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Saturday, July 14, 2007

Belmont Saturday

- Well, I did handicap the entire Saturday card at Belmont, and didn't come up with anything too inspirational. It seems as if the pre-Saratoga lull is in full effect. The increased purses instituted by NYRA may be keeping the field sizes from falling completely apart, but it seems clear that trainers are locking and loading for Saratoga just 17 10(!) days hence. It's also important to keep that in mind even for the horses who are running. For example, Bob Barbara has Mr Tough Enough, a first-time starter by a 16% first-out sire in Good and Tough, making his debut off some solid works. Barbara is having a slow meeting here, but wins his share at Saratoga. A look at Formulator shows that he's four for nine with second time starters upstate; so I'd think this is just a tightener here.

I'll tell you one horse I don't like, and that's Yankee Thunder, the 2-1 morning line favorite in the 9th for Frankel. I'm a big fan of the trainer, but it pays to take a very close look the horses that he sends off as favorites here. Frankel has had nine horses go off at 3-2 or less, and only two of them have won (3-5 shots). Yankee Thunder makes his first start since Saratoga, where he was beaten solidly in this class at 2-1 and 4-5. I think he looks no better than at least two others, and I hope he gets pounded at the tote here.

I had Logic Way in his last, a tough beat. I remember I was worried about him stretching out to a mile and a quarter; and now, despite closing well for a close second, I'm thinking he'll like cutting back to a mile. He got some freshening, and signaled his fitness with a bullet work a couple of weeks ago. In the Spotlight has really taken to the grass, and that was a pretty decent field of state-bred maidens he defeated in his last. Faces winners here, but looks good for at least a share if he continues to improve in his third grass start. So if Frankel's horse gets bet, I would play these two in the exacta, with emphasis on Logic Way.

I also don't much care for Frankel's entry in the Poker Stakes. Art Master burned money in his two North American grass starts; and though those were against better horses, including Ashkal Way, I'm not anxious to oppose the Toddster's Host with him, or anyone else in the faux Grade 3 stakes race.

I actually prefer Frankel's entry in the second. Coastal Flare (5-1) makes his grass debut, and breeding says yes. He's by the Cozzene sire Mizzen Mast, seven for 60 with first-timers on the turf according to the Form. And he's out of a rich female family; his dam, Proflare (Mr. Prospector), is the dam of no less than five turf stakes winners, including War Zone, who won the Poker, and True Flare, the dam of the aforementioned Art Master, as well as Latent Heat and Indian Flare.

It's getting late, so just a couple of other ideas (other than trying some other tracks). In the third, Street Sass comes off a win in a restricted state-bred stakes in which she mounted an unbelievable rally. She was totally out of the picture, except for a brief glimpse turning for home in which she still had to be five lengths behind the penultimate horse. She steps up to face open company, but there are no monsters in here, and the extra furlong will presumably help.

In the 4th, Tom Bush has the morning line favorite with Posted. But note that he doesn't do well with layoff horses. At all. As in 2 for 48 with horses over 60 days off. Note that Dutrow has a first-time starter in Bringhomeawinner, though this is a three-year old as opposed to the two juveniles he won with this week. Other than that, I don't yet have a suggestion with which to oppose the favorite.

And one more dubious favorite, I can't understand why Oedipus O'Neal is the 5-2 favorite in the 7th; I can't even guess, and imagine it's just a bad line. So I don't expect Ambassador to really be 5-1; but he'd be a real bargain at that price I think. Three in the Bag steps up off the claim by Anthony Dutrow; he's a high percentage guy in that category, but his horse beat a really crappy 35K field. I think Academy Royale looms as a live longshot for the minor share. He steps up to open company, but shows a steady progression of improving Beyers, and it looks as if the stretch out should help. That's it, gotta run, have a great day.


Anonymous said...

You trashed four horses. Three won for fun, the other lost by a nose. Please stick to current events.

Anonymous said...

Damn, somebody woke up on the wrong side of the bed!

I thought the analysis was pretty good. Besides, who makes money just betting favorites at short odds? The point is to find value. Some days, when it works, you look like a freakin' genius, and some days you don't :) Keep up the good work!

Alan Mann said...

Thanks for the support, Anonymous 2!