05/15/2011 2:33PM

Back to Belmont


2:33 pm: It's already the third of eleven weekends of racing at the Belmont Park spring-summer meeting, which not that long ago did not even begin until the equivalent of this coming Wednesday, three days before the Preakness. This was the fourth straight year that Belmont opened in April, and I have yet to hear a single complaint; after six months of Aqueduct, most New Yorkers are more than ready, especially with those racinovations making Aqueduct look more like a construction site than usual this year.

Here's the Belmont spring-summer graded-stakes schedule, which includes four races that were not run last year: yesterday's Peter Pan, which was suspended for a year in 2010, its spot taken by the nw-back-to-July Dwyer; the Matron and Futurity, repositioned as early-July races since no one wants to run between the Hopeful/Spinaway and Champagne/Frizette; and the Poker.


There's a two-day $99k Pick-Six carryover starting in about half an hour and I'm going to be sacrilegious and either pass or play a $360 just-in-case caveman ticket. The sequence begins with three straight turf sprints in which I have little confidence; the fourth leg has the only potential single I can see in a 3-5 dropdown, and I can't see going skinnier than 3x5 in the final two races.

If I start using all the horses I think can win the turf sprints, now I'm looking at putting in over $1k and still singling a horse I'd never bet on at a short price, and if I back him up I'm getting up to $1500 for a $99k carryover. So I'll play small and Paleolithic:


If that doen't get it done, maybe we can get a three-day carry north of $300k into Wednesday.


4:30 pm: As it turns out so far, maybe I should have quadrupled the investment -- I'd be alive 3x5 if I'd started out 4x4 instead of 2x2, but geez -- spending $1440 to single Cravin Caden, who just galloped at 2-5 with a mile in 1:41.18? And if it chalks out, don't know that it's going to pay more than 2-to-5 on $1440. Can't see it carrying.

The upcoming $60k One Count Stakes is unusual and interesting: a rare 1 1/4-mile race on the main track, that drew both 2010 Belmont Stakes winner Drosselmeyer and Inherit the Gold, who won four straight at Aqueduct including the G3 Excelsior this winter before a wide trip over a sloppy track in the Charles Town Classic last month.

Drosselmeyer is one of only two horses in at least the last 20 years to receive a sub-99 Beyer Speed Figure while winning a Triple Crown race. (His Belmont got a lowly 94.) The other was Prairie Bayou, whose 1992 Preakness got a 98. Da Tara's 2008 Belmont got a 99 and Giacomo's 2005 Derby got a 100.


5:10 pm: "That was fun" was the way Tom Durkin finished his call of the Select, and right he was: Four of them slugged it out for the fifth quarter of the race before Drosselmeyer ($6.90) prevailed by a long neck over uncoupled stablemate Birdrun -- who let Drosselmeyer through on his inside on the stretch turn and then almost came back and beat him. Inherit the Gold was a close third after swooping four wide but hanging late. The winner's time was 2:06.07.

Pick-6's are paying better than I thought they would: Able Bellamy (#1) is the lowest at $2,852, the next five are between $4k and $11k, and two bombs are over $20k: Here Comes Vinny ($32k) and Prowler ($164k). Me, I'm alive for two consos that need to (and probably won't) pay $180 apiece to get my money back. Woohoo.


5:35 pm: Saved (some) money after all: Finale went to 11-1 Pin Number over 9-2 Southbeachsansy, neither of them among my quintet. Artie Luvsto Party was third with 32-1 Here Comes Vinny fourth to complete a $26k superfecta. The pick-6 paid $12,616 as Week 3 drew to a close.


fastjoey More than 1 year ago
How interesting !!! to read the DRF comment line for Norman Abjornson's GOTHAM Stakes run: "Steadied 1/16th, stubborn." @ 47-1, my $40 win bet on "Norm" is that cashable now? If "steadied" had been the other way around, and Pletcher-Repole's jockey lodged a claim of foul, would the longshot "shipper" have "stayed up"? Somehow, given the consistent inconsistency of the stewards - virtual fiction writers who write endings @ will - I don't think so. Norman Asbjornson did lose slight momentum when Stay Thirsty tapped him on the shoulder, but I've seen far less "incidents" reverse decisions - take the Harlem Rocker takedown, for instance - and far worse muggings go ignored - for instance, the assault on 75-1 shote Captain Ed @ Saratoga two summers ago. "Steadied 1/16th, stubborn." Thanks for making it official - I was screwed again!
Ryan More than 1 year ago
Follow up to yesterday's post. If you want to play the P4 with the Black Eyed Susan...you must also play the P4 included a starter handicap for MD Breds (who mostly race in MD) where routine Beyer is in the upper 60's. Why would they not run that race last, and move the Hilltop, the 3yoF stake (a very wide open race), as the 12th? Indefensible.
Ryan More than 1 year ago
Hialeah, Curatolo is under contract to Flying Z so will be getting live mounts. MUCH improved. I wouldn't bet him at GP
Ryan More than 1 year ago
Steve, looking at the entries for Black Eyed Susan Day at Pimlico. While not exactly Oaks Day at the Derby...they should be ashamed at the order of the races. I assume there will be a pick 4...however there are 5 stakes races, but only 3 are back to back! The best betting race on the card will no doubt be the turf sprint which is...Race 5! People will still be getting there. Assuming there's a P3 races 5-7...people will have to finish that P3 off with a 6 horse field with retired jockeys? Are they serious? That race should be race 1. Looking at a potential late P4 (keep in mind with the Derby, I can get wagering menu on the weekend's races weeks out...it's 4 days till Friday and not a morning line nor a wagering menu at Old Hilltop)...they go stake, stake, starter handicap for MD breds, stake??? Come on!
James Mindel More than 1 year ago
...Do you and your canine companions ever have to sneak away to the den to avoid probing questions from Mrs. Blog regarding the mortgage payment or whatever happened to the money set aside for that trip to Tuscany? [Nah. I live by the adage that you never bet your eatin' money and never eat your bettin' money. -SC]
Dave or Divot80 More than 1 year ago
I agree about those turf sprints. They are the most difficult races to handicap. I would miss even using the 'all button'. (LOL) Years ago the boy on Birdrun would have put Drosselmeyer right thru the rail rather than letting him through. Divot80
yuwipi More than 1 year ago
Back to Belmont indeed! The whole winter racing scene in New York has become so grim that I took a pass on the entire post Thanksgiving to Wood day racing schedule. Used to be a different story when winter racing in New York was not comprised almost entirely of NY State Bred races, maiden claimers, and NW2 lifetime events. Oh well, bring on some of those grade 1's in your chart! Not familiar with the game in your photo Steve, but I do have a copy of an old horse racing game put out by 3M back in the 70's called "Win, Place and Show." Many a good time was had around the family table with it.
JK More than 1 year ago
It might've been fun for Durkin but that race cost me the Pick-6. Couldn't use Drossel today and had Bird. Ugh, nice payoff for a sequence with an obvious single. It's a humbling game.
El Angelo More than 1 year ago
There's no way Da'Tara got a 100 BSF or higher, is there? [RIght you are -- he got a 99. Changed "sub-100" to "sub-99." -SC]
hialeah More than 1 year ago
Hi Steve, Is it my imagination or is Ryan Curatolo starting to win some races and, as such, get more live mounts. I believe Biancone and Shug used him at GP. Anyway, if you have to go down: why not Eve of Destruction? Will root for Harry in feature.