09/17/2013 9:34AM

Belmont: Closer Looks for September 18, 2013


DRF Plus Preview

Race 1

Daughter of Forestry, who is 13 percent with first time starting 2-year-olds, has a strong set of works showing and McLaughlin is off to a strong start at the meet; dam didn't win but her only other foal is a 2-year-old stakes winner that won her debut; needs to hustle leaving from the rail.
Rogue Lady
El Corredor is 23 or 290 with first-time starting 2-year-olds; this is the first foal out of a 1/20 dam that earned $26K; the past five years Servis has a 9 percent strike rate with debuting juveniles; prefer others.
Storm Swept
Homebred is by Stormy Atlantic who is 54/512 with first-time starting 2-year-olds; 8 of 9 sibs are winners including $331K stakes winner Changing Weather who won his debut and placed in the Grade 2 Futurity; strong rider-trainer combo; contender.
Hide My Heart
Debuts for Mareina who the past five years has a 25 percent strike rate with debuting juveniles; Artie Schiller below average as a debut sire; 2 of 3 sibs are winners the best being $94K stakes winner Byenne who won on dirt, turf and synthetics; she also just missed in her debut before winning her second start; playable
Only horse in the field with a race and it was a decent effort considering she banged into the starting gate and then went very wide around the turn; Mott on fire at the meet and he has solid stats with second-time shooters; stakes winning dam won her 2-year-old debut; lone sib is stakes placed and also won her debut as a juvenile; the pick.
Bullet fired in her last work out of the gate and since 2009 Brown is 15 percent with debuting babies; Bernardini is roughly 12 percent with 2-year-olds making their first start; 2 of 3 sibs to race are stakes winners including $636K Beautician who placed in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies - she also won her debut; $475K yearling appears to be primed for a big effort; contender.-Randy Goulding

Race 2

Tanglewood Tale
Steps up seeking her third straight score while returning to a venue at which she's yet to find the winner's circle; gray's positional foot should help her work out a solid trip from here and the way she's been going maybe the added half panel doesn't bother her today; consider.
Darling Bridezilla
Fresh filly switches surfaces while cutting back to sprint off a beaten chalk effort on the local lawn from which the winner returned to score upstate; she broke her maiden on dirt so this footing is far from foreign to her, but she does have limited one turn experience; barn fires frseh, though, and there is speed in front of her in this one.
Single Forever
Looked good in beating cheaper fields of her peers earlier in the year over the inner track and now she'll try older allowance runners; undefeated filly fired off works to begin her career and she boasts a regular breeze pattern of late for this one; with a right to return faster she looks to be a big player from off the pace.
Local G3 SP filly was given the Spa meeting off after nearly posting the mild upset in her first with older in the Victory Ride; gal who beat her in that one returned to set the pace in Saratoga's G1 Test before faltering at that 7 panel trip; barn excels fresh and she has the early foot to take it to this group from the bell; looks like they'll have her to catch and beat.
Cape Cod Carol
Statebred was't beaten much by restricted stakes runners in each of her 2 upstate spins and now she'll try open company; her pilot opts elsewhere as she returns to a venue at which she's hit the board in all 3 tries including her most recent score; tactical foot should give her every shot to prove she's good enough, but have to question whether she is; prefer others on the win end.
Daddy Loves Gold
Tries the main track for the first time after tiring from her pace efforts in a Spa turf route at the level; filly broke her maiden at one turn on the local sod and though she's the first foal to race out of an unraced dam, her male pedigree influences suggest she'll like the surface switch; she's certainly worked all summer as if she'll have little trouble taking to dirt in the afternoon and the price should be right.
Merry Meadow
Took her 11 cracks to break her maiden and then she jumped right in to beat cheaper winners with a career best number upstate; improving filly breezed ok here last week for this tougher assignment and the circuit's top pilot will stick with her; contender from tracking range.
Laguna Girl
Last out graduate tries winners for the first time here after being beaten in her prior couple of starts against gals she'll line up with again today; last weekend's breeze suggests she retains her solid form and the outside draw could put this quick breaker in a nice stalking spot from the bell.
E Z Passer
Outside drawn filly was in against a level better off the win upstate and didn't have much to offer from the inside slot; mare hasn't run as fast of late as she did around this time last year and she has settled for a lot of minor awards; maybe if things heat up in front of her she can rally on for a small share, but don't think she's much of a threat to win this.-Steve Grabowski

