09/07/2013 12:52PM

Belmont Analysis for Sunday, September 8


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Sunday’s ten race card at Belmont Park offers a nice mix of of races on both surfaces, includes a pair of MSW events which each feature some promising runners - Race 2 going one-mile on the dirt, and Race 7 over seven-furlongs on turf - and, perhaps most importantly, offers up a couple of shaky looking favorites to at least take a long look at playing against.

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Race 2 may not be a great race from a betting perspective, but it is the kind of maiden event that builds perfectly off of the strong program NYRA runs for 2yo’s upstate at Saratoga. Not only are there some well-bred and well-connected first time starters entered, but there are three experienced runners who all appeared to get exactly what their connections wanted out of a shorter prep run at the Spa, and will now get the extra ground that they figure to relish. The three main players, in post position order are LONG WATER (#2, 4-1); MOSLER (#3, 3-1); and REBRANDED (#5, 5-2).

Rebranded is the ML favorite at 5/2 for obvious reasons: he is trained by juvenile kingpin Todd Pletcher; he earned a 74 Beyer for his debut in which he finished 3rd behind subsequent Grade 1 Hopeful winner Strong Mandate and Tapiture, who is among the likely favorites for the Grade 3 Iroquois Stakes to be run Saturday night at Churchill Downs; and he sports a pedigree which suggests distance is what he wants, by Tiznow out of the dam Bayou Breeze, who was a stakes winner routing on dirt and is herself out of a sister to multiple graded stakes winning dirt router Lu Ravi, who made over $1.8 million in her career. Not that you need any extra incentive to take a short price on anyone in this race, but as well as Pletcher does with his 2yo first time starters, he also has exceptional numbers with this kind of move: 2yo maiden’s going route-to-sprint on dirt in their second career start, past five years, 18-for-49, 37%, $2.35 ROI (vis DRF’s Formulator).

Mosler is the close second choice on the morning line, and has obvious merits as well, after making a promising debut of his own upstate. Going a shorter sprint for a patient Bill Mott, who isn’t necessarily looking for his babies to run big right off the bat - that likely goes double for a million dollar yearling like Mosler - he ran on well through the stretch in what appeared to be nothing but a test run. Mosler also has plenty of pedigree on his side, being a half-brother to the multiple Grade 1 winner Contested, who won both the Test and Acorn here for Bob Baffert last year. Like Pletcher, Mott sports huge numbers with his 2yo maidens stretching out on dirt for a second career start: Past 5 years, 6-for-14, 43%, $3.39 ROI.

Long Water is the third of the big three, and to me is perhaps the most interesting of them, at least from a wagering perspective, since he does seem likely to be no better than third choice in the wagering. Like his main rivals, Long Water is well-bred being out of Breeders’ Cup Distaff winner Round Pond, who banked over $1.9 million in her career. Long Water was behind Rebranded in that strong race upstate, but I’m not so sure he didn’t run at least as well after having less speed early getting outrun, and finishing with some interest.

All three of these horses are potentially very good and have a chance to go on to run in bigger races. That may not translate to a major wagering opportunity on Sunday, but it is an important race to watch for future reference, and I’ll be keeping an eye on the board to see if the wagering goes overboard on any one or two of these horses, creating an opportunity to craft a wager.

Spot Play

LONG WATER (#2, 4-1) just our for the exercise in debut at the Spa, a race won by subsequent Hopeful winner; 2nd time starters a trainer specialty.- Chuck Kuehhas


Closer Looks >>


Closer Looks >>

Vulnerable Favorite

REVEALING MOMENT (#4, 1-1) didn’t work for a month after being claimed & is entered for new connections $10K lower than price paid at SAR. Rivals look soft, but suspicion remains odds-on chalk can go flame out.- Marcus Hersh


Race #5 Moving on to some firmer wagering opinions. The first race I’ll be looking to get seriously involved in is the 5th, as it marks the return of a horse who made my “watch” list after his debut upstate. MISTER DOOLEY (#10, 6-1) made his first start in the last race on opening day at Saratoga, and flashed some promise despite an eventful trip. Here are my trip notes for the race, and for Mister Dooley’s trip, via the NOTES feature in Formulator:

Moderate pace; acted up gate getting away at back then steadied to last early,trailed b/s,greenly lugging in all thru stretch & cldnt be ridden but was still closing,good debut

Mister Dooley is likely to take his share of money in here off of that promising debut (I don’t think his trip was missed by many who were paying attention), and I do worry about post 10 a little bit, but he lands in a pretty good spot here and if he’s ready to go forward with that debut experience behind him, he should be very tough in here.

