Free Picks & Analysis — Who Do Ya Like?
Thursday, June 2, 2016
On Thursday, we’re headed back out to Belmont where we’ve got FREE PICKS & ANALYSIS from returning handicapper Greg Smethurst (@gsmethur).
Greg has provided us with his top three selections for each race, multi-race suggestions and Best Bet/Longshot plays of the day. We’re looking forward to it and wish you luck if you’re playing along.
Be sure to give Greg a follow on Twitter when you get a chance. Take it away, Greg…
BEST BET OF THE DAY: RACE 6 #2 GIRL TALK 9/5 MLLIVE LONGSHOT OF THE DAY: RACE 4 #6 SECURE ACCESS 10/1 MLSUGGESTED $0.50 EARLY PK5 PLAY: 3,5,7/7/4,6/2,5,6,7,8,11/1 = $18 BETRace 1:#3 Put It Forward 3/1#7 U S Citizen 2/1#5 D’cajun Cat 5/1Put It Forward comes in off an 11-month layoff which is the main concern with him. That concern can be outweighed by the fact trainer Danny Gargan is 2 for 4 of late with a $7.28 ROI on horses coming back off a 180+ day layoff. He is also 28% with horses starting first off the claim with him and a 30% trainer overall in 2016. Think the cutback to 6F will really help him as he has a good amount of speed but has tired late in his last two outings. Also love the fact that his career best Beyer (91) came over this very BEL turf course. U S Citizen ships in from California and the main concern here is whether this horse is just best at Santa Anita or if he can carry that form to NY. He has some speed as displayed in his latest race and like the fact Jose Ortiz is called on to ride. He is a great jockey all around but think he is best with horses on turf who have early speed. D’cajun Cat looks like the wildcard coming in from some lesser tracks but competing with some of the better horses at those respective facilities. He is a deep closer and cannot get himself too far out of it early. If he can stay within a decent margin behind the leaders look for him to be rolling late.Race 2:#7 Rare Eagle 8/5#2 Humboldt N Frost 2/1#5 Big East 5/1Rare Eagle will be the pick in a field of $16k claimers loaded with question marks. He has had trouble stringing starts together as of late but see it as a positive that he is coming back in this spot about three weeks after his last race. There looks to be a good amount of speed in here as well as a few horses adding blinkers looking to show even more speed. If he is right and can put up anywhere near the figures he was putting up last year he should blow right by these horses down the stretch late. Humboldt N Frost is one of the horses adding blinkers possibly to keep him more focused late as he already has been showing a decent amount of early speed. He drops to the lowest level of his career but the main concern is how many times he has gotten the lead and not been able to hold onto it late. Don’t see him getting an easy lead here today and am only picking him second because of the class drop and how bad the rest of the field is. Big East will be the pick to round out the trifecta based on the assumption he will improve in his second start facing winners. Looking for him to get the kind of trip he got on 2/11 at AQU rating off the speeds and making a late run. The main concern with him is the fact all four of his exacta finishes were over the AQU inner.Race 3:
#6 Sly Tom 8/5#4 Shkspeare Shaliyah 4/1#3 Balderdash 15/1Sly Tom most likely needed his last race on 4/28 at Keeneland after having the winter off. He didn’t run too poorly and it was over soft turf which it seems he doesn’t like as much as the firmer ground. He is a deep closer and there doesn’t appear to be much speed on paper here but really like the fact a nice aggressive rider in Luis Saez is back on him today. The fact that this is only a 1 1/16 mile race may allow him to sit closer to the lead than he normally would at longer distances which he is proven over. A routine improvement over the 81 Beyer he got last out would make him tough to beat here. He also looks to have a liking for the BEL turf course scoring his career best Beyer (91) over it as well as a 3-1-0-1 record. Shkspeare Shaliyah also probably needed his first start after the long winter off. He stays at this same level where he closed to be a nice third last time out. He too may benefit from being a little closer to the pace today after maybe a little questionable of a ride in his latest. He looks like the main rival to the top choice and is just 2 for 33 lifetime but guess where those two wins came? Yes, the BEL turf course. Balderdash is reported as a first time gelding today and may be the lone speed in this race. He may be able to put them to sleep on the front end and hold on late for a share underneath in the exotics. In his past he has needed one off the layoff and then improved following that but still could be good enough to get a piece at a nice price today.Race 4:#6 Secure Access 10/1#11 Width6/1#1 She Doesn’t Mind (Fr) 5/2Secure Access entered her last race off a 5-month layoff and a case can be made she will take a big step forward today with that layoff behind her. She does lose her winning jockey to another horse in here but Jose Ortiz is a more than capable replacement. Feel like we have not seen the best of her yet as she is only a 3-year old and by the great turf sire Kitten’s Joy and has Giant’s Causeway on the dam side. Width will likely try and see how far she can take them on the front end today. Joel Rosario has been proving lately why he is one of the best turf riders in NY and teams up with Christophe Clement here. Like the fact that she got some stamina in her last race going a career long distance and now cuts back a little bit while making her third start off the layoff. She Doesn’t Mind (Fr) makes her second start in North America for the ever dangerous Chad Brown/Javier Castellano duo (29% winning combo at the meet). Think she will really improve now that she knows what racing here is all about. She was really up against it last time trying to close into an extremely