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Saturday, June 06, 2009

Early Belmont

A few comments on a few of the early races follow. I was told by someone at NYRA that they will do whatever they can to keep the 4th and 5th races on the grass; the source expects them to be on the turf, while acknowledging how improbable that seems....especially here just past midnight, with the drizzle continuing. But things seem to be looking up on the weather radar, and mucho sunshine is promised for Saturday. NYRA has a lot at stake in keeping these competitive heats on the grass with the big numbers expected in the mutuel pool on their big day. (Of course, if there was Polytrack, they could run the race in any weather and still probably retain most if not all of the field.) [UPDATE: Those races are indeed on the turf, rated soft; the 12th and 13th races are off. You gotta love the Turf Course Update feature on the NYRA website.]

In the first, Blow Up (6-1) moves up to face winners after graduating impressively first time Lasix, jumping up to a career high Beyer while coming home in 12 3/5. The combination of Jorge Chavez riding for trainer John Toscano has been a hot one - three winners and a third in their last four, including Stormy Success ($10.20) on Thursday. Inger Management (5-2) would benefit from a sloppy track; has good speed regardless and generally hangs around for a share. Potential speed duel here with Dixieland Star (2-1); this son of of Hook and Ladder has a clear advantage in Beyers, but hasn't been out in nearly a year. Could be an eager beaver early for Kimmel and help set the race up for the top choice at a fair price. Toque (15-1) has finished strongly against weaker; Karakorum on Black (12-1) hails from a sharp stable - either or both (or, perhaps, none) could help liven up the ten cent superfecta offered in the opener.

In the third, the Phipps homebred Bimini (6-1) makes his second start, for Shug. Well-bet in his debut, the son of Seeking the Gold broke poorly and trailed the field before moving up the rail; he ran his middle three eighths in 33 4/5. He flattened out, but finished with enthusiasm for 4th. I expect the longer distance to benefit this colt out of Cat Cay, a graded stakes winning Pleasant Colony mare and a half sister to Strolling Along, winner of the marathon Lawrence Realization. Convocation (3-1) finished strongly for second behind a hot Zito firster over a muddy track at this distance; that for the sharp Jimmy Jerkens barn. Allrightsreserved (7-2) has run well in two one-turn mile races for the Toddstar.

Running in a Grade 2 stakes off an 11 month layoff, one thing I must say for Benny the Bull is that he should have the perfect pace scenario with at least four of his five opponents figuring to be on or near the front. But there seems to be some bad vibes emanating from IEAH these days - the disappointment of Stardom Bound and Patena, the last minute defection of the probable Derby favorite I Want Revenge, and now the lawsuit filed against it by that horse's original owner and breeder. So I'd try to beat him, but it's hard to imagine anyone but probable favorite Fabulous Strike emerging from the early fray.

I may or may not be back with some of the later races, which look much too hard.


Anonymous said...

Heard at Belmont from three race track virgins getting off the LIRR.

"Wow this is great, beer right here! Lets drink and gamble!"

Attendance nowhere near the announced crowd, backyard seemed about double a normal weekend until very late in the day when it filled up, and plenty of empty $45 seats and bored ushers. Minimal betting lines, about 45k is the perfect amount at this track.

Great music in the backyard, Afterburner (all active military in fatigues) fired up a bunch of old punk rocks tunes before noon and finished with a Janis cover that spooked a horse in the post parade,followed by the Alan Parsons Project who were simply amazing, especially on the early Led Zep, Wings, and Derek and Dominoes including a perfect Layla!

Hit the first four races (Pennington!) and partied the day away instead of paying too much attention to what I thought would be chalky stakes races.

Sacreligious I guess, but when I am in attendence on big race days I do my homework, make a few strategic wagers early, and kick back and enjoy the scene.

Unlike last year, this was a very enjoyable day.

Anonymous said...

Was Calvin even watching the early races? Everyone believed it was a speed rail bias and he makes the following comment? Guess he should have ridden a few in the prior races.

"He kind of took me up there a little earlier than I wanted," Borel said. "I knew the fence wasn't good - it's kind of deep down there - and when I eased him out he took me to them a little earlier than I wanted so I didn't want to take nothing out of him. I let him go on. I didn't take the lead too early, I don't think, because the horses in front kind of stopped to a walk