09/19/2013 10:39AM

Belmont: Closer Looks for September 20, 2013


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Race 1

Share Out
He ran well in back-to-back starts at Saratoga after trying a jump event at Parx, but he might prefer the Saratoga turf course over all others; not counting him out of it with John V. aboard, but others entice more.
Tiz Gianni
Stakes winning veteran looks like he got back on top of his game in his latest outing, and even though he loses the services of Castellano to another in here, C.V. has won with 25 of 91 (27%) mounts for this barn in 2013, and he piloted Cheyenne Nation last time.
Star Channel
His latest victory was earned as a member of the Pletcher barn, but after three stakes attempts, including a G1 run, this 4-year-old figures to appreciate getting some class relief, even if this is a solid looking group of 62k OPC's.
North Slope
He earned a G3 stakes placing in an off-the-turf event in his latest outing and he's going to appreciate getting back over turf for this; Saez has won with 9 of 31 (29%) mounts for this barn in 2013, and this outfit has won with 8 of 16 turf starters the past 30 days.
Phipps-homebred has been in good form lately but he's going to need to show up with his sharpest performance to date to get over on the top contenders in this spot; note that he was beaten by today's rival Share Out in his latest start.
Arc Above
Have a lot of respect for this outfit with their turf starters and they've been unlucky to have not posted a few more winners early on at this meeting; that said, a minor award might be the ceiling for this runner in this spot; 3rd finisher from latest won next out at Sar on 8/4 going 1 3/16m over turf vs. 62k OPC's with a 90 Beyer.
Canaveral (GB)
Although he ran well in his first start in America over a yielding turf course when beaten by Seal Cove, his form since that time hasn't been strong enough to help give him a competitive look against these.
Saint Vigeur
He's run well since being placed over dirt in his third career start and he'll merit plenty of consideration in this spot if this race has to be moved to the main track; Castellano has won with 46 of 148 (31%) mounts for this barn in 2013.
Midnight Taboo
Repole-owned colt bounced back nicely in his latest outing from a sub par performance two starts ago and this will be a decent spot for him to land in if this race gets taken off the turf; this is the first call for Velazquez and he's started the Belmont Fall Meeting 0-for-10 aboard Pletcher-trained horses.
He hasn't run a bad race to date, and based on what he's shown us so far, he'll merit top contender status if he gets to go in this spot; like the idea of him stretching out in distance for his second start after a layoff and Ortiz gets his share of live calls from this barn.-Brian Pochman

Race 3

Slan Abhaile
That was a sharp work last Saturday so it looks like he could be ready for a big effort after not being able to keep up in the Grade 1 Kings Bishop; at least he beat more than half the field and if you toss the race and his first try on turf he's been pretty reliable; like the way he stalked a fast pace in his win two back and if he doesn't get bogged down on the rail he could be in the thick of it late.
Dads Caps
Just three starts, two wins, so there could be some upside potential; he figures to move forward in his second start back following a layoff and and the horse that won his latest is a 4-year-old that finished second in a couple of graded stakes as a 2-year-old; this guy is a half-brother to Conga Belle who won 11 races and earned $300K; exotics possibility.
Shanghai Bobby
The 2-year-old champion last year has never lost sprinting and he displayed a lot of heart when he won the Breeders' Cup Juvenile; obviously he is the horse to beat if he comes back nearly as good as he left; he fractured his pelvic in his last start in the Grade 1 Florida Derby but he didn't require surgery and according to Pletcher "he looks great and has been training really well." if Pletcher is right Bobby should make short work of this field; the obvious pick.
Purple Egg
He is a stakes winner at Tampa but he seems overmatched here and he would need to improve quite a bit if he is going to make any kind of impact; this will also be his first start since he finished a distant third behind Whiskey Romeo April 26; he does run well fresh and his trainer has solid stats with horses coming back in this time period, but, with a career-best Beyer Speed Figure of 81 others look more attractive.
It looks like he's back on track after going unplaced in the Grade 2 Woody Stephens in June and he looked good winning his latest in the slop at Saratoga; he also ran well here in the spring, especially when he came close to beating Grade 3 Bay Shore winner Declan's Warrior in the Gygistar; he has good tactical speed and should get a nice trip from a stalking position; his chances certainly improve if it comes up wet and he looks like the one with the best shot at beating the 2-year-old champ;
Whiskey Romeo
Hard to knock a horse that has won 4 of 7 and he is coming off a solid effort in her first start following a layoff; this is a significantly tougher spot, though, and there is other speed drawn inside of him; claimed out of his latest by Cannizzo and since 2010 he is 1/12 with newly claimed horses; he did win a minor stakes the only time he ran over this surface but others look more attractive.-Randy Goulding

