…
I’m not the least into Dezzer (1) debuting for a tag, dead heating two back at Monmouth, winning by a life and death margin most recently, and then trying the grass for the first time now.
You can toss the last from Whatstotalkabout (10) going longer. He fits turning back in distance, but anything trained by Jason Servis will be an underlay.
I want to give a shot to Whiskey Seven (3) coming off the layoff for Rice. A repeat of his race two back might be good enough, and clearly something went wrong in his most recent start before the layoff. Rice is great with grass sprinters, Velazquez takes the call, and this gelding should be a nice price win or lose. I think at this point owner Barry Schwartz wants to get his picture taken, and is not worried about horses claimed away.
Stolen Pistol (6) was a nice play last out. He benefited from a great pace scenario though, and he defeated a runner that simply never finishes on top.
The Victory Ride came back loaded with talented three year old fillies. Mia Mischief (5) continues to impress with four wins and three seconds in seven starts. Most recently she became a GII Winner. Things don’t get easier in this GIII event though as a ton of early speed is signed on. She successfully rated two back at Oaklawn, and may need to do the same on Saturday.
The undefeated Sower (4) has won all three races in wire-to-wire fashion, and draws just inside the favorite, Mia Mischief. This will be her hardest test thus far, by a long way. I’m not confident she’s up to the challenge.
I don’t know what to expect from Seperationofpowers (3). She has a lot of ability, and I can easily excuse both her losses. My instincts tell me she is best going a one turn mile. I can tell you this though, her two-year old figures were really fast, and if she’s matured she could be a real danger to the division this year. It also may be that she will need a race, and is using this as a prep for the Test.
Spectator (8) is intriguing. I don’t think she’s a need the lead type, and I believe she will enjoy turning back in distance. It’s understandable she was overmatched in the SA Oaks against a really good Midnight Bisou. I was impressed when she defeated older horses in March as a three year old, so frankly both races this year have been good. Michelle Nevin is dangerous with horses racing under her care for the first time, particularly sprinters. Indeed, sprinting is Nevin’s game.
I think a horse that will be overlooked in the wagering is Classy Act (10). She ran some big races routing against some of the best in her division, and is probably happier sprinting. If she can rate I think there could be good value here as I suspect she goes longer than 6-1.
DISCLAIMER: THIS IS NOT A GAMBLING SITE. PICKS & ANALYSIS FOUND ON THIS SITE ARE MERELY OPINIONS BASED ON SUBJECTIVE ANALYSIS. PICKS DO NOT GUARANTEE ANY SUCCESSFUL OUTCOMES WHATSOEVER. PICKS ARE PROVIDED TO GUIDE YOUR STRATEGY TO PLAYING THE RACES. MATERIALS FOUND ON THIS SITE ARE IN NO WAY INTENDED TO ENCOURAGE GAMBLING. WHERE LEGAL, ALL WAGERS SHOULD BE MADE RESPONSIBLY AND ARE DONE SO AT YOUR OWN RISK.