09/26/2013 10:17AM

Belmont: Closer Looks for September 27, 2013

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Race 2

Encode
Began his career at the course and distance but did not fare well over a sloppy surface; his sire is multiple G1 star Bernardini who banked 3.06 million; the dam won 3 of 29 and 156K; winning siblings include G1 Justin Phillip who earned 1.16 million.
 
Warrior's Crown
Some fair works for this beginner, son of G1 Hopeful winner Majestic Warrior who amassed 239K (his offspring have won 9 percent of their debuts); the dam involved won 1 of 2 and 29K; there are no winning siblings to mention.
 
Candy At My Place
Flashed speed in his maiden voyage where he was compromised by a wide post and racing path; his sire won multiple G1s and 749K; the dam won 4 of 21 and 150K; this is her only foal to make it to the races; latest a.m. move was strong.
 
Surfspun
Makes his belated main track debut after encountering traffic troubles on the green; his sire won the G1 King's Bishop and 2.62 million overall; the dam won 5 of 24 and 185K; among the winning siblings is 73K earner Windsurfer.
 
Engine
Progeny of Mineshaft, a multiple G1 victor on the NYRA circuit, have won 17 out of 281 initial starts; the dam scored in 3 of 15 appearances earning 29K; winning sibs include 258K bankroller No More Smoke; red-hot trainer at the helm.

Race 3

Navajo Ca Lo
Not a bad effort in the race he was claimed out of by Englehart two back and the horse that won beat $15K conditional claimers in his next start; a dull effort for $35K in his latest but he'll appreciate the company with the drop to bottoms; his best Beyer Speed Figure came at this distance so we're going to make him the pick over a pretty weak group.
 
Prince Curlin
Double-digit losses in all five of his races and it is hard to see him turning things around here; his last couple were on turf but he didn't exactly set things on fire in his first three on the main track; only sib to race won a stakes race at two and earned $120K; nonetheless, others look more attractive.
 
Red Shogun
Maybe getting bounced around at the break woke him up because until then he hadn't been much of a factor in any of his five previous races; it was the first time he raced over this surface so maybe he just likes it here; dam won going long on turf and his full-brother Quad Aces is a route winner so he should handle the added distance; contender.
 
Bundler
At least he improved his Beyer Speed Figure in his second start at Monmouth and while he is stepping up in price this is as low as he can go here; lightly raced and he is out of a stakes-winning mare that placed in a Grade 2 so there could be some upside to him; his sharp trainer may have found the right spot for him; don't sell short.
 
Perfect Coconut
5-year-old finallly made it to the races in the same race El Dreamer exits but he never really got involved and he would need to improve dramatically to make any kind of impact; dam won a single race and earned $39K; 2 of 4 sibs are winners and one of them won going long; passing.
 
El Dreamer
Another 5-year-old but this guy has had 43 shots at it and is still looking for his first win; nonetheless, he has come pretty close on occasion and he just may have found the right group; he's hit the tri in 3 of his 5 starts here plus he came very close to winning a one-turn mile across town earlier this year so he shouldn't mind the trip; despite all the losses he looks like a serious player.
 
The Culchie
He's been away since June and he's had a few decent works at Saratoga while preparing for his return; he was overmatched in his first four races and he may have been over the top when he dropped to a new low before he took the break; barn has had some success at the meet and if this guy can run at all he should show it here.
 
Spin Chief
Debut over a sloppy track here wasn't bad and the first two finishers came back to win their next races; this guy came back with a pretty dull effort at Saratoga and it's been two months since we've seeh him; he's a half to 5-time route winner Slevin who is stakes placed and has earned $317K; the past five years Domino has a 7 percent strike rate with horses stretching out the first time; prefer others.

Race 4

Miss Valentine
Deep closer adds distance following her lowest Beyer speed figure ever; last BEL dirt start was a stakes win at longer; receives a positive 2-pound weight swing off the more than 10-length loss to Willet; is 0-for-3 on SAR dirt so perhaps returning to BEL Park will provide a much-needed wakeup call.
 