Race 5

Benny's Bullet
Sired by G1 sprinter Benny the Bull who amassed 2.35 million and whose offspring have won 1 of 8 debuts; the dam scored in 1 of 5 appearances earning 4K; among the winning siblings is 72K earner Slots; modest training track breezes of late.
Wickedly Sweet
Fine maiden voyage a month ago at Delaware when narrowly defeated in a blanket finish; her sire won a trio of G3s and 474K while the dam was unraced; winning siblings include 40K earner Tiz Dangerous; dangerous import.
Lemme Rock
Newcomer was sired by the undefeated Bustin Stones who won the G1 Carter and 480K in total (his progeny have won 4 of 25 initial starts); the dam won 1 of 9 attempts and 43K; sib to 61K bankroller Stoneridge.
Pari Nath
Not sure if the makeover package of Lasix and blinkers will make much difference as she has shown no firepower thus far; the sire won multiple G2s and 548K; the dam was zero for 9; this is her only foal to compete; pass for now.
Keep in Mind
Beginner was sired by 202K earner Yankee Gentleman whose descendants have won 35 out of 253 first races; the mom won 2 of 21 and 111K and this is her sole foal to make it to the starting gate.
Alpaca Fina
The selection based on her superior workout regimen; her sire won the Derby and 3.61 million overall (descendants of Big Brown have done well first time out, winning 11 of 58); the dam won 5 of 23 and 323K; sib to 84K winner Big Brown Brookski.
Did not seem to care for the grass upstate after a promising first run rally on the main; her sire won multiple G1s on this circuit and 915K; the dam went 1 for 9 earning 39K; winning sibs include 307K earner Hangingbyathreat.
Gentle Cat
Puzzling workout pattern from expert trainer; this filly was sired by G1 type Bluegrass Cat who captured 1.76 million and whose offspring have won 32 out of 247 debuts; the dam was unraced; sib to 65K earner Gail's Jewel; do not overlook.-Jim Kachulis