Race 3

Miss McKeown
Has not raced past 7F; Grade-1 stakes-winning sire took 5-of-13 dirt routes (417K); she is the 1st foal out of a 2-for-9 dam (39K) who only raced on turf and synthetic surfaces; the show runner from her debut posted a 65 Beyer speed figure in her next-out 25K-maiden claiming win.
Exits a field-best Beyer; she has not raced past 6.5F yet; G1-sire at 1M and 1-16th raced exclusively on synthetic surfaces; is the 1st foal from the dam who's only start was a CD-MSW dirt 6th-place finish at 6.5F; the 4th and 6th-place finishers from last Beyered 43-36 in next-out MTH-DEL 10K and $7,500-maiden claimers.
Taylor Jagger
Declining Beyers but just missed in last on grass; even finish 2-back vs. the runner-up finisher who Beyered 66 in her next-out PRX-25K-maiden claiming win; one of her exacta finishes was racing longer on dirt when racing right on the lead; 3-time beaten favorite seeks to make amends.
Flamingo Lane
Adds blinkers for start 2; she has not raced past 5.5F yet; Grade 1-sire took 2-of-4 dirt routes (568K); she is out of an 0-for-2 dam who finished 9th in her only Mile dirt test; her only other foal to race 3-0-0-0 Northeast Abbie who never raced past 6.5F.
See See See
Even-sprint 5th-place finish the only other time racing on BEL dirt; lone-exacta finish on the main track was January a 6F-AQU dirt-16K-maiden claimer; best Beyer on grass but finished last in most-recent loss; others appeal more.
Defeated 2 runners combined in the 3 defeats; 80-day absence following latest loss when the 1st-blinkered start represents a career-best Beyer; the workouts off the bench are not very enticing; another new rider seeking answers.
Malibu Queen
Middle moved in latest but had no answers when the real running began so stretching out this far is a major concern; the 2-back runner-up finisher Beyered 73 in her next-out SAR-20K-maiden claiming win; a good sign 1st time for the new barn that she worked smartly for this on dirt; figures to be an early factor then hopes to hang on late.
Lady C Note
Grade 2-sire went 3-for-6 in dirt routes (397K) and is 18-for-165 with 1st-time starters; is out of a 4-0-0-1 dam who went 2-0-0-1 in dirt routes (1K) the show finish was at 1 Mile producing 2 winners from 2 other foals to race including 4-for-36 Used to be a King (54K); both foals to race finished 6th and 7th in races at 1 Mile.
1st time on dirt with a solid-gate drill August 3 but then a lot of time between published works; defeated 2 runners from last 2 starts combined including latest a career-low Beyer; raced on the lead 3-back producing her best finish and figures to be a pace presence today.-Art Gropper

