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Thursday, June 03, 2010

Belmont News and Notes

The weather forecast is hanging in there despite fading in the stretch. It's still supposed to basically be nice, but the chance of stray storms seems to be increasing. But assuming the day is OK (because NYRA is always just so lucky with stuff like that), I think they're going to do well. I'm upping my prior estimate of the upper 40's to a number more comparable to last year's 52,861. NYRA's media department is surely working it; my inbox is constantly filled with updates and alerts. The post position draw was televised on MSG+; jockeys visited the Ronald McDonald House, they did the event at the Empire State Building, which is bathed in green and white lights, really to mark the occasion of the Jets' training camp just eight weeks away, but we'll let NYRA believe that's they're the official colors of Belmont Park....or whatever exactly the significance is!

On Thursday, there's a trainers' press conference at Belmont, a transcript of which will be available within 60 minutes on ASAP; where, under Upcoming Events, it's noted:

142ND BELMONT STAKES (Equestrian)
OK, the point is that they're doing a good job and they're really trying. They, and everyone there, must feel the world off their shoulders since the loan was agreed to.

Zito's horses arrived on Wednesday. Not sure about that 3-1 morning line on Ice Box; hell, I might bet him at that price. I know it's a big field and that the odds curve tends to flatten for these races these days. But whatever one thinks of his chances, his past performance lines just scream BELMONT!, he was second in the Derby (which > Preakness), and he's trained by Zito. I don't see him any higher than 2-1 at most.

Dale Romans repeated the workout pattern he used for First Dude before the Preakness, with a sharp five furlongs exactly a week prior. "He’s a throwback kind of horse, a big rugged kind of horse, nothing bothers him, and I don’t think three weeks [between races] is going to bother him," Romans said (quote sheet provided by the NYRA press office, thanks). His second in the Preakness was so outstanding that it's being ignored or forgotten that he seems to have a propensity for settling for place money; four times in his seven starts with only a maiden win to show. I'll be standing against, at least in the top slot.

Game On Dude is ranked at 10-1; here's hoping that his celebrity trainer attracts more money than that.

I like Fly Down (9-2). Romans talked about "turning the tables on Ice Box," but maybe he should be worried about this horse instead given First Dude's two finishes just behind him. He had a little step back at Fair Grounds after a tough win over his abovementioned rival off a layoff, moved forward to a career best, though apparently non-taxing Dwyer, is working fantastic, seems fresh in this spot with just three starts this year, gets four weeks off and a track he seems to fancy. The one thing that makes me think twice is that he's not really bred for marathon distances....but who really is in this, or most other fields? He came home strong in the Dwyer, drawing off in an impressive final furlong of 12.18.

Interactif (12-1) is a total question mark on dirt and therefore way underlaid at his 12-1 morning line in my opinion. “We decided to call an audible and send him to the Belmont,” said Pletcher. Sounds like "the owner made me do it" to me. Some interesting breeding here though as his third dam is the legendary Personal Ensign. That makes him also from the distaff family of distance horses like Miners Mark, My Flag, and Storm Flag Flying.


onecalicocat said...

Re First Dude:
Some horses seem to have a habit of coming in second. I think this is more than coincidence.
When I lived in Miami in the early 1970s there was a horse named Zoom Loom who was famous for coming in second in the majority of his races.
In fact, if a horse came in second a couple times, we used to say he was "another Zoom Loom."
Unfortunately, all of this took place before the Internet, so there are apparently no references to Zoom Loom available anymore.
So, as Alan suggests, First Dude's seconds may be more than coincidence.
I hear the flamingos are flying again at Hialeah. That was a great track in its heyday.

Figless said...

"The one thing that makes me think twice is that he's not really bred for marathon distances....but who really is in this, or most other fields?"

A: Ice Box.

Nice DRF article the other day on the breeder and his strategy, intentionally aiming to breed for stamina.

Dam is his foundation mare, believe she won the LI Handicap at the Belmont distance on the grass. Most breeders would try to breed speed into her, this guy breeders her to stamina sires like Pulpit.

Contrarian, wish there were more like him.

steve in nc said...

re seconiditis:

Remember Jaques Who the NY gray who ran 2nd a million times in a row before breaking his mdn?

I do feel there are times when keying a horse in 2nd place in exactas and tris is a valid strategy.

Thanks for the tip Figless. I had skipped that article, but will have to get it now.

El Angelo said...

We bash the guy plenty so let's give credit when it's due: Joe Drape's tribute/retrospective on Richard Migliore was very well done.

Figless said...

ElAngelo, thanks for the tip on The Mig article, well worth the read.

Always class and underrated, especially as a turf rider. I call it the patented Mig rail ride, sit in the pocket behind the pace and wait for exactly know exactly the right moment to stride, never rarely getting caught and trapped down on the rail.

Impeccable timing, dont think the article mentioned his win the Breeders Cup a couple of years back, I was very happy for him that day.

30for60 said...

Uptowncharlybrown looks to be sitting on a huge race tomorrow. I love the fact that they have been training him at Tampa and he is a big strapping type of colt that should relish this distance. He is also fresh and Ice Box will be too far back to catch him. Enjoy tomorrow and watch for #3 in the winner circle.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know if the Belmont will be streamed live on any free sites? My adw isn't allowed to stream NYRA races. I ditched cable long ago and don't pull in any ABC affiliates where I live. I know most of the undercard is supposed to be available online through ESPN3, but I can't find anything on the Belmont itself. I really don't want to go out to see the race if I can avoid it.