10/09/2015 2:39PM

Fornatale: Koury sizes up Belmont maiden race


Last weekend, longtime contest player Joe Koury scored for more than six figures at the Players’ Challenge in South Dakota. Koury pledged a portion of his winnings to Thoroughbred aftercare, and he suggests that other players think about doing the same after they have a big score. Koury offered to analyze the seventh race at Belmont on Sunday, one of the races in the NHCQualify.com and DRFQualify.com contests. Take it away, Joe!

#1 Street Jersey (6-1): He breaks from the rail for the third straight time in his third start off the layoff. He’s burned a lot of money, having gone off favored in three of his four career starts, but he could get away at a little bit of a price today. He was finishing well in his last and now gets the stretch-out that he’s probably wanted all along. Aggressive jockey Eric Cancel rides back, and I look for him to be a major player from on or just off the pace.

#2 Godrevy (5-1): He’s a one-run type who was a little closer to the early pace in his last, where he didn’t have the punch needed late. He did outfinish the bottom horse a couple of times, so he demands respect on that basis alone. I like the extra sixteenth, although his best races have come at two turns and routing. The Tom Albertrani barn is going well at the meet, and Javier Castellano sticks, so those are plusses, but I think he’ll have too much to do late and consider him a fringe player in here.

#3 Bokeelia Island (4-1): This is the second start for a Shug McGaughey runner who made an eye-catching late run in the Saratoga off going (ala Honor Code). He now gets more ground to work with while still going one turn. Trainer is modest with firsters but 26 percent with second-timers and even better with them when they run well in the debut. He did get a massive pace setup though, and I’m not expecting that today, which could leave him with a lot to do. He can obviously win, but I’m siding against on the win end at what I’m expecting to be too short a price.

#4 Domestic Warrior (20-1): He started slowly in his debut and never really got going. Castellano opts to go elsewhere, and this is too tough a spot for a runner who looks like he’ll need some experience to figure things out.

#5 Candour (8-1): This Cristophe Clement second-timer broke from the rail in the debut and was even-paced throughout. He should move forward in a big way here, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Jose Ortiz put this guy in the race right away. He ran a solid figure last time, and the expected upside puts him right in the thick of it. He does, however, have eight lengths to make up on Captain Tim, so he’ll need to improve in a big way. He’s got a shot, but demand at least 8-1 for fair value.

#6 Star’s Ride (15-1): He’s been gelded since his last but hasn’t been seen for four-plus months for a barn that’s struggled all year. He showed some ability when chasing Materiality in the slop at Gulfstream Park last January, but he hasn’t moved forward off that effort. I expect him to need a race or two.

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#7 Shaken Not Stirred (10-1): He goes out for a barn not historically known for having them cranked at first asking, but there are two recent bullets that make this one a little interesting. Jose Lezcano and Bill Mott are a 30 percent team at Belmont, so there are some things to like. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him run well in here. My inclination is to use him more for underneath, but for contests, he could be usable if you need a price.

#8 Backsideofthemoon (10-1): He outran longshot odds to fill out the super in his debut in an even effort that likely did him a lot of good. Malibu Moon colt gets more ground and Lasix this time, both of which should move him forward, but I suspect he’ll need a few starts to find his best stride.

#9 Captain Tim (2-1): This John Shirreffs runner is undoubtedly the one to beat in here. His two Belmont races tower over this field. Beyer improvement is noted in each of his three starts, and while I don’t expect another forward move, that’s likely not needed for him to win. On the other hand, he’s had his chances, only to come up short, and considering that a hot pace is unlikely, I’d play against at a short price but would definitely use defensively in multirace wagers.

SUMMARY: I’d love to be in a position in contests where I can play #1 Street Jersey. If a longer price is required, I’d first look to #5 Candour, and I’ll give #7 Shaken Not Stirred a look as well.