09/11/2013 10:16AM

Belmont: Closer Looks for September 12, 2013


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Race 1

He didn't break that sharply but he made a nice move late when Velasquez moved him off the rail mid stretch in a slightly shorter race at this level in his latest; the added yardage should help and he could be ready for a peak effort in just his third start since he came back from a lengthy layoff; hard to toss any of them in this competitive field.
It took him more than a year to make it back to the races after he ran a huge race in the Grade 2 Gulfstream Park Sprint Championship and he just hasn't shown much in either of his two starts back; he did have an excuse in his latest, though, and he should appreciate the move to a distance he is 2 for 2 at; there is no panicky drop and Castellano is attracted but we're still going to look in other directions.
Willing to toss his latest as he broke last and that was a pretty tough group considering last year's Breeders' Cup Sprint winner Trinniberg went off at 6-1; the main concern is he has gotten away slowly in his last two starts but they usually come back running when Pletcher brings them back in this time period; he's a Grade 3 winner at the distance and his five-furlong bullet on the training track could be telling us something; big shot.
Don Dulce
He's been on a roll latetly and he was very game when he held off Austi Austin in his latest at Saratoga; obviously he is on top of his game right now and if he can run as well for his new trainer he should be in the mix; not a big change as Perillo has been Ness's assistant for a while and should know the horse well; using in the exotics.
Aussi Austin
He was coming off a bit of a layoff when he lost by a nose to Don Dulce and he came back with a big effort in the $98K Alydar where he appeared to be full of run for most of the race but was stuck on the rail with nowhere to go; he should get a better trip here and note the strong stats showing in the jockey-trainer category; the pick.
Bellamy Brew
5-year-old has only made it to the races five times but he has fired just about every time he's been led over; he's been off for 10 months but the past five years Mott has won with 20 percent of his starters coming back from a layoff of 300 days or more so he should ready to roll; the shape of the race should suit him and he could be gone if he breaks on top; don't sell short because he won't be.
It has been over a year since he won but he has run a couple of races that would be good enough to win this and he got stuck behind a slow pace in Don Dulce's win July 29; claimed by Jacobson who has big numbers when he runs them back the first time; the main concern is he's never gone this short in his whole career so not sure a one-turn mile is really what he wants to do.-Randy Goulding

Race 2

Gabriel's Flame
Sire is 24-for-263 with 1st-turf starters; is the 1st foal from the dam who did not race on grass (0-for-1); the runner-up finisher from last posted a 58 Beyer speed figure in his next-out PRX-MSW victory; 0-for-16 jockey-trainer combo; is stretching out seeking answers.
Sire is 21-for-188 with 1st-turf starters; is the 1st foal out of an 0-for-1 dam who did not race on grass; 62-day absence since trailing throughout in the 21-1 educational unveiling when troubled at the gate break; improved worktab for this but a 1-for-21-fresh trainer since 2012 suggests we take a wait and see approach.
All Tied Up
Adds blinkers for a 37%-winning 2nd start trainer who yields 36%-MSW-to-maiden claiming winners; the worktab for this does not suggest a significant improvement but was bumped at the break in the debut and has every right to move forward in a big way here.
Go Zone
Sire is 8-for-27 with 1st-turf starters; 0-for-31 with 2-year-old 1st-time starters; is out of an 0-for-3 dam (0-for-1 turf) who produced 1 winner from 2 other foals to race (2-for-11 Five and Nines 27K) (1-7 turf 18K).
Third Avenue Cello
Sire is 2-for-3 with 1st-turf starters; 4-for-17 with 2-year-old 1st-time starters; is the 1st foal out of a 1-for-8 dam (39K) (0-for-2, 2K turf); the debut trainer yields just 3% winners with 1sters since 2012.
Sire is 34-for-271 with 1st-turf starters; 43-for-294 with 2-year-old 1st-time starters; is out of an 0-for-2 dam (2K) (0-for-1 turf) who produced 3 winners from 5 other foals to race; 1 foal Tajaawwed raced on North American grass (3-for-12, 223K).
Nauset Beach
Sire is 16-for-106 with 1st-turf starters; SW-dam did not race on grass (5-for-28. 322K); 1 of 4 foals to race on turf is a grass winner (4-for-22 Outstanding Henny 93K turf); finished right behind the 2-back runner-up finisher who Beyered 78 in his next-out SAR-MSW win.
Frogman Mel
Claimed off a high-win percentage trainer which is usually not a good win angle but the new barn is yielding 24% winners 1st-off-the-buy; 2 troubled trips but a good sign the rider stays here despite the barn change; the debut runner-up and show finishers Beyered 79-73 in next-out CBY-100K stakes and SAR-MSW wins.
Sea Hunt
Sire is 76-for-587 with 1st-turf starters; 54-for-509 with 2-year-old 1st-time starters; is the 1st foal out of a stakes-placed dam (4-for-15, 133K) (1-for-4 turf 29K); 23%-winning 1ster barn with maiden claimers adds to the appeal.-Art Gropper

