Free Picks & Analysis — Who Do Ya Like?
Thursday, May 19, 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 8 #7 VICKI’S DANCER 5/2
LIVE LONGSHOT OF THE DAY: RACE 3 #6 TREE SHAKER 15/1
SUGGESTED $0.50 EARLY PK5: 3,4/2,3/3,5,6/2,3,11/5,9 = $36 TOTAL BET
#3 Honor River 3/1
#4 Fuhrlong 8/5
#5 Star Empire (GB) 5/2
Honor River will be the second foal of the great To Honor and Serve to make it to the races (the first won his debut earlier this month at Turf Paradise). He was a $195k purchase at Keeneland last fall and appears to have been training well heading into his debut. Trainer Mark Casse just won this same type of race with impressive first time starter Tale of Two, so you know he is capable. Fuhrlong is the most experienced starter in the field having placed second in both his starts to date (made $40k doing so). He has been on or close to the lead in both of those starts through some blistering fractions. He will most likely try and take this field as far as he can. Star Empire (GB) goes out first time for trainer Wesley Ward. There is probably no more dangerous trainer under these circumstances in the country right now. In the last 5 years he is 36 for 161 (22%) with 2YO first time starters on dirt at <1 mile.
#2 Hunt’s Road 2/1
#3 Readthebyline 6/5
#5 Wildniteattheopera 8/1
Hunt’s Road makes his first start for new trainer Rudy Rodriguez today. He is roughly a 30% win trainer with horses coming in 1st off the claim which is the scenario here. This horse made four starts in about an eight week period over the winter at AQU. Really like that Rudy gave him a bit of a break and has had a good training regimen coming into this race. He looks to sit the perfect stalking trip just in behind a speed duel ahead of him. Readthebyline is definitely the most accomplished runner in this field having earned over $500k lifetime. It must also be noted his 14-2-3-4 record at Belmont which is also where he set a career top Beyer of 109. However, he may not be the same horse he used to be at age 7 now and he will have to face some other speed in here. That other speed may come in the form of Wildniteattheopera. This horse gets a new confidence level when he is able to get to the front in any given race. Just don’t see him having what it takes to stay with the top two when it comes down to crunch time in the lane.
#6 Tree Shaker 15/1
#3 The Great Whiteway 5/1
#5 Prospectus 3/5
Tree Shaker will need a career top effort to beat this field but today could be his day. If you look at his two wins he has gotten very good stalking trips where he is just a few lengths off of the lead turning for home. In pretty much every other race he is just either too far out of it, is racing at the wrong distance, or has just been facing better horses. In the allowance race on 2/29 at Parx he was third behind Abiding Star (probable for the Preakness on Saturday) and Saratoga Mischief (graded stakes placed). He was not disgraced that day and has some class/back races that make him playable at 15/1 on the ML. The Great Whiteway has a nice little 10-4-3-0 record to start his career. The concern with him is the slow paces he has been able to set in some of his wire-to-wire scores. Don’t see him getting that easy lead today but has shown the ability to rate and is a great horse to use in some exotics wagers. Prospectus will be a very heavy favorite in this race for Todd Pletcher and Javier Castellano. They thought enough of him to nominate him for the Triple Crown, but he has not panned out like they’ve planned so far. Seems like they are kind of giving up on him today dropping him in for $40k. He does have some nice company lines on his PPs (Sharp Azteca, Zulu) but not the kind of horse you take at 3/5 with some other viable options in here.
#11 End Play 6/1
#2 Liam’s Prince 3/1
#3 Tracking Stock 5/2
End Play drops back down into the maiden claiming ranks and this may be just what he needs. His last and only race at this level was by far his best race to date. The jockey that day was Luis Saez, who also takes the call today. Also love the fact he has speed and is turning back in distance to 7F. Look for him to be aggressive today and take them all the way around the track. Liam’s Prince is an 0 for 9 maiden who takes the biggest drop in racing for the first time which is about a 30% angle for trainer Joe Sharp. He has a nice set of evenly spaced drills since coming up from Fair Grounds and does look very live in this spot. Tracking Stock will most likely be your post time favorite based on the Chad Brown money that will come in on him. The December layoff should be no problem with these connections and should definitely be included on all tickets.