Race 4

La Java
Disappointing thus far but she certainly is bred to handle this extra distance; her sire is the brilliant Medaglia d'Oro who won 5.75 million including multiple G1 success; the dam was zero for 8; winning siblings include 216K earner Cribnote; change of venue can help her cause.
Prize Taker
Can return instant dividends for the new connections in light of the trainer's exceptional win percentage; this filly ran a very respectable third in her last last appearance here but was aided by a swift early pace that day; worth some follow-up despite the class hike.
Sky Lassie
Finished alongside of Prize Taker 2 starts back and then did not fare well when negotiating 2 turns at Parx; has valuable experience at the one-turn mile and, like the aforementioned rival, may need a strong early pace now to be effective.
After a fine debut run at the course and distance last season, she has failed to finish in the money regardless of surface; the latest half-mile breeze, however, was a major improvement; her running style mirrors most of her opponents today though.
Owns this field's best lifetime Beyer but that was achieved over the round mile of the inner dirt; flashed some prompting speed in her May getaway race and can be a forward factor today because of the pace nature of the field; very fine a.m. move on 8/28 should help the cause.
Turned in a modest rally in her maiden voyage upstate; her sire won a G3 and 836K while the dam lost her only attempt; winning siblings include 16K bankroller Tomorrows Moon; has to get into the race at an early juncture.
Carole Lee
This lass has a bit more early speed than most of her foes but remains a question mark at a mile; faced only 3 rivals in her last visit here when running into a blowout winner; seems likely she will have to settle for minor spoils again.
Let Me Be Nuts
Striking workout only 11 days ago, combined with the blinker addition, should help upgrade this filly; should have gained some education in that turf debut last month when launching a strong middle move; worth some consideration here especially with the weight advantage.
First start of the year for this lady who ran a solid race in her only appearance at this configuration; returning breeze pattern shows steady progression and a Hall of Fame rider is named; should be able to stay within striking range.
The selection despite the gaps in her portfolio; she is in the hands of owner/trainer Vasquez, the second leading conditioner at Delaware Park; this daughter of Friendly Island ran the top race of her career at the course and distance; outside post may prove a tactical advantage in this case because of the soft pace anticipated.-Jim Kachulis

Race 6

Miss brings natural speed to the table and it's a chore to miss for a tag and then win a MSW; note she lost ground in the lane the 3 times she had to break from the rail; at least she blew out decently since the win and connections wouldn't mind if she starts acting like top kin Make the Moment, who banked nearly $135K as a triple winner; can't be dismissed.
A Prettydixie
At least she repeated her winning Beyer in last; miss did pick up over 3 lengths late the last time at this demanding distance; hung wide in last pair, she has the two races to draw from now; the hotter the pace the better for this gal.
White Sangria
Miss has more speed than she just flashed but not she got away with pedestrian splits two back and still caved in; 7th finisher in that 2012 closer won 3 times since, the last in a $12.5K claimer at Suffolk; show horse 12/16 took a state-bred $14K optional, lost next 5; needs a turn around.
Desert Bliss
Miss needs help up front but there appears to be a fair amount of speed in here; the way she graduated suggests she should take to this distance; must again be left in the exotic conversation at least.
Never simple to beat winners right back but she was far from disgraced last time; 9th finisher 6/23 graduated next out and the winner that day cashed at this very level in next with a 71 Beyer for Chad Brown; can never dismiss sub :22 speed.
Hlao Roo
Miss has had her chances at this level but at least she is proven on this course; did that September race last year zap her?; she had to hit the pine and has not been all that sharp since; has some things to iron out.
Nonnie Connie
She has the 2 under the girth against winners and like the way she was finishing in last; 6/20 winner repeated in a state-bred $35K optional, then was out of the money; miss has been handled by a couple of today's foes; would not want to jump on too short a number.
Image of Noon
Miss has matured and she brings it every time; snappy move on the 8th screams off the canvas; could see her sitting a nice trip, maybe 3 or so off a legit pace primed to pounce; should be in the thick if it when the smoke clears.
Ave's Halo
The June to August freshening seems to have done her a world of good; she has now had 3 taxing races in a row and is overdue to show that killer instinct; major threat with just slight improvement.
Lion Heart about about 10% with first-time turf runners in a 252-horse sample; sire took multiple G1s, banked over $1.3 million, never turfed; 1 for 9 dam lost 3 times on grass; lone half sis to race Read the Research won over $225K, but lost both turf outs; 7/21 race came back ultra live as the 2nd, 3rd, 5th and 6th finishers cashed next out and the winner has won twice since, the last in a restricted $75K stakes last Saturday at Delaware with an 80 Beyer; needs to rebound.
Atlantic's Smile
Wide in the debut, between rivals in last, never a comfortable spot; coaxed along on the lead in last but miss can show more speed if in the mood; favored every time and the blood is part of the reason; she is kin to multiple stakes winner and near $500K earner Johannesburg Smile; respect.
Guess somebody had to be third in the small field; miss split the field the last time at this level; could be looking at a similar fate.
Kimmies Lucky Star
Patriot Act 1 for 17 with first-time turfers; stakes winning 4 for 19 sire banked over $450K, was never on grass; 5 for 16 dam never turfed; lone half sis to race lost 3 times; could need experience vs. winners.
Distaffer controlled pace and outcome in the lone win setting a :49.47 and 1:15.16 pace when beating up on maiden $20K MED claimers for the lone win; was slightly closing in the last sprint when 4th; not sold on her.
Soul Opposition
Spotty race record a concern and it's possible she is just a mud lark; agile enough to overcome the incident early in last, she is in good hands but will need very best to repeat.
Bit Bustin
Soph kind of runs the same race every time; she only beat 4 to the wire the other time at this level and could be compromised by the slot if she gets a chance to suit up; has to hurry.-Brian Mulligan