Race 3

Mei Ling
Ran 3rd first time out so that's encouraging, though let's face it, she wasn't really a threat at any point (beaten 10 lengths); still, it was an encouraging first run and with that pedigree this (routing) surely figures to play better for here; Hushion not only a superb 35% 2nd time out but sharp when addling blinks, too, as he does here (31%).
Guilty Verdict
Many of Shug's firsters are a bit sluggish first time out; this gal took a while to get into stride but then ran on very nicely; bred all oer to route so the trip should be right up her alley, and Shug, of course, quite good 2nd time out; 3 sibs have yet to win from 2, 8 and 2 starts, respectively, but mom and dad were both top-class; 4 works since including a nice :48.80B here Sept. 7 encourage.
One Night
Sire Distorted Humor gets over 12% 2yo debut winners, according to DRF sire stats; sire won 8 of 23 for $769K, was multiple G2 SW/SP, also G1 SP, produced G1 Ky. Derby/G1 Preakness winner Funny Cide; dam's 2 foals are Endless Fancy (1 win, $56K) and Moneygrabber (2 wins, $31K); dam won only start for $25K; cost a pretty penny ($340K) so there likely are some expectations here, and the works are promising.
Divided Attention
No facator first time at SAR last month but you can always be forgiving about a debut run; note, too, trainer McLaughlin is superb 2nd time out; also, plenty of cause for optimism due to pedigree as she's by a HOY and kin to Folklore (4 wins, $945K, multiple G1 SW including BC Juvenile Fillies, champion 2yo filly) and 5 other winners.
Cosi Celeste
Cost $325K so there likely are some expectations here; often Jerkens takes his time with his young horses, and considerign this gal is bred all over to route there was no need to hammer down on her for those 2 summer sprints; to her credit she kept to her task decently at SAR Aug. 18; now gets a shot at more ground and she's kin to Fight for Ally (12 wins, $546K, multiple SW, G3 SP) and 3 other winners.
Julia Tutwiler
Good speed shown in her Aug. 4 debut though she weakened just a bit and lost 3rd in the final yards (nipped by today's foe Guilty Verdict); still, that was a very nice first run; being by Pulpit out of a Touch Gold mare this (routing) figures to be what she wants, and she cost $290K; Mott, of course, solid 2nd time out (13%) and a bullet :48.20B at SAR Sept. 3 looks like a big thumbs-up, too; 1 of 2 sibs is winner Highest Order (1 win, routing, $18K).-Michael Hammersly