slow pace at Keeneland. This race looks to set up a lot better for her today.Race 5:#1a Roll Tide Roll 3/5#7 Grey Glory 6/1#5 Wild Freud 15/1Roll Tide Roll will force us to eat a little chalk here as he will most likely go off as the HEAVY favorite. His Beyer numbers really tower over this field and he also most likely needed his last off the pretty long layoff. He looks like the lone potential speed in here and at 6.5F that can be pretty dangerous. Todd Pletcher excels with horses second off a 180+ layoff winning at a 30% rate. Grey Glory adds the blinkers for the first time today possibly looking to show some of the early foot he had in January in FL. He lost to a few of these rivals on 5/7 but the muddy track did him no favors that day. Stepping down in class to $25k claimers as well as going the half furlong less with benefit him too. Wild Freud hasn’t been seen since April of 2015 but does have the best last race speed figure in here. He comes back as a first time gelding and may spice up the exotics at a nice little number.SUGGESTED $0.50 LATE PK4 PLAY: 2/2,4,5,6,8,10,12/5,7/1,7,8,12 = $28 BETRace 6:#2 Girl Talk 9/5#7 Linda Mimi 6/1#5 Chase Motto 4/1Girl Talk didn’t get the job done in her debut but she was still quite visually impressive coming in third. She was a $390k purchase in 2014 and breezed a bullet 47 flat workout this past Sunday over the BEL main track. The most intriguing part is the fact Johnny V takes the call on her after riding two other main contenders here in their last starts. She looks VERY live. Linda Mimi might not attract the wagering attention that some of the other big name connection horses will but don’t sell her too short. Thought her last was very impressive while facing elders and also improving 21 points on the Beyer scale from her debut. Think she will love the stretch-out today and improve that number even more. Chase Motto was a $250k purchase last March and it took her awhile to get to the races. Like the fact she showed speed in the debut and rightfully got tired late going a mile. She now has some stamina built up and may be able to lead them for even longer, just don’t think she is good enough yet to hold off the closers.Race 7:#12 Speeding Comet 5/1#5 Saratoga Dreamer 6/1#4 Zandar 12/1Speeding Comet will be the slight choice in a race that looks really wide open with a lot of talented horses. He is the only runner in the field who has met the Beyer par of what it usually takes to win a race like this (96). He has never been out of the trifecta on the BEL turf course (6-2-2-2 record, 97 top Beyer). He looks like a horse that can win from anywhere in the field but would be best with a stalking trip from that outside post. Luis Saez is just 9% at the current meet but is way too good of a jockey, especially on turf to be kept down for long. Also, look for an improvement this being his second race off about a 7-month layoff. Saratoga Dreamer gets his last win rider back in Joel Rosario who will most likely give him a nice aggressive ride similar to the wire to wire score on 8/21 at Saratoga. He is another who has shown the ability to do well from anywhere in the field with wins both on the lead and closing from mid-pack. His best races to date have actually come off the layoff so maybe he just enjoys a break in between races. That should suit him well today as well as the fact he was a NY-bred stakes winner last year so he does have class. Zandar looks like a horse who is best between 6F and one mile. Anything more or less than that has resulted in some less than par efforts for him. Trainer Tom Morley has done quite well with some of his turf horses at the current meet and also wins with 17% of his starters off 180+ day layoffs ($7.89 ROI). Look for him to be coming late if the pace heats up in front of him.Race 8:#5 Yeager 5/1#7 Beyond the Green 3/1#6 Readthebyline 7/2Yeager would most certainly benefit from a very hot pace which is quite likely today. Many of these runners will have their visions set on the lead and this horse can rally from well out of it. His race on 3/19 at AQU is a perfect example of this. That race also happens to be his only race on fast dirt, resulting in a career best 89 Beyer at this level. Beyond the Green should also be rolling late. He most likely just didn’t like the muddy surface in his latest and his last few efforts before that were just fine. He has been racing competitively at this level and has a 5-2-3-0 record at the one mile distance. Readthebyline steps up in class from the $25k claiming ranks where he has wired fields in back to back starts. Definitely don’t think it will be that easy on the lead today but he does have a nice BEL main track record with that freak 109 Beyer that sticks off the page.Race 9:#8 Caldera 7/2#7 Just Been Jammin 8/1#1 Market Strength 2/1Caldera made a slight rally while trying to close into a very slow pace on 5/7 over this course. The winner of that race won wire to wire and it would be in his best interest to try and not get himself too far out of it early. Have to like the fact that Jose Ortiz gets back on while he takes the biggest drop in racing like many of these in here are. He also holds the best turf Beyer in the field (83). Just Been Jammin has not been able to string races together as of yet in his career but gets a big rider upgrade here to Joel Rosario. He was near the lead in his first try at this $75k maiden claiming level before tiring late. Hopefully he can take his speed a little further today with his longest career race distance wise behind him. Market Strength with most likely be your post time favorite based on the Chad Brown/Irad Ortiz Jr. connections. He will most likely get a nice ground saving trip from that inside post and try to rally late with his new blinkers. Chad Brown wins at 50% (12 for 24) with horses going from MSW to maiden claimers with a $3.04 ROI. That stat alone makes him a very dangerous horse in here.