Race 7

Her pedigree is all turf, but she's light on winning form after 17 starts, and her one win over turf was earned against 35-30k claimers at Monmouth Park as a favorite; she's clearly fast enough to run with these, but feel that it's fair to question her desire to win races.
Dattts Da Boss
Her form has improved with a move to turf and she's stepped it up along the Beyer Speed Figure scale since she started routing three races ago; she deserves to be listed among the contenders in this spot.
English Rhythm
She's another in here with a stout turf pedigree and her recent form has been right in line with what it will take to get the job done in this spot; she's run 1-2-3 in 12 of 15 career starts, including nine of 11 over turf, and she figures to be a tough one to keep out of the mix in here.
La Strada
Like the idea of this Pompa-owned filly getting back over turf for this as she's two-for-two in the quality start department racing over grass; going to ignore her latest start in an off-the-turf event, and Alvarado was aboard for her sharp win in her first turf attempt; must consider.
Necessary Luxury
She was the beneficiary of a very slow early pace in her one win over turf and her overall form just hasn't been strong enough to help give her a competitive look in this spot; prefer to look in another direction.
Jean's Surprise
Stakes placed filly was well meant when she shipped to Saratoga two starts ago and this looks like a decent spot for her to get over the Belmont Park turf for the first time; all of her recent races have been in the neighborhood of what it might take to get the job done in this spot.
Holiday's Jewel
She ran well in her first start for this barn after a claim in an off-the-turf event two races ago, and note the trouble in her short comment when considering the subpar performance in her latest outing; she has the look of a legitimate threat with Castellano aboard.
Mah Jong Maddnes
Her form has improved with the addition of blinkers and she's plenty capable of producing a performance that is strong enough to get her into the mix against these; going to look for her to be forwardly placed from the break and involved in the running throughout.
Miz Owell
It looks like something clicked with this filly when placed back over turf two races ago, and of the horses in the main body of this race, she shares the best last race Beyer Speed Figure with Sabouli; lightly raced miss might still have more to show us.
Kaitlyns Cat
This looks like it will be a favorable spot for this filly to land in if this race has to be taken off the turf; like the idea of her stretching out in distance for her third start back from a layoff, and note how well she performed in an off-the-turf event going 1 1/16m over the main track here in June to break her maiden.
Princess Mara
Her dirt form has been strong enough to give her a competitive look against these if this race has to be taken off the turf and she owns the early speed to get involved in the running right from the break; obvious player if she gets to go.
Belle Gallantey
Have to be concerned with all of the second and third place finishes she's settled for in her career with only three wins after 33 starts, but she's clearly fast enough to run with these, and she boasts the best last race Beyer Speed Figure.-Brian Pochman