Race 4

Dust Em Mick
All three of her turf starts have been solid performances and today's seven furlong distance might be right in her wheelhouse; add in a high win percentage barn and there's plenty to be positive about in this direction.
Lemon Song
She put together a decent run to break her maiden in her turf debut in her final start as a 2-year-old and she ran well over this turf course and at today's distance just two starts ago; she can get herself into the mix against this group of 35k claimers.
Mighty Reward
Like the improvement she showed two and three starts ago and her latest race was a tough assignment for her; winner from latest won next out at Sar on 8/23 going 5 1/2f over turf vs. 50k OPC's with an 89 Beyer and more recently finished 2nd in a 200k stakes at Prx going 5f over turf with a 92 Beyer, and 3rd finisher won next out at Sar on 8/18 going 5 1/2f over turf vs. N1X rivals with a 77 Beyer.
She's capable of getting herself into the mix against these on her best day, but when seeing her career mark of 18-1-6-4, it's probably best to approach her with caution when considering her for the top spot.
Outside of a performance where she upset a stakes field at over 50-1, her form just hasn't been strong enough to help give her the look of a contender in this spot; prefer to give the nod to others in this one.
Lady Utopia
Her career best Beyer Speed Figure is 59, and from two turf starts, her best figure is a 32; she obviously needs to dial up the performance of her life in order to get the better of this field.
Bricks and Clicks
This looks like a sensible drop in class for this miss and also like the idea of her turning back in distance; third place finisher from latest won next out at Sar on 8/28 going 1m over turf vs. 35k OPC's with a 75 Beyer.
Brickhouse Baby
She looks like another in here who will have to find a way to show up with a performance that is much stronger than anything she's done so far in order to contend; viewing her as being more of an outsider.
Elusive Design
She was a sharp winner from off the pace in her career debut but it would have been nice to have seen her show more at second asking while making her first start in New York; leaning toward others.
Sands of Humor
Nicks has been pretty quiet in the claiming game over the past few years, so it's interesting to see this miss show up for him after a 20k claim, especially with Velazquez getting the call; she looks like she can be competitive against competition of this caliber.
Tie Dye
She ran well over this turf course two starts back when getting the better of today's rival Correspondent and that level of performance can get her into the mix against these; that said, going to look in another direction for the top spot.
Chelsea Road
A little concerned that she might prefer distances shorter than today's seven-furlong assignment, but her turf form has been solid, and she boasts the best last race Beyer Speed Figure in here; she's tough to ignore with Castellano aboard.
Off My Cloud
There really isn't much in the way of dirt form signed on in the main body of this race and this looks like a good spot for this filly to try to bounce back from a sub par performance after a layoff; she's one of the stronger options to consider if this race gets taken off the turf.
So Blessed
Multiple stakes placed filly enters this race after earning a career best Beyer Speed Figure in her latest outing and like to see that she gave a solid account of herself at today's distance just two starts back; this is the first call for Castellano.
Although she's been in favorable spots, her two most recent races have been a couple of the stronger performances of her career and she's making her first start after a claim for a barn that has done some of their best work at Belmont Park over the years.-Brian Pochman

Race 5

No Nukes
Not a bad set of works showing but there is a good chance he is going to need a race coming off this long of a layoff; the past five years his trainer is 1 for 27 with horses coming back from a break of 180 days or more; plus the only time he made an impact was when he ran in a maiden claimer for state breds; passing.
Not sure if he didn't handle the wet conditions or if being a first-time Lasix user threw him off his game, but if you toss his last race he has to be considered a major player; he finished second in his three previous races here and the horse he finished just in front of two back won his next start in a MSW for NY-breds with a 70 Beyer Speed Figure; contender.
D J's Hope
He ran the best race of his career in his debut last Jan. but has been struggling since; this might be a good spot for hm tough, as there doesn't appear to be a lot of other speed; blinkers go back on and there are some decent works showing; we know he can fire fresh and it wouldn't be surprising to see him take them a long way if he breaks alertly.
Easy Street
4-year-old has been off for over a year and he will be making his first start for a trainer that can have them ready to roll coming off the bench - the past five years Levine has a 27 percent strike rate with horses coming back in a year or more; he didn't show much speed in any of his races last year but he did finish third behind a next out winner the only time he went this distance; consider for the exotics.
It Matters
Debuts for Turner who the past five years is 0 for 22 with first-time starters; sire has had two debut winners from 72 starters; four winning sibs to report including Grade 3 placed stakes winner Southern Fiction who banked $299K; works just average so we're going to pass.
Escape to the Moon
First timer is by Malibu Moon who is respectable 14 percent with first time starters; stakes-placed dam won five races and earned $188K: lone sib is a full-brother to this guy and in his debut for the same owner and trainer he romped by over six lengths in a similar race with a similar work pattern; the pick.
One Red Cat
Goes from one good trainer to another after being claimed by Galluscio who the past five years has a 21 percent strike rate with newly claimed horses; he is stepping up after getting beat for $20K but this didn't come up that tough and he appears to be heading in a postiive direction; it is also encouraging to see Castellano accept the call; contender.
Hidden Warrior
4-year-old he's been working nicely leading up to his return and Rice can have them ready to roll coming off lengthy layoffs; all four sibs can run including $296K stakes-placed Game Token and $248K stakes winner La Concerto; works are fine and he looks like another possibility in a wide-open event.-Randy Goulding

