Free Picks & Analysis — Who Do Ya Like?
Saturday, June 4, 2016
On Saturday, we’re headed back out to Belmont Park, where we’ve got FREE PICKS and ANALYSIS from returning guest handicapper Steve Pozzuoli (@pozzmiester).
Steve has the duties of being our handicapper every Saturday at Belmont for the meet and he knows his stuff. We’re excited to see what he’s come up with today and we encourage you to give him a follow on Twitter when you get a chance. Good luck to everyone playing along.
Take it away, Steve…
The wait is almost over. We are now only a week away from one of the greatest days of racing of the entire year, even if a Triple Crown isn’t on the line. There are a few nice opportunities on this card to build up the bankroll for next week. I have only been writing up analysis of races since earlier this year and am always looking for ways to improve. If anyone has any suggestions or constructive criticism, please pass it along via Twitter (@pozzmiester) or the comment section below. Good luck to all and thanks to Dan for the opportunity to contribute to his site. And away we go…
Suggested $.50 Pick 5: 4,8/1,2,3,4,5,7/8,9/1,5,7/6,7= $72
Skinny $.50 Pick 5: 8/1,3,4/8,9/5,7/6,7,8= $18
#8 Park Ranger 7/2
#4 Seventhfleethumor 8/1
#3 Forest Boy 12/1
Let me start out by saying I am completely against the heavy favorite, Marble Falls, in this spot. I would use him very defensively on either a deep pick 5 ticket, but he will not be part of any of my main plays. That being said, #8 Park Ranger is one of my strongest opinions on the card. I really like this one’s running style and he should be sitting third or fourth behind the other speeds and take advantage of his perfect trip. Randi Persaud does not have good numbers going turf to dirt, which is the main concern, but I believe this horse can overcome that. #4 Seventhfleethumor is going first off the claim for Gary Gullo, a move he has connected with 22% of the time the last two years. That percentage goes up to 31% when looking at just the last year alone. He will be cutting back to the shortest distance of his career, but he will be running late in a race that has some pace. He should be able to hit the board. #3 Forest Boy is a sneaky play here. He is back to his preferred running distance and his speed figures at 6F are very competitive in here. He should be a big price and has every right to hit the board.
#3 Eloweasel 7/2
#4 Night Madam 5/1
#1 All Day Lawn 6/1
This is a bit of a head scratcher. There are multiple horses going dirt to turf and look like this may not be their preferred surface. I will use #3 Eloweasel as my top selection. She is dropping in class and has run very well in her two turf starts. She also looks like she should be sitting second right behind Moondance Joy. With her prior starts on turf and the trip she is projected to get, I think she is the likeliest winner. #4 Night Madam draws the services of Javier Castellano and ran the best Beyer speed figure last time out. Although she is jumping up in class here, she has the running style that should work out very well in this race. There is enough speed on paper where she can stalk, but if jockeys grab their mounts like they are prone to do on the NYRA circuit, this one can take advantage. #1 All Day Lawn certainly has a name that suggests she will like the grass, but that’s not the only thing I like about her. She is the most consistent of the runners in this field and is going out for the red hot Danny Gargan. If she runs back to her last two, albeit they were on the dirt, she should have a say in the outcome here. I will go very deep in this race in the main pick 5 ticket as I have some stronger opinions elsewhere.
#9 Galileo’s Song 5/2
#8 Achnaha 8/5
#1 Blame It On Me 5/1
#9 Galileo’s Song ran very well to break her maiden last time out. While she is obviously taking a step up in class, this isn’t the strongest optional claimer field and her bloodlines certainly suggest she can be a very good one. Her stalking style should suit her perfectly in this race and I think that as the distances get longer, she will get better. If she improves off of her last race, she has a big chance here. #8 Achnaha is certainly the class of the race, but she does not have the killer instinct. In 19 career races, she only has 1 win. She certainly can win here, but there is no way I would ever take a short price on this one and you wonder if she remembers how to get her nose to the wire first. #1 Blame It On Me comes off a maiden win for Christophe Clement and ships up from Tampa Bay. She ran very well when you take into account her breaking very slowly and spotting the field at least a couple of lengths. She came with a really nice run to get up by a length, but stretches out by 3F and will be facing much tougher here.
#5 Mordi’s Miracle 7/2
#7 Tairneach 5/2
#1 American Creed 3/1
Of the three main contenders in this race, I will take the best price on top: #5 Mordi’s Miracle. He is stepping up slightly in class, but has some positional speed that he can use to sit right behind the front runners. He is returning fairly quickly for Chris Englehart, who has great numbers in every single category here. I am confident he will run a very good race in this spot and I believe is the most likely winner. #7 Tairneach is coming off of a 10 month layoff, but he draws the services of meet leading rider, Jose Ortiz. He is also dropping down in class, which could be a little fishy, especially coming off of the long layoff. He is the fastest horse in this race, has been training very forwardly and Gargan has great numbers off of layoffs. All of those factors add up to him having a big chance of winning here. #1 American Creed has positional speed and loves this distance. He is another returning fairly quickly off his last victory, which shows the connections are looking to strike while the iron is hot.