Race 8

Anna Sophia
Pushed into the stakes after the last win and she has not been able to duplicate that 9/12/12 Beyer since; proven on the course, but she was getting a little late that day, now has to go farther; show horse in last took a $40K CD optional next out, 11th finisher won at that same level in Indiana and 3 others ran in the money; Pletcher is sharp with new stock.
Ready Signal
Game in the win last time and note she was inching away late; show horse in last was well clear too; miss can be close up, note she was just 2 off a :44 and change half two back; apparently not much of a work horse, but she comes off a nice effort and is now basically out to prove the 2 boxcar wins were no fluke.
Mariel N Kathy
Soph caught very live splits last time and just could not stand the heat; she must find a way to turn the tables on the Mott charge among others; tough beat 2 back and this appears to be a much better distance for her; interesting.
Lead Me On
Broken Vow about 10% with first-time turfers in a 384-runner sample; sire took a G2, banked over $700K, never turfed; dam 0 for 5; 3 siblings tried grass to no avail; nice bit of training to have her win in only the 2nd start after missing 2012 but she came back to earth in a thud in last; she was flattered somewhat when the winner of last won twice since, the last in a restricted $100K stakes and the show horse 1/16 won twice since, the last in a $32K shore optional with an 83 Beyer; don't ignore.
Only beat 3 in her lone effort but the win did come off the layoff; 3/17 winner took a Grade 3 at Hawthorne next out with a juicy 98 Beyer, the was a well-beaten 4th in the G1 Phipps; she has a shot to grow into her skin as kin to grass winner and over $200K player Miss Red Delicious; must pick it up.
Floral Romance
She could be a bit on the fragile side as the races have been spaced but the last effort was solid; the winner the last time in town took the $100K restricted DeLa Rose next out, then was 4th beaten just under 2 in the G3 Noble Damsel last Saturday; major player.
Rock my Heart (GER)
Bothered early in last and we probably didn't see this gal's A game; Brown proved in the Garden City Saturday he can get these foreign imports to shine; she has beaten big fields and was far from disgraced when 4th in the Group 1 attempt last year; blood is there as kin to SW and near $150K earner Rock My Soul; respect.
Sweet and Lovely
No luck at this distance but she can get the trip; she could have just been overmatched in last and she was off weird too; 3 clear at this level two back and a repeat of that effort puts her in the thick of it; solid spin 8 days ago; rates long look in all the slots.
Protected first time for this barn, but she may need softer to shine; she only beat 5 foes in the lone win last year; mare was easily clear by 5 in last and all three efforts this season have been solid; probably from mid pack if at all if the race comes off the grass.-Brian Mulligan

Race 9

Modern Child
Finished 6th in his only other race with blinkers on; the runner-up and show finishers from last posted 102-84 Beyer speed figures in their next-out BEL-SAR-optional-claiming wins; lone BEL win was at longer over a fast-BEL oval; has 2 wins in a field with 56 victories combined.
Be Bullish
Claimed off a high-win percentage trainer which is not a good win angle; does not always fire but when he does watch out; away 66 days since being purchased off a win his 1st picture of the year; wish the workouts for this appealed more.
33%-winning trainer 1st-time out with newly-acquired runners adds to the appeal trying to avenge latest loss vs. Be Bullish; winless on BEL dirt but exits his best ever BEL-speed figure over the track 66 days ago; defeated the 3-back runner-up finisher who Beyered 92 in his next-out AQU-optional-claiming win then repeated with a 94.
3 straight races 1st at the 1st call including latest 1st-off-the-claim gate-to-wire win; was edged 2-back by the runner-up finisher who Beyered 82 in his next-out SAR-25K-claiming win; high-percentage repeat trainer off latest has figured this one out quickly; adds a half furlong here but many of his 11 wins occurred at longer distances than this; he is the one to catch and beat.
Pure Attitude
29% first-off-the-claim barn purchased him off another high-win percentage trainer; defeated the show runner from last who Beyered 90 in his next-out SAR-25K-claiming win; best race on BEL dirt was 2-back going a lot longer; good angle that the win rider stays right here despite the trainer change.
Uncle T Seven
30%-winning fresh trainer since 2012 adds to the appeal but the workouts for this are not inspiring; won 1st off the claim 3-back beating the runner-up finisher who Beyered 83 in his next-out FL alw. win; he has been unable to fire back to that effort since.
82-day absentee off the sharp win over the track defeating the show runner who Beyered 81 in his next-out SAR-20K-claiming win; the 2-back winner repeated in a MTH optional claimer with an 82 speed figure; defeated the show runner a next-out 67 speed figure BEL-20K-claiming winner.
Dan's Gold
Beat 1 runner home when facing-tougher stakes foes in June's only other race on BEL dirt the lowest Beyer since February; clearly upped his game to a brand-new level when switching barns for a FL 4-win 2013 campaign; even off the class drop has much to prove over the track.
Crackerjack Jones
Exits a career-low Beyer when no match for Writingonthewall with an extra half furlong attached trying to make amends; heavily backed at the betting windows in all 4 races 3 times favored; defeated the 2-back show runner who Beyered 84 in his next-out SAR-optional-claiming win.
Longfor the City
Working well for his 1st start in 6 weeks; back to BEL Park dirt where he's 2-for-2 including wins on fast and wet-race tracks showing versatility racing on the lead and from off the pace; he finished 4th in a 4-horse field when testing stakes foes now gets back in with older rivals again.-Art Gropper

