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Friday, June 01, 2007

Belmont Saturday

- I'm being forced to not only go to the beach on Saturday, but with the Head Chef on strike in the midst of a grueling stretch of work, I'm in charge of preparing the food and drink.

Nonetheless, here's a few thoughts on the races at Belmont (and it seems that the feared rain will not materialize).

- A nice little field of six in the third. Tight Grip is the 9-5 morning line favorite for Frankel off his nose loss at Keeneland to Markdale, subsequently second in a restricted Woodbine stakes. He was at least three wide the entire race, and was green making his debut, ducking in, and then out during the stretch run. I was going to pick against him; Frankel is one for eight, and has lost with three horses at even money or less. And he's going from Poly to Belmont. But I find him difficult to oppose off that effort, just getting nailed on the Keeneland Poly after turning for home with the lead.

Hedge Fund has been burning money for Shug; he cuts back to a sprint and could complete a short exacta. A couple of entries from hot barns to keep an eye on. It wasn't long ago I was writing that Pletcher was off to a slow start; well, three for 16 is slow for him. Since then, the Toddster is eight for 20, a cool 40%. Garifine was a $1.8 million two-year old last March, and didn't make it to the races until last month. He showed speed, but quit badly in the slop at 9-2, so who knows on a dry track? Kiaran McLaughlin is 13 for 41, and has been in the money with each of his last seven starters, three of those winners. Watch the board on Darley's Cadet Blue (10-1 ML); Garcia rides, he has a couple of nice works, and Mr. Greeley is a 12% first-out sire.

In the 5th, Brickell obviously loves the grass at Belmont, though that 7-3-3-1 record you see for Belmont turf in the Form was achieved mostly on the inner turf course. This is on the Widener, but so was his last, his first on this course, when he woke up and rallied from 10th at 27-1 for Bob Klesaris. Nice post here, and the possibility of some pace too. Noah A. had a nice return off a long layoff, and will be happy to stalk whatever speed there is.

In the 6th, Manhattan Mack steps up to allowance company after a determined rally to win after cutting back to six furlongs from routes. That was just a couple of weeks ago, but a five furlong workout just two days ago indicates that he's ready to roll. I like him at his 6-1 morning line over the three horses coming out of the May 12 race at Belmont; Win for Gold, Bagavond, and the ridiculously named Bruce Tickets had every chance to catch the tiring Cat's Lad and couldn't get the job done.

I think that the 5-2 morning line on Ice Cool Kitty in the 7th may be a generous one. This Dutrow trainee has romped twice since being stretched out to the one turn mile, and earned a gaudy figure while wiring four rivals on May 4; whatsmore, she pickes up Prado. But here's a wacky idea - how about 20-1 Carlow? Her last was awful around two turns at Suffolk, but note that late last year, she followed up a poor two-turn race with a win and a decent figure in a one turn mile at Laurel. Last year, she was competitive in these state-bred stakes on this track, including a close third at this mile distance. Excellent work the other day; could be ready to roll in her third off a layoff for Karl Grusmark.

And I love Rutherienne in the tough Grade 3 Sands Point Stakes. Her only loss in her four starts was a wide 4th, beaten only 1 1/2 lengths by Audacious Chloe, in the Appalachian, a race that has already produced four next out stakes winners! It's true, you can look it up - Red Birkin, Swingit, Miss Tizzynow, and Rutherienne herself, having come back to win the Sugar Plum Time here at Belmont. This turf-loving daughter of Pulpit has been a good thing from the start for Clement, six for 20 at the meeting, 15 of those in the money. She was well-bet in her debut, and when successfully moved directly into stakes company in her second start. Classic Neel comes into this from the same Appalachian Stakes, and actually beat Rutherienne, finishing second. But she benefited from an inside trip; according to Trakus, Rutherienne traveled 35 more feet. Have fun everyone, and have a great day.


Jim L said...


The Sands Point ---- what a thrilling stretch run by the top two!

Idaho Bet said...


I had $10.00 on the nose on Brickell when he won at 27-1...wish I'd wagered more that day.

I put $50.00 on the nose last out... ouch, and I had a $25.00 Exacta Box between Noah A. and Brickell - guess I picked the wrong key horse for that win ticket!