Mischief Maker
Last time racing this short of a distance was her June career-low Beyer; last time attempting BEL dirt was a far-back finish vs Miss Valentine; her best game is flashing speed at longer distances which is what she did for last; 2-for-3 wet-track record and career-best Beyer on a less-than-fast oval suggests she is doing the rain dance for this.
 
Fiftyfour Forever
Last win was right on the lead but stamina has been lacking at shorter distances recently which does not bode well for her hanging on tested at her longest-distance test of 2013; last BEL dirt start was over a wet track and a career-low Beyer; the first 3 finishers 3 races back all won next out with 75-70-63 Beyers capturing SAR-optional claiming wins.
 
Dreaming of Cara
Is 0-for-8 without blinkers which were removed in August; has just 2 other dirt starts since October both were off-the-board finishes; winless in 15 races since an April, 2012, AQU-optional-claiming turf victory at 1M and 1-16th; seeks her 1st-BEL-dirt exacta; would be a surprise.
 
Princess Mara
Her best game is racing right on the lead but in recent races has not shown the same type of gate speed shown in her May-BEL win; was claimed off a dull effort then posted 2 so-so races the latest fading at shorter on dirt; know her early but unsure about late.
 
Willet
Today marks her highest-weight assignment ever while returns to BEL dirt where her lone off-the-board finish over the track was 3-back posting a career-low Beyer when facing Grade 3 rivals where the winner repeated in a SAR-Grade 2 with a 95 Beyer then won again 2 starts later in a G1 with a 94 speed figure; this spot is much easier; 39-day absence for her 0-for-16 fresh trainer since 2012 is the lone concern; figures to setup just outside the early speed then figures tough to hold off late.

Race 5

Metaurus
Returns quickly after proving little match for his foes sprinting in the local mud last weekend; some of his career best numbers came going long here last meeting and maybe the stretch back out helps him, but off what he's shown recently it's tough to make much of a case for this guy threatening on the win end today.
 
Matt and Jesse
Switches surfaces after offering little from a wide spot in his return to the local lawn; gelding bested a weak bunch in the Spa slop prior to that one and his local main track efforts earlier in the year weren't very much; have to side with others for the top spots.
 
Sinorice
Earned a solid number in beating conditioned claimers in his lone Saratoga appearance this summer and has been given plenty of time since the try; he'll catch better in this spot and he may not be as fond of this configuration as he is 2 turns; minor award.
 
Raging Daoust
Field's highest last out Beyer earner enters this off an easy trip win in his local debut; each of his last 3 scores was earned from a tracking spot and without much speed in here he's likely to again sit close from the outset; recent G3 SW may not offer much value in this heat, but he boasts a sharp interim drill and should again prove tough to handle.
 
Point Taken
Sharpened his lick when turned back to sprint in his muddy local return and now he'll stretch back out off the quick return; gelding was quite good here earlier in the year and he catches a field without much early foot so maybe Castellano is a little more aggressive with him from the bell; barn hasn't done so well at the stand, but this guy may be set to bounce back with a big one; giving him the nod to get back on track here.
 
Indy Scent
Gelding wasn't a threat in either of his 2 upstate starts since returning from half a year on the bench; he'll drop for this one and his career best numbers have come in one turn routes; maybe he's closer early on the stretchout and maybe that helps him get more involved in the lane; he'll need to improve quite a bit off those last 2 cracks, but the price will be right and it's nice to see them put him back in a protected spot today.
 
Frazil
Found himself chasing in a wide spot while trying 3/4s on the drop in his local return and had little to offer late against the grain of that surface; he hasn't won in a long time and that's a concern, but when on his game he certainly likes the trip and he encounters a field with little early foot so with an aggressive push he could find himself controlling this one from the bell; pace player.
 
Anaphylaxis
Statebred makes his first start for a new outfit while returning to the scene of his dead heat score a few months back; gray has earned some decent numbers of late and he will switch to a solid pilot for this; will need to get more involved early in order to get in the mix for a share.

Race 7

Aesthetique
Outran her 14-1 debut odds when rallying well at shorter; the added yardage and the unveiling experience should provide an improved performance; exits a good workout while many of these have worked slower than usual for this.
 