Race 6

Cool It
Half-brother to stakes placed Livin Large (4-28, 162k over turf) improved with a move to grass at second asking and now he's back with Castellano who was aboard for his career debut; he belongs on the list of contenders.
He finished right behind today's rival John Bailey in his career debut, but that was an encouraging performance for his first start, and an improved performance this time around isn't out of the question; this colt is out of a multiple stakes winning dam who won 5 of 18 turf starts for 238k.
Dowse's Beach
Sire wins with approximately 9% of his first-time starters and with approximately 13% of his turf starters, and dam won once from 16 starts for 28k, and she didn't make a turf start; this gelding is a full to multiple stakes winner At the Disco (10-65, 545k, including 3 of 32 turf starts for 192k).
Forever Utopia
He showed a little something in his career debut and he's another in here who is eligible to be ready for better the second time around; prefer to give the nod to others in this one, but certainly wouldn't consider him a shocker.
Mental Iceberg
Sire wins with approximately 11% of his first-time starters and with approximately 13% of his turf starters, and dam was unraced; this looks like a tough spot to debut one and a couple of the other firsters in here are a little more interesting.
Sire wins with approximately 7% of his turf starters and dam won 3 of 9 turf starts for 33k; obviously this gelding is going to need a much improved performance over his career debut at Finger Lakes in order to have a say in the outcome.
John Bailey
75k purchase has seen his form steadily improve since his career debut and he might be capable of better than what he showed in his latest start while wearing blinkers for the first time if he can set a more controlled early pace.
Gridley Here
He finished behind a couple of these at first asking but that was a useful career debut and this is a barn that does well with young/lightly raced horses routing over turf; feel that he's eligible to be ready for better now that he has some experience to draw from.
Pepi's Find
Sire wins with approximately 9% of his first-time starters and with approximately 14% of his turf starters, and dam was unraced; this colt is a 1/2 to Near and Dear (3-9, 80k over turf); 80k purchase doesn't find a soft spot for his career debut.
Half-brother to stakes winner Our Golden Dream (3-16, 143k over turf) was beaten by a few of today's rivals in his latest outing and he's going to need to be ready to dial it up a notch or two in order to contend.
East Bay Lodge
Sire wins with approximately 7% of his first-time starters and with approximately 13% of his turf starters, and dam won 2 of 16 starts for 47k, including 1 of 6 turf starts for 26k; this colt is a 1/2 to stakes winner Wicked Tune (9-30, 279k, including 7 of 19 turf starts for 244k) and Hurricane Nikki (5-31, 121k over turf).
220k purchase ran well in his career debut after attracting a lot of wagering support and the third place finisher from that race won next out at Sar on 8/14 going 5 1/2f vs. MSW rivals with a 63 Beyer; Castellano has won with 46 of 148 (31%) mounts for this barn in 2013, and this is his first call.
Empire Dreams
He's done some nice work in his first two starts and the winner from his latest race returned to win next out at Sar on 8/30 going 6f in a 98k stakes with a 73 Beyer; Groupthink figures to be tough to deal with if this race comes off the turf, but this is a decent spot for this colt to stretch out in distance.-Brian Pochman

Race 7

Super-fresh trainer since 2012 adds to the appeal; was nosed for the place money pre-rest at shorter when chasing the winner who posted an 87 Beyer speed figure in his next-out BEL allowance win; stamina is the biggest issue; the 2-back runner-up finisher Beyered 87 in his next-out SAR-MSW win.
Captain Keon
New trainer off the mild-rallying 6th 1st-time with blinkers on; was claimed off a career-best Beyer in the debut when flying too late; figures to save every inch of ground them make 1 run; the workout for this on dirt was not very enticing; will be trying to remember his best.
Give Me Liberty
Sire is 36-for-320 with 1st-time starters; 17-for-186 with 1st-turf starters; is out of an unraced dam who produced 9 winners from 12 other foals to race including 576K-earner TD Vance (8-22 turf 550K); 26%-winning 1st-turf trainer yields 12% winners 1st-time out.
Sire is 86-for-865 with 1st-time starters; 105-for-781 with 1st-turf starters; is out of a 1-for-10 dam (39K) who did not race on grass; 2 foals to race went winless (0-for-6) and 0-for-5 on grass; 0-for-13 debut trainer since 2012.
Twice a beaten choice in 3 losses; high-percentage jockey-trainer combo adds to the appeal; the added distance for this is a plus; the 2-back runner-up finisher Beyered 83 in his next-out DMR-MSW win; the 3-back runner-up finisher Beyered 80 in his next-out GP-MSW win then repeated with an 83 speed figure.
Relentless Ride
Great sign that his 1st-turf race is a career-best Beyer when flying late today's added distance; the 2-back runner-up finisher Beyered 73 in his next-out PRX alw. win; the 3-back winner and runner-up finishers Beyered 76 in next-out PID alw. win.
Brilliant Command
2nd-time out was a Beyer speed figure regression when no match for these; the winner from last posted an 87 Beyer speed figure in his next-out win; the workout for this was not very enticing; off latest is ranked a notch below the top contenders.
Buddy's Tiz
Sire is 27-for-347 with 1st-turf starters; dam did not race on grass (4-for-13, 156K); of the 2 foals to race none raced on grass; super-long layoff trainer adds tot he appeal; has been working well for this; the winner from last repeated with an 86 Beyer.
Trailed throughout racing to his 30-1 odds; the added distance and 2nd-start improvement can help the cause; some runners move forward dramatically 2nd-time out and he has plenty of room to move forward for this.
Sire is 27-for-310 with 1st-time starters; 24-for-212 with 1st-turf starters; is out of an unraced dam producing 4 winners from 6 other foals to race; low-percentage 4%-winning debut trainer since 2012 does not add to the appeal.
Brother Brendan
Needed last start off the 58-day absence when no match for similar rivals; 2nd-time off the bench is a high-percentage trainer with this angle; new rider with a huge post change racing wide after the rail draw in last; 2nd-time Long is often an improvement angle.
Mr. Jenney
Will have to overcome a wide trip but owns an improving Beyer pattern and was nosed in his only race at today's distance; the 2-back runner-up finisher Beyered 86 in his next-out SAR-MSW win; high-percentage turf trainer adds to the appeal.
Main Track Only entry figures to be forwardly placed then hopes to hang on late; twice a beaten favorite in 4 races and blinkers have helped his Beyers but not stamina which has been missing exiting his lowest Beyer since his career debut.-Art Gropper

