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Thursday, May 28, 2009

Belmont Notes

A couple of trainers who have been sharp with their layoff horses have starters returning to action at Belmont today. In the first, a wide-open state-bred sprint scheduled for the turf, Carlos Martin starts Extra Zip (9-2) for the first time since Saratoga. The barn is six for 21 (29%) in the 180+ category over the last two years; and its last two such starters were Sax in the City (second by a head at 4-1) and Fairway Drive ($13.80). Extra Zip finished 2008 with two lackluster efforts, but returns, via his $30K optional claiming tag, to a level at which he won at Belmont the last time he tried it. Sharp works and Dominguez (43% in 21 rides for the barn in 2008-9) is aboard. Shorter distance is a question mark and, as I said, it's a fun, competitive heat assuming it stays on grass. Gold Vendetta (5-1) is a head away from being 2-for-2 on the turf, and goes second off the layoff for Alan Goldberg. The barn is 20% in that category, and the horse has improved each time off that pattern. Missinglisalewis (4-1) comes off a close third at this level.

Trainer Harold James Bond had two layoff winners this past weekend - Sezzana ($12.80) and Smart Engagement ($10.40). In the 8th, Gattinara (10-1) makes her first start since September. She's an in-and-out sort with some poor lines at Finger Lakes; but her last two races at this particular level on NYRA tracks have resulted in a win and a neck loss, both with Beyers that would put her in the mix here. Looks like there are others who may have a class edge - Point Me To It, from the slumping Contessa barn, and three-year olds Stormy's Smile, Karakorum Fugitive, and Olde Glamour - but this six-year daughter of Raffie's Majesty could spice up the exotics here.


Anonymous said...

David Greening in the Daily Racing Form website also makes several comments about today's first race at Belmont. Short summary is worth reading.

Alan Mann said...

It's also the "Race of the Day" at the Form, so there are free Formulator PP's, and a video analysis by Illman and some guy named Mike. They don't like Extra Zip because of the layoff (don't they use Formulator?) and the fact that he's in for a tag; they think that's suspicious. And combined with the note in Grening's column that the horse had knee surgery, maybe it is. On the other hand though, he's out of state-bred conditions, and proved to be a cut below when entered in state-bred stakes and an open entry-level allowance last year. So it also might just be a legitimate placing, we'll see. I'd keep an eye on the tote.

jeff said...

Once again, Alan is money!

Anonymous said...

Alan did you retire Rap Tail?

jk said...

Belmont Park Service Starts - Extra Service for Belmont Stakes

They’re off! MTA Long Island Rail Road is running train service to Belmont Park for the rest of the thoroughbred-racing season at New York’s most famous racetrack, including the 141st running of the Belmont Stakes.