09/24/2013 11:50AM

Belmont: Closer Looks for September 25, 2013


DRF Plus Preview

Race 1

Eddy Gourmet
She's developed a nice level of consistency to her game since being sent out with Lasix and her best effort can make her competitive against competition of this caliber; this is an outfit that can be live with a fresh horse and they do some of their better work with turf starters.
Like to see what she did in her first couple of starts for this barn two and three races back after being claimed for 35k and she might have just found the competition to be a little bit too tough to tackle in her latest outing; there's a chance that the early pace in here will be on the slow side, and that would be just fine with this miss.
Wave Theory
Multiple graded stakes placed performer has to be labeled a top contender in this spot as she gets ready to make her first start in just over two months, and it doesn't hurt to see that a top turf barn calls upon a go-to rider; obvious threat.
Indian Starlight
She's finished worse than third once from six starts over turf, and like Wickapecko, she owns the ability to take advantage of a slow early pace; regardless, this is eligible to prove to be a tough assignment for her.
Stakes placed miss sports the best last race Beyer Speed Figure in here, but that level of performance hasn't been the norm for her, and she can't afford to take a step backward against these; respect the fact that she hails form a sharp turf barn, but others entice more.
Industrial Policy
Can't help but feel that she's the lesser of the two Chad Brown-trained filly's in here, but her form has taken a noticeable turn for the better since being placed over turf three races ago, and she was sharp in breaking her maiden in her latest outing.
Lady of Gold
Feel that all three of her turf starts have been respectable performances and she's two races removed from a stakes placing against a quality field; third place finisher from latest returned to win next out here on 9/8 going 1m over turf vs. N1X rivals with an 87 Beyer; must consider.
Rock On Baby
She exits the same race as today's rival Lady of Gold and the third place finisher from that event returned to win next out here on 9/8 going 1m over turf vs. N1X rivals with an 87 Beyer; she's clearly capable of better than what she showed up with in her latest outing and note that she's three-for-three over the Belmont Park turf.
Caxambas Pass
Half-sister to multiple G1 winner Point of Entry (8-12, $2.2 million over turf) put together a solid performance when breaking her maiden when last seen, but she is going to need to be ready for her best performance to date while meeting up with winners for the first time in order to contend.
Win for Kitten
She usually shows up and runs her race but she's probably going to need a career best performance to get the job done in this spot and she has been beaten by a few of today's rivals in her recent races.
Kaitlyns Cat
It's fair to question much of the dirt form that is lined up in the main body of this race but there are a few horses who have run well enough over dirt to suggest that this filly will have to earn it if she gets to go; 2nd call for Castellano.-Brian Pochman

