Five Line Up in Belmont’s Grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup!
Belmont R10 (post 5:23 Eastern), The Jockey Club Gold Cup (Grade 1), 10 Furlongs, 3 up
Class: Mubtaahij has won nearly $3.8 million in only 12 starts.
Expected Pace: Effinex appears to be the controlling speed. No other natural leaders.
Consistency: No horse is more consistent than any other horse.
Notes: It has been announced that #4 War Story will scratch.
1st – #6 Effinex (7/5) 2nd – #2 Mubtaahij (8/5) 3rd – #3 Hoppertunity (7/2)
EFFINEX is a tough customer that loves to run near the lead, which may give him the edge in a largely paceless race. Mubtaahij has run ok at Belmont in the past but has not won since winning the UAE Derby in March of 2015. Hoppertunity escapes Southern California for this attempt against “weaker” here. Note Mubtaahij beat Hoppertunity by a head in the March 2016 Dubai World Cup.
Six Line Up in Belmont’s Grade 1 Champagne!
Belmont R8 (post 4:13 Eastern), The Champagne Stakes (Grade 1), 8 Furlongs, 2yo
Class: Practical Joke won the Grade 1 Hopeful Stakes in moderate time.
Expected Pace: Fast! Snydergaard has run very quick pace figures and Favorable Outcome also has sprint speed.
Consistency: Practical Joke and Snydergaard both have two wins in two starts.
1st – #5 Favorable Outcome (2/1) 2nd – #1 Practical Joke (4/1) 3rd – #3 Snydergaard (9/5)
FAVORABLE OUTCOME demolished a Saratoga maiden field, running a faster BRIS speed figure than either Practical Joke or Snydergaard have run on a fast track. With nominal improvement Favorable Outcome is definitely the horse to beat. Practical Joke is a tough customer, especially considering he is the only Grade 1 winner in the field. 4/1 is a great price for him from the morning line. Snydergaard has a ton of early speed and will try to take this field wire to wire. Looking at his running lines and pedigree his best distance is probably six furlongs, not eight.
Six Line Up in Belmont’s Grade 1 Flower Bowl!
Belmont R6 (post 3:03 Eastern), The Flower Bowl Stakes (Grade 1), 10 Furlongs (turf), 3up F&M
Class: Lady Eli has won more than $1.5 million.
Expected Pace: Moderate. Nobody really wants the lead here.
Consistency: Lady Eli has won 6 of her 7 career starts.
1st – #6 Sea Calisi (5/2) 2nd – #5 Lady Eli (8/5) 3rd – #1 Strike Charmer (6/1)
SEA CALISI was very wide at Arlington in the Beverly D. and if she can save some ground on Saturday she will be in good shape for the win. Sea Calisi has had a great 2016 and I think she has been very well prepared for this spot. Lady Eli is obviously top class but she may still be in recovery mode from last year’s colic and she has to stretch out from 8.5 furlongs to 10 furlongs. She can definitely win on Saturday. Strike Charmer paid $57.50 winning at Saratoga over Lady Eli last time, but she’s a fairly consistent horse that usually is only beaten a length or two.
9 Try to Beat Tepin in Keeneland’s Grade 1 First Lady!
Keeneland R7 (post 4:35 Eastern), The First Lady Stakes (Grade 1), 8 Furlongs (turf), 3up F&M
Class: Tepin has won over $4 million
Expected Pace: Possibly quick. A lot of these horses like to run on the early pace and Celestine has set the pace with fast pace figures in two of her last three races.
Consistency: Tepin (16-11-3-0) on the grass.
1st – #2 Tepin (2/5) 2nd – #8 Celestine (4/1) 3rd – #9 Onus (12/1)
TEPIN should win here, but my one concern was in her last race she struggled a bit and may well need to improve again Saturday to make this an easy win. Celestine hasn’t raced for 119 days, but a similar training pattern worked for her when she demolished a Grade 1 field on Belmont Day off a nine week (63 day) layoff. Onus is one of several here that can get into the trifecta under Tepin. Others I would consider for the trifeta under Tepin would be #3 Cash Control, #4 Now or Never, and #7 Secret Someone.
12 Entered in Keeneland’s Grade 1 Breeders’ Futurity!
Keeneland R8 (post 5:10 Eastern), The Breeders’ Futurity (Grade 1), 8.5 Furlongs, 2yo
Expected Pace: Possibly quick. A lot of these horses like to run on the early pace.
Consistency: No Dozing looks like he’s ready for stakes action after winning his first two races.
1st – #9 No Dozing (12/1) 2nd – #2 Gunnevera (4/1) 3rd – #11 Classic Empire (5/2)
NO DOZING gets lasix for the first time and his speed figures from his first two races are good. Trainer Arnaud Delacour is 7 wins in 28 starts (25% strike rate) with first lasix. No Doxing’s pedigree for this distance is also good. 12/1 ML odds on a horse like this could turn out to be really good. Gunnevera has two losses to Three Rules, who some people think is the best Florida-based 2yo they have seen in several years. His other two races have resulted in wins, including a Grade 2 at 9/1 in the Saratoga Special. Classic Empire was the 8/5 favorite in the Grade 1 Hopeful at Saratoga, but he “wheeled at the start” and tossed the jockey. Hopefully that will not happen again. Classic Empire might be the horse for this race, but 5/2 is a short price.
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11 Entered in Keeneland’s Grade 1 Shadwell Turf Mile!
Keeneland R9 (post 5:45 Eastern), The Breeders’ Futurity (Grade 1), 8.0 Furlongs (turf), 3up
Class: A lot of successful horses that have won between $600,000 and $1,000,000 on the grass in roughly the same number of starts.
Expected Pace: Possibly quick. #11 What A View loves the front end but may need to work to get there from post 11.
Consistency: What a View has won his last four races and is (6-4-0-0) at this 1 mile distance
1st – #8 Ironicus (4/1) 2nd – #4 Mondialiste (6/1)
3rd – #10 Tourist (3/1) 4th – #11 What a View (6/1)
IRONICUS is a nice horse, and I like that he fared well at 10 furlongs against Flintshire, who is really hard to beat on firm turf. The layoff is a concern, as what are trainer Shug McGaughey’s motivations: Win Saturday, or prep for the Breeder Cup Mile? Mondialiste won as expected in the Arlington Million, and maybe a mile is too short for him, but he has a very high “in the money” percentage (13-3-3-3) at the mile so I consider him a win candidate. Tourist’s last race was great, other past races not so great. The “beast” Tourist will need to show up here on Saturday to win. What a View would have been my top pick for this race if this race would have been in May. I have faith his solid connections (10 starts, 2 wins, 461% Return on investment) can get this horse ready off a 6 month layoff.