Free Picks & Analysis — Who Do Ya Like?
Friday, September 9, 2016
On Friday, we’re headed out to Belmont. We’re thrilled to welcome back our friend and returning guest handicapper Mark DiLorenzo Jr. (@MarkDiloJr) with FREE PICKS & ANALYSIS for the entire card.
Mark is our lead New York circuit and Gulfstream handicapper. Mark is a great guy and an extremely knowledgeable horseplayer. We encourage you to follow Mark on Twitter, when you get a chance.
Take it away, Mark…
Race 1: 1 / 7,2
On Top: #1 Glennevan 4-1: Of the two Jacobson runners in here I like #1 Glennevan. D Wayne Lukas had this 4yo gelding running route races and I never felt that going long was this one’s style. Today Jacobson will improve this one on the sheets, cut back, and win the opener.
Underneath: If Jacobson scratches #1 Glennevan I’ll move his other runner up on my tickets as #7 Tree Top Lover ran a nice race on August 17th, dueling near the front end on a closer friendly Saratoga track. #2 Chomsky will be on my early pick 5 tickets too, as he beat a few of these last time out, but will offer no value in a race filled with horses who are just as fast.
Race 2: 6 / 8
On Top: #6 Lure of the South 10-1: This 7yo gelding is going third time off the bench, and last time out I’m drawing a line through his effort. The day of his last race was the day at Saratoga the weather got so bad they needed to cancel racing. That 4th race that day was the last one run on the turf, and was on a turf course that should be categorized softer than good. Though it wasn’t a great effort, it was a small improvement on the sheets and in today’s 2nd his numbers fit very well at a very nice price.
Underneath: I’ll be playing a cold exacta in this race with #8 WInter Springs on the bottom. This Raymond Handal trainee is going second time out for this barn, and I don’t think he can run faster, or get a better trip, than he did last time out. He is still a main contender but I look for him to just miss at too short of a price.
Race 3: 2 / 1,5
On Top: #2 Viva Majorca 10-1: I see some value here. This 5yo gelding doesn’t have an affinity for winning, but in this field vs “classy” horses that are either coming off big layoffs or have some question marks Viva Majorca fits. A one turn mile is a perfect race for his running style, if he fires. He was vs some monster sprinters last time out, two back you can toss as it was on the turf, and the others in here are just as fast as him. Also this horse like to plod and close, and that could be to his advantage with 3 speed horses signed on.
Underneath: #1 Ocean Knight 8/5: Logical contender. Could Have been a force as a 3yo but injuries always got in his way. Paired his top last time out and could move forward and that would make him an easy winner. #5 Toledo Eddie had a brutal start last time out and willing to toss. His sheet numbers in the spring can easily win this race too.
Tossing: #3 Protonico and #4 Juba. Protonico has that Todd Pletcher spaced works that I stay up away from. This one might not be healthy. I have seen Juba fade late too many times. And now he goes back to running a mile?
Race 4: 7 / 6,3
On Top: #7 Fled 20-1: This one has very nice win early dirt pedigree. And when they entered him on turf I was confused. He has nice dirt pedigree as his Great Dam won 300k as a 2yo on the dirt, Miss Atlantic City. Bad start in initial start, should improve and be a nice price.
Underneath: #6 Mission Commander ran 3 lengths behind one of the top 2yo’s in the county in his initial start. Repeat of that effort he wins but 3/5 is too short in this race. #3 Dab is another that ran behind one of the top 2yo’s at Saratoga this meet and should improve 2nd time out. Problem is he did set a soft pace and folded down the lane.
Race 5: 9 / 5,2
On Top: #9 Decent 5-1: I was very impressed with this 4yo geldings effort on March 27th at Gulfstream. He set a very quick tempo early and just missed vs a decent field of turf sprinters. After a 4 month layoff he again just missed on a good turf course. He will get firm footing today, will get onto the lead and should have no problem winning at 6 furlongs at Belmont, like he did on May 31st 2015.
Underneath: #5 End Play 8-1: Is another that should sit near the front end and is just as fast as a lot of these to clear. Three back he made a new career top making a 5 put move. He stretched out and regressed off that effort, so toss two back, and last time paired up his top in a move I loved. This one is dangerous at a price. I’ll also you #2 Lord of Love underneath in exotics as this one doesn’t like to win, but will be closing, and if #9 and #5 lock up early, he could pass them late.
Race 6: 7 / 5
On Top: #7 Nick Can Fix 5-1: Of the three horses coming out of the August 8th race, I like this one the most. Off a layoff he started slow and closed into a slow pace. #2 Basic Hero cut off #4 Mighty Moses, but Might Moses wasn’t winning anyway. Nick Can Fix should improve second time off the bench and win here.
Underneath: #5 Dark as Midnight has much more dirt pedigree. I wondered why they put him on turf at Saratoga? His first race in March he ran a 7 on the sheets, and an effort like that , wins here today at a decent price. #2 Basic Hero is a contender, but before betting her at 9/5 today remember that she sat alone on the lead, going modest fractions last time out and still got passed. Is a must use as maybe she needed one, and will be more geared down today.
Race 7: 2 / 9,8
On Top: #2 Manoffire 15-1: I have as a playback, but I don’t know this trainer too well. His last race I was at the track where I saw him make a very nice close into modest fractions, get bottled up behind horses, and make a very nice move down lane. He was never beating Asset Inflation that day, and I remember that race easily because he was in the 2 hole and there was a problem at the gate with an outside horse, and Manoffire sat in the gate for literally 4 minutes.
Underneath: #9 Whiskey Seven 5/2: Is a talented Linda Rice 3yo turfer. His right distance is 6 furlongs, so I suspect that’s why he didn’t show up in Saratoga going five and a half. He is dangerous, but will be a short price. #8 The Crocheron Kid gets back to preferred distance. Last time when he went one turn he ran a nice race closing into modest fractions.
Race 8: 5 / 8,9
On Top: #5 Ava’s Kitten 5/2: Will be the deserving favorite in today’s feature. She ran a nice new top vs better horses on August 20th. Does Chad brown start right where he left off at Saratoga? You would think so, but I’m betting against some of his horses early this Belmont meet, but not this one.
Underneath: The two horses on the outside that have never run on turf before, BOTH have very nice turf pedigree. #8 Malibu Stacy is a full sibling to Coasted, who won a turf stakes at Saratoga this summer, and #9 Ultra Brat is a half sibling to Its Tea Time, who won the G3 Lake Placid at Saratoga. Both could be monster turf horses and will use.
Race 9: 10 / 11,5
On Top: #10 Schout Bay 8-1: This 3yo gelding has nice turf pedigree. His dam was a half to War Dancer, who was a warrior on the turf back in 2013 and 2014. Last time out he wasn’t ready to fire, and after getting squeezed hard out of the gate, never had a chance. Gets a nice outside post for this turf sprint
Underneath: #11 Alexander David 10-1: Is another one that has nice turf pedigree, as his dam was a turf stakes winner at Monmouth. #5 Heavenly Sun gets back to his preferred surface after not being able to catch the Saratoga grass. A sheet number back to his numbers in Maiden Special Weights this spring make him a logical contender.
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