Spot Play

MISTER DOOLEY (#10, 6-1) had all kinds of trouble in that debut try at Saratoga, and the recent works suggest he'll move forward in his 2nd career start; should be tough with a clean trip. -Kenny Peck

Vulnerable Favorite

DOWNGOESFRAZIER (#12, 3-1) actually ran ok last time, but should have in his third start off the layoff; saddled with extreme outside post here and may be overbet a bit due to phony troubled trip. - Chuck Kuehhas


Closer Looks >>
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Race 7 Race 7 is for 2yo maidens going seven-furlongs on turf, and is led by Bill Mott’s More Than Ready colt CRESCENT (#8, 3-1), one of the likely favorites on the card I’ll be looking to beat. Crescent does have enough pedigree to suggest that the switch to grass will be fine for him, as More Than Ready is a strong turf influence, and Crescent’s dam, while a solid runner on dirt a few years ago for Bobby Frankel, was a stakes winner on synthetic and ran fine in her lone turf effort - beaten less than 3 lengths in a Grade 3 event at Hollywood Park. That said, based on his two races at Saratoga, I can’t take a short price on this horse. Crescent appeared to make a solid debut in a very strong and very live race, but closer scrutiny of that race suggests that perhaps Crescent didn’t run as well as it appeared. The pace in that July 25th race was extremely fast, with a three-way duel involving both the 1-2 finishers, so while Crescent did have a good finish, it came with the aid of a highly favorable scenario. When he returned to the races a few weeks later, Crescent was predictably sent off as a short-priced favorite and completely bombed finishing last. As far as options against Crescent go, there are several interesting firsters - my preference of those runners is HADRIAN (#10, 6-1), a Team Valor homebred who attracted Javier Castellano - and The Chief’s ENTHRONE (#9, 8-1), who has found some tough spots to begin his career, and has some turf pedigree.

Closer Looks >>
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Race 9

Race 9’s ML favorite is SUSTAINED (#1, 3-1), a promising 2yo for top connections in 2012 who in my opinion simply has not gone forward this year. YES IT’S PINK (#2, 4-1) and KISS ME LOLA (#7, 7-2) are both viable alternatives to the favorite, but I want to throw one big priced idea out there as some food-for-thought. FREGE (#6, 20-1) has some obvious question marks in this spot as she tries other winners for the first time while returning from an 8 month layoff, and perhaps this will just be a case of a horse needing a race. But, if nothing else, Frege’s win at Gulfstream back in January is worth checking out. Far from getting clear with a perfect trip, as it may appear on paper, Frege was actually a very strong and convincing winner that day. My notes show this:

4w thru1T going forward,kept going up b/s & moved by everyone to get to clear lead farT,kept it up all the way to finish,strong

I don’t love taking horses off of long layoffs, but Frege has to be a big price in this race and is eligible to still improve in what is essentially her 3yo debut, so my idea is to try to get her into the mix somewhere, both with and without Sustained.

Vulnerable Favorites:

GRIFFIN ROCK (#7, 5-2) yes, his last couple of turf figures are faster than what most of these have run; but this 5yo is 0-25 on the turf and 1-40 lifetime so you just have to play against this one. - Chuck Kuehhas

Live Longshot

QUEEN OF MAMBO (#5, 12-1) has been on the sidelines since main track dud this spring at KEE; prior two were solid turf efforts down in Florida. Could be live at double digit odds.- Chuck Kuehhas


Closer Looks >>
10 Vulnerable Favorite

ORINO (#2, 5-2) got away with slow pace on speed-promoting Spar inner turf en route to win overturned by DQ. Drawn inside two other pace players in what looks like a deeper field this time. - Marcus Hersh