Race 8

Let Me Entertain U
Fully extended in the March win and wonder if it just zapped her?; pushed into the Gazelle, she was then only a brief threat in the Acorn before the regression last time on the wrong surface; like the series of drills coming to this race and the move on the 11th was with more energy; needs a rebound run.
Flash Forward
Overmatched in the Oaklawn race in March but the other efforts have been solid; 4 clear two back before freaking in last and the 7/24 show horse cashed next out in a $22K shore optional with a 75 Beyer for Rudy Rodriguez; she camr home nicely in last getting the final 8th in :12.57; sharp as a tack now and dangerous.
Ruby Lips
She has drilled steadily and fast for this return; show horse in last took a $25K optional next out, 6th finisher was 2nd beaten 2 in the $75K Ruthless and the winner repeated in the $98K Busher with an 81 Beyer; miss has a right to mature with class as 3 siblings won at least $200K including triple stakes winner and over $550K earner Like a Gem; don't ignore.
She represents the speed component of the Albertranis; Grade 2 placed this year, she was dueled into submission in the Mother Goose; miss handles any kind of going and she got a boost when the 5/17 winner took the Grade 3 Iowa Oaks next out, then was 2nd beaten just over 2 in the Grade 1 Alabama; she brings natural speed to the party but there are others with designs on the top; respect.
Girl Code
Guess somebody had to be third in the small field last time; miss figures to press the issue but she has been handled by a couple of today's foes; she didn't exactly finish on fire in her last race as she got the last furlong in :13.55; must hurry.
Ol Donyo
It took her awhile to figure it out but the races vs. winners have been decent; considering she stumbled in last, the effort was pretty solid and note she was clear for fun; sire could run all day long, dam's lone win came by a nose on a soft grass course in Ireland and the half sis to win was sprint only and beaten over 19 lengths in her only mile try; another slice?
Saturday Nthe Park
It can't be easy moving a horse up from a 24% trainer; note this $125K purchase was up for sale in only the second start; place horse in last was well clear but some may not have cared for the off going; this rider was up for her career top Beyer; has to be left in the exotic conversation at least.-Brian Mulligan

