Free Picks & Analysis — Who Do Ya Like?
Saturday, October 1, 2016
On Saturday, we’re headed out to Belmont, where we’re thrilled to welcome back our friend and returning guest handicapper Steve Pozzuoli (@pozzmiester).
For months, Steve has provided his FREE PICKS & ANALYSIS every Saturday on the New York circuit. His writeups are thorough and extremely insightful. 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…
NYRA carded the first half of their Breeder’s Cup prep races today, but, unfortunately, the weather in the region has been awful for the last two days and we are more than likely going to be off the turf for all races other than the two stakes races (I guess there is a chance that those come off too, but we will have to wait and see). I am going to do my write up as if we will be on the turf, but at the bottom of each race that is scheduled to be on the turf, I will include dirt picks. I will not post the suggested multi race wagers until after scratches and changes, so keep an eye on my Twitter feed for those plays (@pozzmiester). Good luck to all and thanks to Dan for the opportunity to contribute to his site. And away we go…
Race 1 – Maiden Special Weight 2YOs 1 1/16 Miles on the Inner turf
#1a Culture Carrier 9/5
#1 Data Room 9/5
#7 Shamsaan 4/1
#3 Snap Decision 10/1
The entry for Chad look like they will be very tough in this spot if it stays on the turf. The breeding is there for #1a Culture Carrier to run all day long and to be a very good one and I think he will start his career off nicely here. #1 Data Room ran pretty well first time out, losing to a runner going to be one of the top choices later on in the Pilgrim. If he improves like most of Chad’s runners do second time out, the entry will finish 1-2. #7 Shamsaan ran respectably first time losing to a big priced runner. The second place finisher in there may have been best and he too will be running in the Pilgrim later. The third place finisher came back to lose by a neck last weekend so I am expecting that race to be fairly live. Kiaran’s runners usually improve second time out. #3 Snap Decision is a half to Mr. Speaker, but Shug does not usually win first time out. He could turn out to be very good, as all of his siblings to make it to the races have made at least 6 figures.
Race 2 – Maiden Special Weight 2YOFs 7 Furlongs on the Widener turf
#6 Five Each Way 6/1
#4 Divine Cause 2/1
#9 Louisiana Lady 5/1
I will take a shot in here with the first timer for Motion and a half to Miss Temple City and Pricedtoperfection, #6 Five Each Way. She is bred very nicely for this extended sprint distance and if they do stay on the turf, there will be a bit of give in the ground, which her most prolific sibling prefers. Being by a British stallion, that softer turf breeding probably runs pretty deep for her. #4 Divine Cause ran very well first time out, and Weaver can move a horse up second time. She has trained pretty well since then. #9 Louisiana Lady had a little but of a rough trip last time and never really looked comfortable. I don’t think she can win this race, but she has a shot to hit the board.
Race 3 – Maiden Special Weight 2YOs 7 Furlongs on the dirt
#5 Condo Prince 3/1
#6 Gotta Curlin 7/2
#1 Oxford Circus 5/1
I have been a fan of #5 Condo Prince in his first two starts where he really hasn’t run poorly, but ran into two horses that are better than him. Today he finds the right field and he is bred to handle off going. The rail may not have been the best place to be the day of his last race and drawing outside here benefits him greatly. #6 Gotta Curlin is a firster for Pletcher, which Stonestreet paid $380k for and I think the fact that this one is by Curlin speaks volumes, because Stonestreet raced him and still owns a majority piece. He is training very well and should like the extended distance. #1 Oxford Circus is a horse that could really move up second time out as well. I liked his run first time when he pressed a pretty quick pace and stayed on to hold 4th while the first three finishers came from the middle and back of the field.
Race 4 – $77,000 Allowance 3YO+ 7 Furlongs on the Widener turf
#10 Altar Boy 3/1
#5 End Play 6/1
#4 Runaway Posse 2/1
#10 Altar Boy goes first off the claim for Mike Maker, one of his strongest angles. This horse likes the distance and the surface and draws the services of Jose Ortiz. #5 End Play could find himself on the lead and is another one that likes the distance and the surface. On softer turf, the front end usually is very good, so he can certainly take them a long way. #4 Runaway Posse is probably the horse to beat, but these horses are tougher than the ones he was facing at Belmont in the spring.
Race 5 – $62,000 Allowance 3YO+ 6 1/2 Furlongs on the dirt
#3 Nobody Move 8/1
#2 EJ’s Legacy 10/1
#7 Just Afleet 10/1
I am going bombs away in here. I really do not like any of the short priced horses as I get the feeling all of them may be dueling on the lead. #3 Nobody Move should benefit the most as he does have positional speed and is a bit of a grinder. Last time out he hit the gate at the start and had to be used a bit earlier than he may have wanted to due the poor start. With a clean break and a slight cutback, I think this race sets up nicely for him. #2 EJ’s Legacy will get the same setup, but he will be coming from much further back, which is cause for concern. I don’t love him, but I think the setup will be in his favor. Once again, #7 Just Afleet broke his maiden last time out on the inner dirt at Aqueduct and has been off since then. He has been training regularly the last two months and I like the fact that Manny Franco sticks here.