#5 Outzap 2/1
#9 Don’t Blame Her 5/1
#8 Oaks (Brz) 3/1
Outzap looks like the class of this race in a field full of horses dropping, some of them pretty questionable. She makes just her fourth career start and is only a 3YO so there may still be some potential here in her future. She has taken some big steps forward in each race so far and any improvement from her last race will make her very tough to beat here. Don’t Blame Her makes her second start off nearly a full year layoff. She showed speed in the first start back and got tired late to finish second. Look for some improved stamina today as she may be able to stick around a little longer than last time back at 6F again. Oaks (Brz) is one of those aforementioned horses taking a suspicious drop in class. She was claimed for $40k last June and hasn’t been seen since that day. She now shows up for a $16k tag today but does have some of the best Beyer figures in the field. With all that in mind, unsure what to expect from her today.
SUGGESTED $0.50 LATE PK4: 1,3,4/4,8,9,10,12/7/1,5,7 = $22.50 TOTAL BET
#3 Ganador 5/1
#4 Bluegrass Prevails 9/5
#1 Love That Jazz 7/5
Ganador will most likely benefit from turning back to 6F after he made a nice middle move in the last effort before tiring very late. Today, look for an effort similar to the run he made on 4/9 at AQU. He lost to a runaway winner in Spooked Out who no one was beating that day with the easy pace he was allowed to set in there. There should definitely be a speed duel in here while he sits just off the pace and makes one run in the stretch. Bluegrass Prevails won a starter allowance by nine lengths on 3/25 then ran too good to lose in his last on 4/15. His Beyer took a significant hit (85 to 73) but if you watch that replay he was pressured throughout and set some fast fractions for a 7F race. He put away the horse he was dueling with before just getting nailed on the wire. Another solid effort is expected today but he will definitely not be getting any breaks on the front end. The horse that looks to be pressuring him throughout is Love That Jazz. He was very good as a 2YO but comes in off almost a 6-month layoff. Found an interesting Formulator stat on trainer Charlton Baker. He is 1 for 10 ($0.43 ROI) on dirt with horses coming in off a 61-180 day layoff who are also making their first start with him in the last 5 years.
#4 Dark Roast 12/1
#9 Ocala Jim 5/1
#8 Brother O’Connell 10/1
Dark Roast probably needed that start on 5/4 off the long layoff and was still not disgraced at all. He ran a credible fourth and got an 82 Beyer for that effort. Look for him to improve on that today and jockey Eric Cancel is more than capable of taking this horse wire-to-wire on the front end in here. Ocala Jim is another who ran very well off a winter layoff to win on 4/22 over the AQU turf course. He will also most likely improve off of that effort. You must note his 13-4-1-0 Belmont record and the fact he has strung wins together before. Brother O’Connell sat the absolute perfect trip last time out winning an allowance over this same turf course. He most likely won’t be that close to the lead today and will have to close from probably the middle of the pack. Look for him to get up underneath in the exotics. Tom Morley is a very good, underrated turf trainer.
#7 Vicki’s Dancer 5/2
#2 Lakeside Sunset 3/1
#3 Tahoe Tigress 5/1
Vicki’s Dancer was most likely just in over her head last time on her least preferred surface and facing the likes of Lady Shipman in stakes company. Since being claimed by Gary Gullo she has ran two straight Beyers in the eighties, which most likely would be enough to win this race today. She also looks like the controlling speed on the front end and could prove very tough to catch in the lane. Lakeside Sunset was the beaten chalk twice in a row last fall before going on her current layoff. She should be up close in this field and find herself in a good spot if she is good enough. She looks to have been training well but Castellano does decide to ride elsewhere in this spot which is interesting, mixed signals. Tahoe Tigress is the horse he decides to take the mount on instead. Solely throwing her into the exotics mix because of that reason. Her best days on paper appear to be behind her but then again she does drop back in to face NY-breds and may be another Belmont horse for the course (12-5-2-0 record here).
#5 Just the Zip 5/1
#7 Completely Bonkers 7/2
#1 Dreamaker 5/2
Just the Zip has a few key angles in his favor today. He is making the drop from MSW to maiden claiming today as well as adding blinkers for the first time. His best race to date has come over the turf (72 Beyer) and now gets the best jockey he had ever had aboard him, watch out. Completely Bonkers goes out for the always dangerous Linda Rice/Cornelio Velasquez duo. He made a very nice run over this Belmont turf course on 11/1 and a repeat of that effort would put him right there on the wire today. Dreamaker will most likely be favored here but looks like a wildcard on paper. He ships in from Canada for Mark Casse and will make his first start on turf. His sire Eskendreya wins with only 7% of his starters first time on turf. Not the kind of stat you want to see for a favorite in a maiden race. Maybe this one will be better in the future with this race behind him.
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