Race 2

Lion D N A
It is hard to ignore the 91 Beyer Speed Figure staring us in the face and if she can come anywhere close to duplicating the lofty figure she's probably the winner; horse that won her race two back in Indiana won a $100K stakes in her next start at Mountaineer; first time for Rodriguez who since 2010 has a 29 percent strike rate with claimed horses running back the first time; could be gone if she breaks on top; the pick.
House On Toilsome
Just a couple of wins in 28 starts isn't encouraging, but she has worked her way into the tri in 8 of her last 10 starts; she is also coming off a big effort in her first start for Metivier and is eligible to more forward in her second start back following a a layoff; she probably isn't going to win this but it wouldn't be surprising if she worked her way into the exotics.
Granby Girl
4-year-old filly has been running okay on the lawn but both of her wins came on the main track so she shouldn't mind the surface switch; she has run a lot better across town, however, and her record over this track leaves a lot to be desired; she gets some serious weight off with the bug taking the call but others look more attractive.
Wildcat Thunder
She didn't run a jump in her last two and considering how poorly she ran it probably made a lot of sense to give her the time off; the bad news is her two works on display aren't very inspiring and this looks like a pretty tough spot for a horse that has a career-best Beyer Speed Figure of 60; passing.
Bobby Jo
First off it is Brown and Castellano who combined to win 3 races last Sat. and Sun. and they have put up pretty good numbers here the past five years, winning at a 35 percent clip; toss her race on the lawn in Mar. and she's been as solid as a rock; ralled in the mud when she dead-heated for first in her latest at Saratoga but she has tactical speed and the horse that beat her the last time she ran here won her next start by over 9 lengths and then just missed in the Grade 2 Honorable Miss; big shot.
Hot Splash
Homebred looked good winning a $15K claimer going this distance here in May but the 68 Beyer Speed Figure she earned isn't going to cut it if the logical favorites show up with their best stuff; she does like it here, though, and she could take a big step forward in her second start back following a three-month layoff; consider for the exotics.
Elusive Jozi
Hard to love her off what she has shown us latetly but it is possible she'll improve in her second start back following a two-month layoff; she did have an excuse after getting off to a poor start in her latest but it would have been nice to have seen her show a bit more interest; 6-year-old has put up decent numbers over wet tracks so her chances would increase considerably if the weather forecast is incorrect; looking elsewhere.
Nuffsaid Nuffsaid
She looked good getting her third win in a conditional claimer in her latest at Saratoga and there doesn't appear to be a lot of pure speed in this field so she could get a similar trip; it was also her second start back after being claimed by Nevin and she might be ready for a peak effort in the third start of her current form cycle; she is the first foal to race out of a stakes-winning mare and being a relatively lightly-raced 4-year-old there could be some upside to her; don't sell short.-Randy Goulding

Race 3

Free as a Bird
Some real good work beginning just over a year ago up to this summer when a nice 2nd at SAR at this level Aug. 1; so what happened Aug. 22?; could it be fuel is getting low?; possibly, but that was just her 4th start after a layoff so she shouldn't be running out of gas; more likely it was a case of pace - she was pushing some hot splits, and paid the price; gets a slight class hike today but she's SP so she has quality, and surely cutting back 2fs has to help - after all, she won her only prior start at this 7f trip, which coincidentally came on this course.
Moment in Dixie
Sire Dixieland Band gets over 11% first time turf winners, over 12% overall turf winners, according to DRF sire stats; sire won 8 of 24 for $441K, was a 2-time G2 SW, off board in 3 grass tries; dam won 6 of 14 for $291K, was SW, 2-time G3 SP, was 1 for 2 on turf; 3 of 4 sibs are winners including Awesome Bet (3 wins, $287K, SW, G2 SP) but all 4 are winless on turf; they thought enough to try the G1 Ballerina at SAR last time; OK so that was too much but she's got quality could be sure, and could it be they entered more with an eye on the sky as she's bred to love some wet going?
Baffle Me
That's a French G1 SW she nearly beat in the Speed Boat at SAR Sept. 1; in fact, that was her 2nd good try to Samitar (ran 2nd to her in the Fairy Garden on the inner course here July 4); speed is her main weapon so at least it's no secret what her tactics will be - she figures to come out running and try and play keepaway; worked well since and this slightly shorter trip should be right up her alley.
Came from France with a real nice reputation (2 of her 3 wins came over boys) and her first U.s. try, at SAR July 22, was excellent as she bided her time and finished with good energy to be 3rd; freshened since, always a good move for Clement with plenty of steady works in tow since; certainly looks scary but she's facing some pretty tough customers here, too, so she'll almost surely need to move forward if she's to topple these.
Sounds of the City
No match for distaff sprint champ Groupie Doll in the G2 PID Masters Sept. 9, and 'Doll set a track record that day; while this gal couldn't threaten she ketp to her task well and finished with good energy; drop helps, as does the surface switch - her best work (3 of her 4 wins) has come on turf; packs a pretty good punch when on her game; troubl eis, her last 2 efforts, while not bad, weren't as sharp as some of her earlier work this year.
My Jopia
Dueled and gave way in a stakes on this course May 5, but that was a G1 SW (Dayatthespa) she wsa chasing so you can be a bit forgivingn; faces no one like that here and she came back 2 months later (July 14) to gamely win a sprint on this course; freshened another 2 months, a tactic which has worked, with some nice drills in tow; has some versatility, too, and the outside draw may give her rider the chance to see what's happening to his left after the break and adjust from there.-Michael Hammersly