Race 10

It's Huge
Relatively lightly raced 5-year-old brings a little bit of early speed with him, but for the most part he's struggled late in his races and he's going to need to see a very slow early pace develop to have a chance at keeping himself involved in the running through the final furlong.
Seriously Sharp
His best finish to date was a fourth, in a race where he was beaten by more than eight lengths, and he's going to need to find a way to dial up a career best effort to get the better of this field.
It's just always tough to back a horse like this for the top spot when he routinely attracts his share of wagering support and sports an 0-for-23 race record; not that one of these days won't be his, but prefer to limit him to a spot underneath in the exotics.
Omos Journey
His latest race looks good when compared to what most of these are capable of, but that level of performance hasn't been the norm for him, and not going to argue with anyone for making him prove that he can come right back with that type of an effort.
Papa Doc
He took a step in the right direction while making his first start over turf and his first start wearing blinkers when last seen, but it is of some concern that he's needed a lot of time off since then; fourth place finisher from latest, Backseat Memories, won next out at GP on 1/12 going 1 1/16m over turf vs. 35-30k MCL's with a 62 Beyer.
Wood On the Fire
Hook and Ladder has been a poor influence as a turf sire and this colt is going to need to find a way to produce a much improved performance in order to contend; he looks like more of an outsider.
Gridiron Great
It would have been nice to have seen him show a little bit more while making his first start for this barn after a claim in his latest outing, but his turf form has been plenty strong enough to give him a competitive look in this spot, and it wouldn't be a surprise to see him bounce right back with a better performance while wearing blinkers for the first time.
Six Drivers
Sire wins with approximately 3% of his first-time starters and with approximately 7% of his turf starters, and dam was winless form three starts, including one turf start; this gelding is a 1/2 to Downtown Hottie (4-42, 232k, including 3 of 23 turf starts for 158k).
Smokey Brown
He has turf in his pedigree, and he might be able to get involved in the early running while stretching out in distance, but he clearly needs to step up with an improved performance in order to contend.
Obviously there's reason to be concerned when seeing that this 5-year-old is making his first start since March 2012 but he does have a nice pedigree for turf and four of his five turf starts have been solid performances.
St. Sincere
He didn't perform up to par while making his first start for this barn after a claim in his latest outing but maybe the fact that he's being returned to action on short rest is a sign that his connections feel he'll bounce right back with a sharper showing.
Ride a Song
Not sure how he's going to respond to the added distance that he sees today, but he commands a little bit of respect in this spot when seeing what he's done in his two turf attempts.
Sire wins with approximately 13% of his first-time starters and with approximately 11% of his turf starters, and dam won once from four starts for 6k, and she didn't make a turf start; this is an outfit that has done some of their better work with turf starters over the years.
He figures to appreciate dropping back in with maiden claimers and he gave a solid account of himself the last time he was seen racing over this turf course; that said, it does appear that a minor award might be the ceiling.-Brian Pochman