Race 6 – The G1 Turf Classic Invitational 3YO+ 1 1/2 Miles on the Widener turf
#4 Flintshire 1/5
#1 Ectot 8/1
Not much to say here. #4 Flintshire should win and the only thing that could possibly hinder him is the softer ground. The rumors were that the main reason he came to the US was because he preferred firmer ground, but keep in mind that what we deem soft turf and what Europeans deem soft turf are two different things.
Race 7 – The G2 Gallant Bloom Handicap 3YO+ F&M 6 1/2 Furlongs on the dirt
#5 Momameamaria 15/1
#4 Paulassilverlining 3/1
#7 Wonder Gal 5/2
Everyone is talking about the pace scenario in this race and while it looks like there are horses that are fast early, #5 Momameamaria is the one that is fastest early and will have the lead. In her last race, the pace absolutely collapsed and allowed Wavell Avenue to come from the back of the pack and win going away. Momameamaria was the only horse to stay on from the pace setters. Now she gets a slight cutback to 6.5 furlongs off a short freshening and I love the confidence Cannizzo is showing with her. Look, she ultimately may not be good enough, but she is going to be completely overlooked with the top 3 choices taking all of the play and is worth the flyer. #4 Paulassilverlining is the filly to beat in my mind and has the perfect tactical style for a race like this. She will be the one to take advantage of any pace scenario and she runs her race every single time. #6 Wonder Gal has been a favorite of mine since she was a two year old. I want to see her run well in here, but she has always shown to be a bounce candidate after running a good race and after that career best effort last time, she may certainly regress.
Key stat on #6 Wavell Avenue: I have felt that the G1 Madison was such a strong race that it ended up taking the starch out of the fillies that ran very well in there. I think my opinion has been validated this year with the top two finishers having been retired already and in subsequent races, the fillies and mares from that race are only 3/30. Wavell Avenue does have one of those victories, but, while I have always been a fan, I think she is a bet against going forward in graded stakes, especially if she is the favorite.
Race 8 – The G3 Pilgrim 2YOs 1 1/16 Miles on the Inner turf
#8 Oiseau de Guerre 7/2
#6 Oscar Performance 2/1
#2 J.S. Choice 4/1
#8 Oiseau de Guerre moved very early on the turn into a fast pace and was just caught at the wire by a big longshot in his career debut. He was bet down below even money that day, so the connections must think very highly of this one. Chad shows his confidence by entering the maiden in a G3. With a slightly more patient ride he would have won last time and I think he will get another perfect trip. #6 Oscar Performance was so impressive breaking his maiden against 2 next out winners. If he duplicates that performance, he is your winner. #2 J.S. Choice showed a lot more speed in his second start and was able to sit a perfect trip. He took advantage of that trip and won going away. He is another that could improve and sit a nice trip and get the victory.
Race 9 – The G1 Vosburgh Invitational 3YO+ 6 Furlongs on the dirt
#3 Joking 8/1
#7 Stallwalkin’ Dude 8/1
#2 Holy Boss 4/1
#3 Joking loves a wet track and should get a very nice setup here. Green Gratto and XY Jet will be burning it up on the lead and that should be enough to get Joking home at a very nice price. #7 Stallwalkin’ Dude is another with a huge shot. He loves a wet surface and is a bit more tactical than Joking so if the pace is not so hot up front, he will be able to get the jump on him and potentially outfinish him. #2 Holy Boss has always been a cut below the best sprinters and I think he will be able to hang on for a piece in here.
Race 10 – The G1 Beldame Invitational 3YO+ F&M 1 1/8 Miles on the dirt
#2 Forever Unbridled 1/1
#1 Tiger Ride 15/1
#2 Forever Unbridled really does lay over the field. I think she is a very nice filly and though she may be a cut below the top older females, she did not draw the toughest competition for a G1 race and she should get the job done. She has the tactical speed to sit a good trip and though she has never been on a track with moisture in it, she is bred very well and it should not pose a problem. To round out the exacta, I will try to get the price #1 Tiger Ride in the mix. She is a very consistent type and moved a touch early last time to get caught in the stretch.
Race 11 – Maiden Special Weight 2YOs 1 Mile on the Widener turf
#4 Jo’s Bold Cat 1/1
#1 Undercover Agent 6/1
#8 Say It Aint Frosty 12/1
I looked to try to beat the fave, but I don’t really know where else to go. #4 Jo’s Bold Cat did disappoint as the favorite last time and will be a short price in here, but I think this mile distance suits him very well. He should be up close to the lead without any other that look like real pace setters. If he is able to settle on the lead and have things his own way, he will be tough to beat. #1 Undercover Agent is a first time starter for Hushion, who does very good work with firsters. He has been breezing very consistently and though they aren’t fast, I like to see first timers have a long string of steady breezes under their belts. #8 Say It Aint Frosty will go out second time for Barclay Tagg, who moves horses up in second starts. Though he doesn’t have great numbers going dirt to turf, I still prefer him over the others.
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