Race 4

Malibu Mudslide
Goes back to dirt following a couple of unsuccessful tries on the lawn and Dilger won with 2 of his last 3 starters making the surface switch, plus the other one finished second; this gal ran a solid race over this surface the last time she was here and note the positive ROI with Velazquez riding for the barn; inside portion of the track has been golden at the current meet and she could be dangerous if she breaks alertly; contender.
Exclusively Yours
Debuts for Mareina who since 2009 has a 36 percent strike rate with first-time starters running in maiden claiming races; Elusive Quality roughly 16 percent with first timers; dam won her debut; all six sibs are winners, two won first time out, and the best is $545K multiple stakes winner General Charley; lots to like including the sharp set of works showing; the pick.
My Cousin Zinny
Her two best races came over this surface but not sure if they were good enough to win this; it looks like she'll be the one they'll be chasing, though, and Englehart is on fire at the meet; she also ran an improved race in her latest so she could be coming up to another big effort; at the least she should stick around long enough to be part of the exotics.
Share 'n Stone
First timer is by Grade 1 Carter winner Bustin Stones who never lost and is 4 for 25 with first time starers; dam was a stakes winner and 9 of her 11 foals are winners the best being $507K grade 3 placed Lady of the Future; past five years Levine has a 10 percent strike rate with horses making thier debuts in maiden claiming races; perfer others.
Resolute Babe
She'll find these easier than she met in her debut at Gulfstream; the first and third horses came back to win their next start and the second-place finisher won 2 of her next 3 including an $80K stakes here in June; she's the second foal out of a stakes winning dam that won six sprints and placed in the Grade 1 Princess Rooney; blinkers and Castellano on add to her appeal; big shot.
Ellen Dorene
Since 2010 Rodriguez has a 24 percent strike rate with horses making their debut in maiden claiming races; sire just below 10 percent with first-time starters; dam won 4 sprints and earned $54K; best of 3 sibs is full-sister Natalie Victoria who has won 4 routes and 2 sprints; works just average and it is possible she wants more distance.-Randy Goulding

Race 5

Looked super blasting $20B claimers on the SAR sod Aug.12, and Englehart saw fit to claim her; alas, she then took the big step up to this level and while she ran well (3rd) and actually improved her Beyer she still found the company a bit too much; could that happen again here?; quite possibly; at least she comes here sharp, it's great to see Englehart bring her back WITHOUT a tag attached and she ran well on this course just over 2 months ago.
Speedy's Gal
2nd in a spot similar to this here July 12; trouble is, she was still no match for big winner Sallys Dream and must deal with that gal again here; also must deal with over 2 months off but that last nice run came off a similar layoff, so that shouldn't be an issue; the bigger issue is whether this level is just a smidge beyond her.
She Drives Me Wild
8th, well behind today's foes Salllys Dream and Speedy's Gal here July 12, did improve nicely to be 3rd then at SAR at this level Aug. 5 and that was enough to earn a stakes try there Sept. 1, though that didn't go well; you have to go back to 2011 to find her last win and really that Aug. 5 3rd and a nother 3rd here May 31 (vs. much weaker) are her only 2 real nice outings in the past 2 years so some significant improvement is required if she's to have a say.
Game winning on the GP sod Dec. 13 but was then pulled up and vanned off at 2-1 there Jan. 4 and hasn't been seen since; that type of layoff, after being pulled up, is certainly disconcerting; the good news, at least, is she returns without a tag attached; has also done best on turf (7 of her 9 wins) but even when in peak form she was facing lesser than she faces today.
Sally's Dream
2 big wins in the summer including one on the Widener in a spot just like this; that was enough to earn a shot at the Yaddo at SAR and she didn't run badly there (4th) but maybe trying so hard vs. those tough gals took something out of her; after all, her next 2 weren't very pretty at all; at least nice to see no big drop in for a tag but could it be she's on the downside of her form cycle right now, hmmmm?
6 of her 9 wins have come here; that being said, while she won at SAR July 26 you then have to go back to July 2012 to find her prior win; best work has come vs. either midrange claimers over NY-breds so this is a tougher spot to be sure; at least has run well before off the bench but a few of these have handled her in the past.
Mlle Margaux
Nice progress this summer, topped off by a 20-1 upset over NY-breds at SAR Aug. 31; of course, that came vs. state breds only AND came in the slop, neither of which figures to apply today; 1 fo r8 on turf so she's not averse to the footing but it may not really be her forte; earned an NY-bred stakes try last time but was no factor; yes, this is no stakes but some tough gals make this spot as tough or tougher for her regardless.
Take Hessonite out of the equation the past couple seasons and this gal is likely the best NY-bred turf distaffer, and remember Hessonite was a GSW so that's saying something; trouble is, after a super run from the start of 2012 to June of this year after 3 straight wins she was sidelined about 7 weeks and her 2 return outings at SAR weren't too hot; could it be she neded those?; could be; the good news, too, is Brown thought enough of her still to try her in stakes for those 2; well, now comes a drop and maybe that and having those 2 races under her belt can get her back on the beam...maybe.-Michael Hammersly

