Tony Kelzenberg for BetPTC.com
Horses to watch from last weekend:
Belmont 5/9/15 Race R7, Grade 3 “The Beaugay” (8.5 furlongs turf) – “Photo Call” (#4 saddlecloth). Photo Call was my top pick to win this race and she was a very good second, closing into very slow fractions from second-last while being four wide throughout. From the 6 furlong mark to the wire she made up 4.25 lengths on the winner to run an estimated final 2 and ½ furlongs in a scintillating 27.67 seconds – equivalent to a final quarter mile of 21.60 seconds. That’s racehorse time. Look for this one to come back in the Grade 1 Just a Game at a mile on Belmont Day.
Belmont 5/9/15 Race R9, Grade 1 “The Man o’ War” (11.0 furlongs turf) – “Hyper” (#2 saddlecloth).
Getting a no-threat 3rd in a six-horse field is usually unremarkable, but Hyper was put into this race off a 539 day extended layoff, and then broke through the gate before the race! He did beat some decent horses, and I would have to think he improves off this run.
Video Preview – The Longines Dixie Stakes (Grade 2) – Pimlico 5/16/15 Race 12
Picks: 1st – #12 Long On Value
2nd – #13 War Correspondent
3rd – #9 Legendary
4th – #2 Ironicus
5th – #11 Up With the Birds
#1 Grand Tito – His trip in the Miami Mile was much tougher than the Equibase race caller gave him credit for. In tight early, 3 wide the entire trip, but looked extremely tired late to me. Can to bounce back and win in the Dixie but I won’t have him in my pick 4. Mixed Messages
#2 Ironicus – This is a horse on a sharp improvement course. Two races back he finished in (approximately) 29.00 seconds. In his last race despite being 6 wide he finished in 28.40 seconds. Certainly looks among the slowest in the field but I think this guy has a lot more in the tank. Move Up
#3 Cage Fighter – This aptly named battler dug in and really toughed his last race out. Unfortunately these horses are generally of a higher grade. Move Down
#4 Aripeka – Had almost a dream run and never really threatened in the Makers Mark, despite finishing second. His ceiling appears to be below most in here. Move Down.
#5 Tricky Hat – Numbers and running style are very similar to McGaughey’s other runner, #2 Ironicus, but this chap is 6 years old. At that age what you see is what you get, and I see a 7th place finish. Move Down
#6 Skyring – Another 6 year old that has seen better days. In his last at Keeneland, he was out-footed for the lead by Long On Value, and in his younger days that NEVER would have happened. If Long On Value takes back a bit (which I think he will), Skyring might make some noise. Mixed Messages
#7 Beyond Smart – It’s “beyond me” why this horse is in here. This isn’t a stakes limited to Pennsylvania-bred plodders. Avoid
#8 Lochte – Two nice Tampa Bay wins, followed by three “no-excuse” Gulfstream losses. In his last two races his BRIS late pace has dropped off about eight points. I am not expecting a turnaround here. Mixed Messages
#9 Legendary – This guy was lights out last year, and his comeback last month was in a Grade 1 run on soft turf. I’m using him. Move Up
#10 Manchurian High – Doesn’t appear to me to class up but the horse seems to be in form and the “evergreen” Gary Stevens takes the mount. Hasn’t raced in 98 days when everybody else is race fit. Move Down
#11 Up With The Birds – has always been respected (except in Tokyo, note the 158.2 to one odds in the Japan Cup), but he really needs a fast pace to set up his late run. He might not get that fast pace and it can even be argued that he isn’t 100% for this race – there is a Grade 1 at Belmont in three weeks and this might be a prep. The genius of Graham Motion is that we may never know the truth, even after the race. Mixed Messages
#12 Long On Value – For some reason he was ridden ”upside down,” trying to lead wire to wire from an inside post at Keeneland (L.O.V. had never led or been second at the first call in his previous 9 races). The track was soft, and the inner part of the track did not appear to be the place to be. All in all it was a nice effort, and if Rosario can go back in time and ride this horse like he did in the Canadian Turf at Gulfstream this is your winner. Get on this one. Move Up
#13 War Correspondent – A lot of talent, great record, his best wins this race, but tends to come off long layoss and has many gaps in his races. Last race looked like a loser but dug in to get the job done. He’s basically a more talented version of #3 Cage Fighter. At much lower odds. Mixed Messages
#14 Talk Show Man – As they say in Australia, “He’s a Winner,” and if you want to invest $10 to win hoping to get $150 back he would be a good candidate. In great form but the field he beat last out was more allowance level quality than graded stakes quality. Move Down