Race 6

Offered little after breaking on the slow side first out in the Spa slop behind a winner who returned to score; colt goes for a barn that improves them with racing, but their recent numbers with today's applicable angles aren't much and though the sire gets 13% first time surface winners from his offspring there's not much turf pedigree on the dam's side.
Maggie's Lad
He's been working in Florida for his unveiling for a barn that hasn't had any recent luck with its limited newcomers; sire gets 11% first out winners and does hit with 13% of his initial turf starters while the dam won twice on the green; all 4 of his sibs to race are winners, 3 of whom scored on the lawn including G3 SP, 2 time turf winner Deciphering Dreams who has banked 92K.
Forever Utopia
Turns back off a mid race move in his Spa route debut run; barn boasts solid numbers with both second out runners and those cutting back to a shorter trip; dam never tried the green while winning twice over a wet track prior to dropping 147K earner Ultimate Empire who also won a couple of times in the off going but failed to hit the board in 2 grass spins; may go better if rain washes this off.
Momma's Mark
First part of the coupling took a step forward second out when moved to the green upstate; dam was a first time surface winner and she dropped 2 turf winners - 137K earner Image of Disco and SP, 89K earner Image of Noon - so maybe he deserves a shot to move forward second over this footing.
Offered improved lick in the slop while wearing blinkers for the second time off the freshening upstate; he'll face more than just a few foes while looking to get on the green for the initial time here, but he certainly worked quickly over this type of footing this summer and he's kin to Margaret Lilian, a quick 2 time turf sprint winner for this outfit; SP dam was a grass winner but this guy's sire gets only about 5% winners from his initila starters over this type of footing; speed makes him prominent and the circuit's top pilot sticks.
Something's Coming
Barn hasn't had any recent luck with newcomers and this guy's slow and short breeze tab doesn't impress; sire gets 10% first out winners and nearly 13% first surface winners from his offspring and the SW dam's 4 wins all came on the green while banking 351K; all 3 of his sibs are winners, but the one who ran in the states was winless from 4 turf starts.
Dowse's Beach
Other half of the entry boasts just a few short breezes for his debut, but this outfit certainly knows how to get them ready; sire gets 9% winners both first out and in their initial turf starts and the limited sprint winning dam dropped 5 winners including multiple SW and 545K earner At the Disco who scored 3 times on the green.
Sounds of Saratoga
Showed solid early lick before backing out of it in his pretty well bet debut run at Saratoga; barn hasn't had any recent luck with its new turfers and this guy's sire is just 1 for 93 with his surface newcomers; unraced dam's lone foal to race was a limited wet track sprint winner.
Social Rebellion
He's run 3 times on dirt and enters this on the improve off a decent try in his first start with statebreds upstate last month; barn does boast some recent luck with its initial turf starters but this gal's sire is just 1 for 15 with that type and he's the first foal to race out of a dam who failed to even hit the board in 9 grassy spins.
Got going too late in the Saratoga slop first out but did offer some late interest for an outfit that's had some recent luck with babies; winner of that heat returned to take a Spa stake a couple of weeks back with a 73 Beyer; sire gets 10% first surface winners from his offspring and the winless dam never tried the green prior to dropping 1 turf winner as well as popular New York bred and G1 SP, SW Naughty New Yorker who banked over 1 million on this circuit; has a right to improve.
Pete's Fleet
He's got turf experience and he didn't run so bad over it when third in that Spa Debut run; barn hasn't had any recent luck with runners who have had a race and he hasn't shown any early foot, but the added trip could help him today; worth a look.
Outside drawn colt makes his first start for a barn that wins with its newcomers and his sire gets 11% winners right out of the box, but only 6% winners from his initial turf starters; the dam won twice prior to dropping 4 multiple winners including multiple SW and 877K earner Gold and Roses, but her foals were a combined 0 for 9 on the green; may could have some ability, but may be better on dirt.
Mental Iceberg
MTO is by a sire who gets 11% winners from his debut runners and the unraced dam dropped a 2 time winner from 2 foals to race; drills aren't much and the barn doesn't start many newcomers.
Gone Country
MTO's sire hits at an 11% clip with his newcomers and the unraced dam dropped 2 sprint winners including 11 time winner and 124K earner Kid Freud; barn fires first out and there are several bullet drills in the arsenal.
MTO he was rumored to be one of the fastest things on 4 legs first time out and took all the money before a very rough trip did him in and the guy he finished ahead of returned to score next out with a 63 Beyer; he's kin to a couple of good ones in SW and 248K earner La Concerto and hard hitter Game Token who banked 296K so wouldn't be surprised if he has plenty more to offer today; barn moves them forward second out so we'd expect this guy to be tough to down at a short price if the rains come and he gets to meet the starter.
Empire Dreams
MTO brings plenty of early lick to the table after giving in to a next out SW in the Spa slop last month; expect he'll again be gunning for the bell and maybe the track is playing kindly to front runners but he will have an added panel and a half to deal with here and he's already had stamina issues; loses Castellano to the guy to his inside but remains a front end threat if he goes.-Steve Grabowski