Race 7

Hannibal Lecter
If he wins you can probably afford a nice chianti to go with those fava beans for dinner; maybe the layoff and return to this track can do the trick; after all, he was gond 2 months, came here and won 2 straight, though both came in the mud, which he may not get today; next 2, at SAR at this level, weren't too hot, but one of those came on turf, too; well, he's been freshened, has worked decently, likes it here and there's no big panicky drop; still, those 2 mud wins a couple months ago have been more the exception than the rule for him going back to late 2011.
Old class horse may not be what he once was - which was a stakes horse) but a couple decent summer outings show there's still gas in the tank; a nice 3rd at this level on turf at SAR Aug. 7 and Jacobson saw fit to plunk down some serious money to claim him, which is most encouraging when you're talking about a 9yo gelding; freshened since, with no drop; been a pro for a long time - hey, you don't win 17 times by accident; still, he's 0 for his last 6 and you do wonder if time is finally taking enough of a toll to make this level a bit too much for him.
Don Tito
Faces some of the best sprinters out West in 2011/2012; trouble is, he hasn't been seen since, so we're talking nearly a year on the bench; drops in for a tag, yes, but he's by no means a giveaway for this kind of price; Jacobson had a huge SAR meet but apparently fired most of his bullets there as things haven't gone so well this meet; works don't exactly get the pulse racing and notably worrisome about this long layoff is it came after he right back on track and won so nicely at SA last Oct. 6 - and let's face it, you don't usually take a horse who's on top of his game and put him away for so long without good reason.
Stage Street
Came back in the spring after 8 months off and beat maidens on CD dirt, then beat N1X foes on turf there, showing some versatility; came to SAR July 25, dueled in a turf sprint stakes but that took its toll and he hit the brakes hard; Asmussen has given him plenty of time since, returns him to dirt and drops him, both of which may help, and while he drops it's noteworthy Asmussen does not risk losing him for a tag.
2 starts, 2 wins, both over this track, so that's sure nice; hasn't been seen since that June 29 N1X win here but hey, Mr. Pletcher is pretty darn good off the bench; remember, too, both wins came as a young 3yo facing elders so that's not nearly as big a hurdle now; working in solid fashion and you know he likes it here; also nice to see some versatility and that he's proven to be fast (smart Beyer last time, 93).
Hasn't been seen since March 30 but hey, Levine does very nicely off a layoff like this (22%) even if he's off to a bit of a rocky start this meet (0 for first 15); 4yo is proven here (2 for 5), has speed, is proven to be fast, is SP and has been working very nicely for his return; oh, and he's a proven commodity off the bench, too.-Michael Hammersly