#7 Mascarello 12/1
#6 Quien Sabe 12/1
#8 Bapu 3/1
#7 Mascarello is usually a horse I would shy away from in maiden races, but being as though he is getting on the turf and looks to have some turf breeding, may have an advantage in here. The other plus is that he should be prominent from the bell in a race that does not look to have too much speed on paper and you can usually count on Aaron Gryder to put his mount in the game early on. #6 Quien Sabe is coming off of a slight freshening and is dropping in class. I like that Manny Franco kept the mount and he is now more acclimated with this colt. Last time out, he could not close into very, very slow fractions and was up against it right from the start. I expect him to be a little more involved here, especially facing weaker company. #8 Bapu is making his second start off of a long layoff. He definitely needed his last race and it was on the dirt, so you can toss it out. He has trained forwardly since that race and I expect him to fire a good one here.
#8 Saratoga Heater 5/2
#1 Spearhead 2/1
#2 Romans Paradise 10/1
#8 Saratoga Heater should get the perfect stalking trip in this race. He is drawn outside and there is some speed signed on here. With the pace duel that I could see happening here, he should be able to take full advantage and turn the tables on Spearhead. The aforementioned #1 Spearhead probably will be in front and will have to work on the front end with the other front runners. Last time out, he set blistering fractions and if he is able to slow it down a little, could be very dangerous. #2 Romans Paradise is the deep closer I would want in this race. He runs consistent high 70s, but this distance may be a touch short for him. He is certainly good enough to get a piece, but that’s where I would put his ceiling.
Suggested $.50 Pick 4: 2,3,4,7,9,10,13/2,5,10/1,9/1= $21
Skinny $.50 P4: 7,10,13/5,10/1,9/1= $6
#7 Kenyan 8/1
#13 D’Eloquent 6/1
#10 Brooklyn Major 10/1
The analysis of this race begins by re-watching the 5th from Belmont on 5/14. If you like that race, you have the 3rd, 4th and 5th place finishers here and will side with them. I am of the belief that it was a fairly strong race and these three will make up my top three choices above. #7 Kenyan was ridden a bit early in the race to get him involved, but he didn’t look like he was very interested. Going around the turn, he began getting involved and coming down the stretch he looked full of run and tuned into what was actually going on. I expect him to move forward in this race with the experience. Second time starters for Mike Hushion is a huge angle for him and this horse will be a handful. #13 D’Eloquent was fairly close to a pretty fast pace and ran very evenly the whole way around. He was very green in the stretch and if he kept a straight path he certainly would have been closer to the top 2. I am not saying he would have won, but he certainly lost about a length being so erratic. #10 Brooklyn Major closed most impressively in that race and if the distance was at today’s 6.5Fs, he certainly would have won. If he comes with that same run, he will be very tough in here. This is a spread race for me in the late pick 4, as you will see above.
#5 Highland Sky 8/1
#10 Noble Quality 12/1
#2 Camelot Kitten 8/5
Camelot Kitten is certainly the horse to beat here, but I am going to take a shot against due to the likely short price and a couple of others that look to be improving types and coming into this in top form. #5 Highland Sky has been on my radar since his very troubled run in the Pilgrim last year. I had a little wager on him in the BC Juvy turf and he didn’t get the best of rides that day either. I don’t think he would have won, but he would have hit the board. He took the winter off and has returned a much improved animal. His last two races were very nice runs and he looks like he will take another step forward here as he is training lights out. We probably won’t get the 8/1 ML but anything above 5/1 is acceptable and I will be taking a big swing with him. #10 Noble Quality is also steadily improving as the distances have gotten longer. He was one of the few to actually make up ground in his last race down at Gulfstream and with the added distance and positional speed, he should sit a nice trip. #2 Camelot Kitten is the horse to beat and looked like an improved animal with the addition of blinkers last time out. I feel he may be a slight bounce candidate and with others that are steadily improving I will take my shot against him.
#9 Collin’s Smile 4/1
#1a Storm Pursuit 3/1
#2 Perfect Disco 12/1
Looking at pace figures, #9 Collin’s Smile ran a heck of a race last time out. He was right up on a fast pace and at least 3 wide the whole way around. He was making steady progress coming down the stretch but was ultimately not match for the winner. There should be a bit of pace he can run at in this spot and I think he can turn the tables on Storm Pursuit. #1a Storm Pursuit won that race in his last dirt start. You can toss his most recent race as it was on the turf and he obviously didn’t handle it. He was even closer to the hot pace and was able to hold off the horses coming from further back in the pack. With the same trip, he will be tough to beat in here. #2 Perfect Disco is coming off a slight freshening for Gary Gullo and trained nicely in his last timed workout for this. The first and second place finishers from his last race came back to win in their next starts, so that bodes well for that race as a whole and for Perfect Disco. He has some positional speed that he can use in here and being drawn down on the rail, will have to use so he doesn’t get shuffled back. If he runs back to his race in February, he can hit the board here.
#1 Aripeka 2/1
#11 All Over Me 5/1
#7 Marriage Fever 20/1
#1 Aripeka is clearly the horse to beat in here based on class and speed figures. He is multiple graded stakes placed, which brings up the question as to why he is running in a 25k claimer here. That would be my only concern and the fact that he hasn’t had a times workout since 4/27. I would love to take a shot against him in here, but I don’t see any viable alternatives. #11 All Over Me is coming off of a win for Mike Maker. He has some positional speed and should sit a very nice trip in here. #7 Marriage Fever is going to be a very big price in here and improved moving back to turf last time out. He has run very well at this mile distance in the past and with another forward move, can hit the board at a big price.
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