Race 9

Silver Silence
Moves in to face statebreds after a troubled run going long in her Saratoga finale; gray hasn't done much in her limited sprint experience and the inside draw doesn't help, but she does look to get a little bit of lick in front of her here and figures to have some extra to offer in the drive; maybe for a share.
Wasn't much of a factor at this level last year but her more recent sod spins weren't bad; filly has been ok since adding shades in the spring, but she still boasts a pretty weak local course slate; respect the barn, but she's another who may be best used underneath.
Kimmies Lucky Star
Last out graduate tries both older and the lawn for the first time in this spot; she earned a career best number in that upset maiden score and there's not much surface pedigree here as her sire is 1 for 17 with first turfers and neither the dam nor her other foal to race tried this footing; siding against the repeat.
Didn't have much of a say from the Spa fence while trying winners after breaking her maiden in career start number 12; maybe the local return helps as she steps back in with restricted runners, but she's got some improving to do to threaten for even a share of this one.
Eyes of Midas
Makes her first start since the New Year's Eve stakes placing on the inner while making her first start off this low percentage outfit's claim; sire is just 1 for 24 with his first turfers and neither the dam nor her other 2 foals to race tried this type of footing; she's not bred to love this stuff, but she does look to have some ability and the presence of Velazquez in the saddle suggests she won't just be out for exercise here.
Broadway Music Gal
Ran away from a soft bunch to break her maiden after forcing a soft clip in her Saratoga dirt unveiling and now she'll move to the lawn for her first with winners; barn is going well here, but they haven't had much recent luck with initial turf starters and though the dam won 3 times on the green her other sibs to try the stuff are a combined 0 for 5 over it; sire is 2 for 32 with his initial surface runners.
Earned the field's highest last out surface number when beaten less than 2 lengths in her initial spin with winners upstate; she's on the improve from a figure standpoint and her tactical foot figures to have her in a good spot from the bell; looks to be the one they'll have to beat.
New face makes her local return while turning back to sprint off the close third place finish against open company N2Ls at Monmouth; tactically inclined gray doesn't have a lot of one turn experience but she has run well over the local sod and she should have something extra to offer late at this reduced trip; consider.
Your Time Is Up
Sophomore has only run a handful of times and she has shown some ability so it wouldn't be a surprise if she offered some improvement here, but her initial turf spin wasn't much; dam did drop a couple of turf winners and she has shown the speed on dirt to stay involved early here.
Tina's Note
Earned a solid number in upsetting conditioned claimers in the slop on closing day upstate earlier in the month and now she'll move back to the lawn; hasn't run a recent surface number that fits here, though, and she's hit the board just once in 11 starts over this course.
MTO goes first time for a new outfit in her return from the summer break; she didn't have a lot to offer on the local main track when last sighted and hasn't been much of a threat in any of her starts with winners; prefer others if the rains come.
Hot Stones
MTO has given a good account of herself in each of her 3 starts but didn't have enough late afer sitting a tracking spot at odds on in her first with winners upstate last time out; she did get a little bit of moisture in the local main track in her debut run and earned a career best Beyer in that one; one to beat from close range if this gets moved to the main track.
Bit Bustin
MTO didn't threaten the money finishers in the sophomore stake at Finger Lakes last time and now she'll get back in with older; maybe the return to sprinting helps, but her effort 2 back at the level wasn't much better; have to limit her use to underneath in exotics.
Yampa River
MTO ran big from off the pace to score if her first off this sharp outfit's claim and now she'll move back in to face statebreds; while she wasn't a threat at the local level in the spring, she enters this one in better form; don't know that she'll get a clip like what she saw in front of her last time and the likely wet track may be a concern, but she's one to consider if she goes.
Copper Bluff
Rolled home off solid early splits to get third money at a big price when in with conditioned claimers in her Spa finale; worked well the other day for this as she'll move back in to face statebreds here but may not get a lot of pace in front of her and her wet track slate isn't very encouraging.
Sharon Spagetti
MTO is her barn's second runner in here and she'll move back in with statebreds after trailing one of these in the Spa slop a few weeks back; she's run ok over wet going in the past and she does have the lick to sit a good tracking spot from the bell today.-Steve Grabowski