Race 9

Goes first time for an outfit that does ok with this type while returning at the bottom level from a year on the shelf; 5 year old does own some back numbers that would fit in this spot and he should get some speed in front of him, but it's tough to expect him to offer his best from the fence first time back at a trip that's a lot shorter than he prefers.
Silver Shot
Sophomore has shown speed in each of his 3 main track spins and now he'll give the sod a shot; sire does get about 13% first surface winners from his offspring, but neither of the unraced dam's other 2 winning foals tried the green.
He's run ok on the local lawn and may be set to return running after being given most of the summer off; statebred's local pre-break trip effort was pretty solid and he has shown he has the positional foot to secure a spot within striking range of the pacesetters early; contender.
Commanding Officer
First part of the coupling makes his turf debut in his first start under the care of an outfit that does a nice job with this type; he didn't show much on the dirt prior to the layoff and his pedigree doesn't suggest turf is going to improve him much; sire gets just 5% winners from his initial surface runners.
Southern Safari
Took a step forward from a wide spot while making his second turf spin upstate last month, earning the field's best last out number in the process; barn is having a rough go of it here, but this lightly raced gelding is on the improve and the added half panel should be to his benefit as he switches to a solid pilot for this.
Dapper Draper
Made a run to the leaders from a wide spot in his return to dirt as the chalk last time and had little left for the drive; he'll go back to the lawn for this one and each of his tries over the upstate sod last month was ok; expecting he'll be able to settle into good spot from this draw in the middle of the track and maybe that helps get him first run on some of his rivals; giving him the nod to beat them home at an improved price.
Cuts back to sprint after coming up empty late in his return to the local sod last week; barn does a nice job on the quick return and though this guy doesn't have much one turn experience he did flash improved early foot behind a slow in that last one so maybe he's able to get more involved in here; worth a look.
Tax Alex
Drops after pressing the pace and backing out of it in his debut run over the Saratoga main track for an outfit that moves them up second out, but doesn't do so well with its initial turf starters; sire is just 3 for 56 with his first time turfers but the SW dam was a perfect 2 for 2 on the green while banking 317K in her career; lone sib was third in his lone turf start.
Found the winner's circle before getting his number taken down 2 back upstate and subsequently drew the fence prior to finishing behind some of these; maybe the love out into the track helps and he will get Castellano after getting 6 weeks off since that last one; can't overlook.
Mise En Place
Goes back to his original outfit off a couple of speed and fade lines on the Spa green; gelding will get another new pilot for this while also tackling some other speedy foes; don't think he'll be around at the finish this time, either.
Prometheus Crown
Barn's other runner in here also makes his turf debut after fading from his pace tracking effort first time in shades; gelding is by a sire who gets 11% first turf winners from his offspring; G3 SP dam banked 144K but was off the board in each of her 3 surface starts prior to dropping this guy.
St. Sincere
Draws outside again after the troubled run on the cut back last time; he'll make his third start of the stand in this spot and neither of the first 2 was as good as his circuit debut on the Spa green and that one came going 2 turns; can't be dismissed, but he's likely to take tote support and the barn hasn't been going very well of late here.
Fiddlers Tango
Hasn't been close in any of his 6 career starts and now the big price will start from the outside slot on the turn back to this sprint trip; tough to make much a case for him getting involved in the outcome today.
Go to the Net
MTO was given the Spa meeting off by an outfit that doesn't win many races; 26 time loser has yet to hit the board in 5 spins over a wet track and even against this turf meant bunch he looks to have his hands full if the rain comes.
Market Blaster
MTO ran ok for second money from a wide spot in the track while returning from 3 months on the shelf; barn doesn't do so well second time off the break, but expecting he'll be tighter with that one behind him; he's another who hasn't had much luck over wet going, but off that last one he looks to be a contender if this comes off.-Steve Grabowski