Race 7

It can't be a good feeling when you put in a claim and horse has to get vanned off; at least Jacobson has given this guy time; senior citizen must prove it on grass but that last race came back live as the show horse took a $50K optional next out, 4th finisher won a $32K shore optional next out and the winner repeated in a $90K stakes with a solid 100 Beyer; respect everything from this barn.
Malibu Way
Colt showed talent from Day One; it's not easy to win a stakes in just the 3rd start and note runner was troubled in the first 2 starts this year; show horse 5/15 cashed next out in a $62.5K optional, then was out of the money in a $35K optional; fact he won the debut gives him a right to fire fresh; should be right there when the smoke clears.
Radiohead (GB)
Came back running off the over a year layoff and won sprinting but has not been able to get the ink on the contract since; over 5 clear when a tough beat 2nd at this trip, the feeling is he can get the distance; has right to flash more speed on the stretch out but there are others with designs on the top; checked last time when show horse was clear; could get brave if he can creep along on the lead.
In My Eyes
Won back-to-back races at the end of 2011, stopped in next in a $75K optional, and the rest not good either; hung wide from marooned slot in last, runner has more speed than he just showed; just may be the bomb in the gimmicks.
Pro goes from one good barn to another and Rodriquez obviously has a good eye for a claim; if you figure he just needed the last then you can make a case for a move forward; proven vs. tougher back in the day, place horse 6/2 cashed next out in a $20K optional, then was 4th at that same level; must be left in the hopper.
Situational Ethics
Disrespected on the tote off the shore score at 18-1 in last, place horse in SAR finale took a $50K optional next out with an 84 Beyer for Rice; can't be thrilled with the local slate; look for him late if at all.
Coach Royal
Would love to see him find that killer instinct, check out the 7 slices; he has tried stakes foes and beat higher-priced rivals in Oceanport; needs a rebound run from this very capable barn.
Le Deluge
Brown good with everything including off the red tag and first-time blinks; beaten chalk back in September of last year and not sharp since; the 6/22 winner clicked right back in a $50K optional, then was out of the money in a $51K Delaware stakes; a player on connections alone.
Matt and Jesse
Some may not have handled the sloppy sealed strip in last; note runners in the company line were clear; not close in any of the turf efforts; best try on grass is when he was beaten 4 lengths; he has some things to prove.
Volcano Run
Respect hot claim box item; he has only stretched out once before going 7 and a half on grass at GP to a sloppy miler at BEL and was 2nd beaten over 7 lengths; fact he is proven locally and then for a higher price is genuine; the hotter the pace the better for this guy.
Kings Village
He's danced all the dances this year, just slowly; gelding got away with the pedestrian splits 3 back and still caved in and the last win was against $5K N3L Penn National foes last year; passing.
Dan and Sheila
Runner was in much better form when he won for this price last year; he was coming off a nose beat in a $20K claimer with an 83 Beyer; stuck in the 72 to 78 Beyer twilight zone of late; hard to boost off the last effort.
Marilyn's Guy
The class is there off the G3 win last year and he has the excuse of the mud in last; 5th finisher in last beat $25K claimers next out and the 7th finisher took a $30K CD claimer in next; runner has always had a penchant for finding the wire and nothing wrong with hitting the exacta in 14 of 29; note he also won in that 2nd off the layoff run to kick off 2011; expect much better result.-Brian Mulligan

