“If You Can Make It There, You Can Make It Anywhere!”
Bel R11 (Post 6:37 pm): The Belmont Stakes (Grade 1), 12 furlongs, 3yo
1st – #2 Tapwrit (6/1) 2nd – #4 J Boys Echo (15/1)
3rd – #9 Meantime (15/1) 4th – #1 Twisted Tom (20/1)
I am going for some shots in the Belmont with the bumping in the Kentucky Derby causing so many horses to have interference during that run. TAPWRIT‘s Tampa Bay Derby is good enough to win this, and I think he will really love Belmont’s sweeping turns. I think he can also run all day, and maybe that will be good enough. J BOYS ECHO beat Cloud Computing (the 2017 Preakness Winner) by 3 and 1/2 lengths in the Gotham, then had trouble at the start in both the Blue Grass, and then the Kentucky Derby, when Classic Empire slammed into him. I am certainly willing to give him a chance at big odds. MEANTIME is the speed here with Hall of Famer “Money” Mike Smith. Look for this guy to either lead, or track Irish War Cry. TWISTED TOM has been pointed for this race since late April, and has an excellent five workout tab for Chad Brown. Another horse with good value at a 20/1 ML quote.
Who’ll Take The Manhattan?
Bel R10 (Post 5:37 pm): The Manhattan Stakes (Grade 1), 10 furlongs (Inner Turf), 4up
1st – #4 Time Test (5/1) 2nd – #6 Potemkin (8/1) 3rd – #3 World Approval (3/1)
4th – #1 Beach Patrol (4/1) 5th – #7 Divisidero (4/1)
TIME TEST is an extremely hard knocker that makes his second start for Chad Brown. He will probably appreciate the return to firm turf. POTEMKIN is 9 for 15 lifetime, including a dominant win in a Group 2 at Chantilly on 2016 Arc Weekend (similar to Breeders’ Cup weekend here). Gets first lasix Saturday and has to be considered a strong contender. WORLD APPROVAL is the best of the established North American horses. Not sure he really wants 10 furlongs, he’s (2-0-0-1) at the distance. BEACH PATROL and DIVISIDERO seem a cut below the top 3.
The Met Mile is the Greatest Mile There Ever Was!
Bel R9 (Post 4:41 pm): The Met Mile Handicap (Grade 1), 8 furlongs, 4up
1st – #12 Awesome Slew (6/1) 2nd – #11 Tommy Macho (10/1) 3rd – #5 Sharp Azteca (7/2)
4th – #2 Rally Cry (5/1) 5th – #10 Virtual Machine (30/1)
AWESOME SLEW has been pointed for this race all year and he has the talent to pull it off. A wide draw in the Met Mile is often helpful because it allows the jockey on the wide horse to judge the intensity of the early pace and adjust accordingly. TOMMY MACHO was interfered at the 1/8th pole in his last race (Carter Handicap), and he stretches out to his preferred 8 furlongs. Again, another horse that should take advantage of its wide draw. SHARP AZTECA is THE early speed; the question is will anyone go with him? Because he is the morning line favorite I think he will face some pace pressure. RALLY CRY is trying to move up from NW2x allowance to Grade 1, but his last speed figure was very competitive. VIRTUAL MACHINE ran a career top in the Westchester chasing Connect, and he has every right to run well again.
The Just a Game is No Game!
Bel R8 (Post 3:58 pm): The Just A Game (Grade 1), 8 furlongs (turf), 4up F&M
1st – #1 Dickinson (5/2) 2nd – #5 Celestine (3/1) 3rd – Antonoe (8/1)
DICKINSON showed she was a special horse to make up more than a length in the stretch after having to check badly at the eighth pole in the Jenny Wiley Stakes at Keeneland. A similar performance puts her right there. Celestine has the identical race pattern to 2016, when she took this race by over three lengths at 7/1. This is a much tougher field but I have to give her a chance to repeat. Antonoe goes from an NW2x allowance win at Keeneland to Grade 1, but she has Chad Brown AND Juddmonte in her corner. The fact she is in this race says she belongs.
Woody Stephens Won Five Belmonts in a Row!
Bel R7 (Post 3:15 pm): The Woody Stephens Stakes (Grade 2), 7 furlongs, 3yo
1st – #4 Gold For the King (15/1) 2nd – #8 American Anthem (5/2)
3rd – #3 Recruiting Ready (6/1) 4th – #7 Wild Shot (4/1)
Taking a shot with GOLD FOR THE KING. Posse is a New York-based stallion that is known for getting good sprinters and he has another one in GFTK, who has won two of his last three, all in New York bred stakes company. AMERICAN ANTHEM is back to probably his best go, 7 furlong sprints. Of the main contenders he appears classiest to me. RECRUITING READY shows well in 6 furlong sprints but sometimes it’s hard for dedicated front runners to win going 7 furlongs. Wild Shot upped his game going 8 furlongs tracking an outclassed speed on a wet track, something that won’t happen this Saturday, but his win at Churchill was big from a speed figure perspective.
It’s Turf Sprint Time in the Jaipur!
Bel R6 (Post 2:34 pm): The Jaipur Stakes (Grade 3), 6 furlongs (Turf), 4up
1st – #6 Undrafted (12/1) 2nd – #1 Loose On the Town (8/1)
3rd – #3 Pure Sensation (3/1) 4th – #4 Green Mask (4/1)
Wesley Ward wanted to take UNDRAFTED to Royal Ascot this month, but his American owners wanted to see more starts in this country, so he lines up here in the Jaipur. I expect the pace to be fast, and that should set it up for Undrafted’s late run. LOOSE ON THE TOWN is the inside speed and he has shown a lot of ability in grass sprints. If Stormy Liberal doesn’t go after him early Loose On the Town is a win candidate. PURE SENSATION may not have relished the wet Churchill Down’s turf course in his comeback, he should be much fitter today for the big $300,000 purse. GREEN MASK ran the race of his career last time (he’s only 4 wins in 20 turf starts). I think the wet track at Churchill Downs really helped him. If the track is firm he’s probably a vulnerable favorite.
Songbird Returns in the Ogden Phipps!
Bel R5 (Post 1:52 pm): The Ogden Phipps Stakes (Grade 1), 8.5 furlongs, 4up F&M
1st – #5 Songbird (1/2) 2nd – #7 Carina Mia (6/1)
3rd – #1 Highway Star (10/1) 4th – #6 Bar of Gold (12/1)
SONGBIRD has been training great. Sometimes works can’t get a horse ready for the races but what I saw of her workout videos was really impressive. CARINA MIA’s connections may have had this race in mind all along, as she did not (in my opinion) go hard for the win at Keeneland in her last race until the last 300 yards, saving something in the tank for this race. HIGHWAY STAR has never lost at Belmont on the main track in four tires – enough said. BAR OF GOLD has a good record, but she strikes me as the type of mare to complete the trifecta.