RSS Feed for this Blog

Friday, June 08, 2007

Let's Get Started

- Let's start going through the Belmont day card. I'll get to as many races as I can, in no particular order, between now and, say, around 10 AM Saturday morning when I start to get ready to go.

Is anyone else concerned about Wait a While? She doesn't seem quite the same to me since her dazzling win against older horses in the Yellow Ribbon last September. She disappointed in the Breeders Cup (though victimized by a wide trip and beaten by Ouija Board); won the Honey Fox with an underwhelming performance, and ran 5th on the Poly at Keeneland. Her Beyers have dropped from the 109 in the Yellow Ribbon, to 100-102-88.

Though her fifth place finish in the Jenny Wiley was on the Polytrack, I was still very disappointed in the performance. As I've said before, I've found the form on the turf and the Poly there to be extremely transferable, and I was expecting her to run well. And, as Kellie Reilly wrote on, she had turned in a bullet half-mile in :46 on the Polytrack on April 8, so it wasn't immediately obvious that she would fail to cope in the race itself.

She looks to be a huge favorite in the Just A Game, but it's Belmont day, and by the 7th race it's likely I'll have had enough bourbon to feel adventurous and perhaps have some fun with a small wager against her. My Typhoon seems the obvious alternative after winning the Jenny Wiley; and Mauralakana will get support for Biancone/Leparoux off an easy win against a moderate allowance field. But I'm looking at Miss Shop for Allan Jerkens. The Chief scored with 24-1 Ecclesiastic last weekend, and ran second in the Met Mile with Political Force at the same price. This filly is a bit hard to figure, both in terms of which surface she prefers, and how she'll run on any particular day. She's in and out, and her last was out, though on a soft turf she may not prefer. I think this 15-1 morning line shot could put in a big race switching to C Velasquez (25% for this barn), and maybe at least complete a decent exacta with the favorite on top. Take the Ribbon has a hot trainer in Wallace Dollase, and her four works since an all out win in a return off a layoff signals another possible big effort.

- The fifth is the Foresta Stakes, one of those stakes for non-stakes winners. A True Pussycat ran second in a Grade 3 at Pimlico in her last race. She had to check behind a wall of horses for a bit on the turn, and rallied nicely between horses. That she couldn't quite catch Frankel's talented Precious Kitten is no disgrace at all. That was Garcia's first time aboard, and he's back, again with a good post. Meribel is the morning line favorite. She had a dream trip, saving ground and closing from fifth and last in another restricted stakes, but may encounter more traffic here in a larger field. Flow Chart tries stakes company for Biancone/Leparoux after two highly impressive closes in allowance races, both wins. He's come home the last three furlongs in 34 3/5 and 35 flat in those races. Criminologist is on the improve for Shug, always a dangerous situation.

- The second race is a competitive maiden affair on the grass; but if Pletcher takes the Hill Prince with Distorted Reality on Friday, he has a shot at six in a row here with Prom Party. This half-sister, by Pulpit, to dirt/grass graded winner (and current resident of Korea) Volponi has finished third in each of her three career starts. She comes from far back and has closed quite doggedly despite some unfavorable pace scenarios, though too late thus far. An extra sixteenth and a possible pace duel between Come Fly Away and Slewfoundmoney could get her to the winner's circle here. The latter set a very lively pace in her turf debut and held on stubbornly. Gets the rail, but may have to contend with Come Fly Away, stretching out after flashing high speed in a sprint. Wild Hoots returns from a layoff for McLaughlin and tries the turf. Her sire Unbridled's Song is 17% with first-time turfers, and, FYI, this is a full-sister to the Wood winner Buddha. My wacky longshot for this race is 20-1 Street Bird. She chased some quick internal fractions on a turf spring, stretches out for Contessa, and may like the distance; she's by Street Cry out of a mare by Jade Hunter.