Race 8

Island Sunset
4 tries in spots similar to this weren't too hot, though he was a decent 4th in the slop here June 7; still, his best work of late has come vs. lesser foes but he's got some versatility and it's nice to see Galluscio tries him again in a spot where he can't lose him via claim.
Where's Danny (IRE)
2 nice wins at SAR this summer, though those came vs. maidens and restricted claimers; then tried this level there Aug. 30 and yes, he did finish 3rd, but he was no threat at any point (beaten 9 1/2 lengths); this spot may be a smidge easier but not by all that much; has shown the versatility to give rider Luzzi options at least.
Leilani's Ticket
Set the pace under pressure for $35K at SAR July 24 but wilted in the lane; that wouldn't be so bad except the guys who ran 1st and 3rd (Much Stronger, Mewannarose) finished ahead of him; nice to see Perillo not only saw fit to claim him that day but feels good enough about him to bring him back where she can't lose him via another claim ...though it means a tougher spot to be sure.
Was on quite a roll from Feb. 22 through May 19 (2 1sts, 2 2nds, 1 3rd in 5 starts) but then came a very dull run here June 6; Barbara opted to put him away and give him plenty of time to regroup; good news is he returns without a tag attached, but note regular rider Ortiz Jr. ends up elsewhere and he's not facing NY-breds only today, either.
Much Stronger
Holds a strong hand; after a couple dull mud tries here he romped over $35KB foes at SAR July 24 and then won a strong $75K claimer there Aug. 15; love that Jacobson does not risk him for a tag again today, and those last 2 may indicate he's as good as ever; that being said, if the track comes up muddy those 2 spring tries in the goo here in May and June hint he may not care for such footing.
Assured Victory
Wasn't disgraced in some races like this at AQU and here this past winter/spring; form tailed off in August with 2 dull outings but it's great to see not only that Levine saw fit to claim him last time for $10K but brings him back WITHOUT a tag attached; has won here and has speed; certainly a return to top form makes him scary, but off those last 2 dull August outings is that the type of performance level we're to expect, hmmmm?
Opened up a huge lead sprinting for $35KB at SAR Aug. 18 and paid the price late as he ended up gasping for air; no reason in the world for that type of run - sure, hye has speed, but note plenty of good races where he doled it out judiciously and stayed on well; Velazquez tries his hand and you have to like that bullet :48B move since Sept. 6 at SAR, as it hints there are no ill effects from that Aug. 18 sizzle-and-fizzle.
No match for Much Stronger at SAR July 24 when 3rd, beaten 7 3/4 lengths by that foe; in his defense, that was also his first start in a couple months; downside is he then ran poorly at about this level at SAR Aug. 31; again, however, you can be a bit forgiving as he also caught slop that day and may not have cared for it; Velasquez takes the call and it's nice to see no panicky drop by a sharp trainer.
Frostys Whirl
Looked good blasting maidnes by 5 1/2 at PEN July 17 as that hints he's headed the right way; it was even more impressive considering it was his first start in 11 months and first on dirt; all that being said, the Beyer came back a bit light (61) and now it's first time vs. winners, first time here and first action in almost 2 months so the hurdles are many and not insignificant.-Michael Hammersly