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Thursday, July 14, 2011

Belmont Thursday

In the first, a highly competitive seven furlong conditional claimer on the grass, Wascally Rabbit (10-1) moves up and stretches out a bit for trainer Gary Contessa. Now, this is a tough race, with Raging Wit (7-2) dropping in for a tag for the first time for Mott after keeping significantly better company to this point; and Fiscal Stimulus (5-2) dropping purposefully, it would seem, second off the claim for Galluscio, 24% at the meet. So I think I'm going to make this a "mention." Y'know, that's what some handicappers do when they like a horse but are not confident enough that it's going to win. That way, if it does, I can go "well, I gave it a mention," and if it loses, I can say it wasn't a pick. Notice that I put his name in italics rather than the usual bold.

The only three-year old in the field, this colt, from the first crop by Imperialism, seemed to need his first grass start two races back, rallying late after getting off to a sluggish start. With that race under his belt, he was off alertly against slightly lesser next out, and rallied to win, improving to a 76 Beyer which makes him competitive here. One might watch that race and dismiss it as the result of a perfect trip, sitting third on the rail behind the two dueling favorites as he did. Still, those two four-year olds were not stopping at all, and it took a determined effort and final splits of 11.2 and 11.3 to get the job done. Now, third time on the lawn and confidently moved up in class, he could be sitting on a big effort should the extra furlong suit. Seems worth using underneath the two mentioned above, and on top too at or around his morning line.

In the third, Capossela winner Sensational Slam (9-5) is back to the six furlongs of that inner track stakes after two ill-fated efforts around two turns on Poly; and he's two-for-two at this route. (That was strictly an informational mention, with no endorsement of his chances implied.)

In the 4th (also for information only), Queen of England (6-1) is a daughter of the rookie sire and 2007 grass champ English Channel (that's right, it's been four years); out of the multiple graded turf winner Babae. English Channel has a winner (on the Arlington Poly) from five starters thus far.

I see trainer Nick Canani is in town; his two recent starters at Belmont (a first and a third) are his first two on record at NYRA tracks, according to Formulator (at least going back five years). Perhaps we'll be seeing more of him upstate? If so, get used to horses like his entry in the 5th, Kuggerand (5-2), dropping in claiming price from 25K to 12,500. That's the M.O. for this barn, which hits at an incredible 46% (30 for 65) with horses dropping 50% or more in claiming price.