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Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Belmont Notes - June 22

- Paul Moran in Newsday wrote this morning of today’s all-too-typical card at Belmont, noting the short fields in the dirt races.

Short fields have become the rule rather than the exception at Belmont, a disquieting trend.

Appears that the only sure way to come up with something close to a full field is to put up a maiden race on grass, then put the overflow to use in a second inscrutable and unbettable heat.

This tack results in two fields of nine maiden fillies and mares, the fourth and sixth races at 9 furlongs on the inner turf course, facing pick-six players, many of whom will pass on a stab at the one-day carryover. The first division demands a deep spread and the second has two principal contenders and a first-time starter who may be capable of a debut win over an unimposing group.
Expect the status to remain quo until the shift to Saratoga late next month. [Newsday]
The two races actually turned out to be pretty formful, but they also showed the difficulty I have selecting for multi-race wagers without getting to see the betting pools for the individual races. In the 4th, the top three betting choices finished 1-2-3 in order of public preference with Cologne getting the win for the Phipps barn and Shug McGaughey. He was 7-2 second choice in the morning line in his first try on the turf, but he took the money at 9-5 and gave Elbar Coa his third of four winners on the day. Coa is riding in excellent form. Cologne is by the South African champ Horse Chestnut, out of an unraced Mr. Prospector daughter of the Phipps’ multiple Grade 1 winner Versailles Treaty; this is the family of General Assembly and Chief Honcho.

In the 6th, the capable first time starter Moran mentioned, Glorious Girl, was 6-1 in the morning line. She has a flashy turf pedigree - Kris S. out of a Danzig half sister to Dynaformer - and hot trainer Christophe Clement. But she was totally dead on the board, at 10.80 to 1. Man, a horse like that to me just has no shot; it’s amongst the surest throwouts at the track. At 6-1 morning line, she could have gone either way in the odds; at 3-1, she could have been a standout in my opinion! If you spread the race for a Pick 3, you almost have to throw her in, but it turned out to be a wasted bet.

The 4-5 winner, Anura, was another well-bet one for Michael Dickinson; according to Russ Harris in the NY Daily News, he was 3-for-6 with shippers at this meeting coming into this race. She’s another one bred for the turf; an Irish-bred by Giant’s Causeway, out of a mare by two-time Arc d’Triomphe winner Alleged.

- Hey, a bit over 4,000 on a shaky weather Wednesday at Belmont - maybe this game is finally catching on!