She's a Sizzler
Sire is 30-for-225 with 1st-turf starters; is out of a 2-0-0-0 grass dam (2K) who's only other foal to race is 3-0-0-0 turfer Watch Your Biz (3K); 2nd-start Beyer speed figure regression does not add to the appeal for an 0-for-7 first-grass trainer since 2012.
 
Check the Credit
Sire is 6-for-71 with 1st-turf starters; 12-for-94 with 2-year-old 1st-time starters; is out of a 2-for-25 dam (133K) who finished off the board in her only grass start; her only other foal to race is 4-0-0-1 Lakeview Lady (6K) who went 2-0-0-1 on turf (5K).
 
First Summation
Troubled debut with tons of upside for today's start 2; the trainer does his best work with turf sprinters and 2-year-olds (26% winners in both categories); another who's workout for this was not inspiring but with a clean trip and the added distance seems the one to beat.
 
Honeychild
1st-turf, Lasix and her 2nd-career start provided a 17-point Beyer increase; new rider is her 3rd different pilot in as many races which is not a good win angle; the worktab for this was not enticing for an 0-for-16 turf-sprint trainer since 2012.
 
Archer Queen
Was screaming out for more distance in last adding a half furlong for this is a plus; the trainer is off to a very-slow start at the BEL meet (0-for-17) winning just 7% among all turf runners since 2012; will be taking a wait and see approach.
 
Sleek
Burned betting money in the dirt debut adding blinkers for this; sire is 4-for-118 with 1st-turf starters; is out of an unraced dam who produced 2 grass winners from 3 other foals to attempt the lawn including 64K-grasser Satin Sheeks (1-for-7).
 
Missy Bay
Favored-debut loss when pressing the pace she figures to be a major-early factor for this; another who did not dazzle with her workout for the 2nd-career start which can be a dramatic form improvement; good sign that a 33%-win rider for the trainer at BEL stays right here.
 
Afuwa
Did not show much in the debut racing to the 17-1 debut odds when outrun throughout then was carried wide in deep stretch; the worktab for this does not stand out for a 1-for-18 second-start trainer who is 1-for the last-38 with turf sprinters.
 
Race and Shine
Sire is 0-for-25 with 1st-turf starters; 0-for-31 with 2-year-old 1st-time starters; is out of a 3-for-18 dam (102K) who went 3-of-12 on grass (90K); her only other foal to race is 14-0-0-5 Bodey the Beaste (6K) who did not race on grass.
 
May Shares
Field-best Beyer posted in her debut on grass where she held 2nd all the way around at shorter; wish the worktab was a little more eye-catching; the trainer often improves runenrs 2nd-time out (22% winners since 2012); if she moves forward in a big way for this the rest would be racing for 2nd money.
 
Gentle Cat
Sire is 10-for-152 with 1st-turf starters; is out of an unraced dam who's only other foal to race on grass Giant's Jewel finished off the board in the only turf attempt; plenty of room to move forward off the trailed-throughout debut finish.
 
Longride to Wisdom
The workout for his suggests we may see a much better effort 2nd-time out; sire is 35-for-275 with 1st-turf starters; is the 1st foal from dam who finished off the board in her only grass start; offered a stalking trip in last but had no answers when the real running began.
 
Margaret Ownzit
Main Track Only entry flashed speed in the debut but had no answers in deep stretch for She's a Sizzler; wish the worktab stood out more for this noting the trainer's 24% win mark with 2nd-time starters and 25% mark with 2-year-olds.

Race 8

Ghostly Vision
Sharp in victory in his Saratoga debut last month, he is much better than the running line of 2 back indicates where he was clearly beaten by Seventy Six; can make amends for that loss as he finally draws inside and breezed in improved fashion recently.
 
Socialsaul
In need of his last start, he lost significant ground and did not really threaten; should appreciate the return to route racing and this trainer/jockey tandem has established too solid a win percentage to ignore; upgrade is expected this afternoon.
 
Warrior Up
Toss the last race which involved trouble in the opening moments; a fairly consistent check earner, this gelding finished strong 2 races back and the extra distance today should work in his favor; latest training track breeze a plus.
 
Ultimate Empire
Goes for the hat trick today and has never finished out of the money when negotiating this oval; both of his lifetime victories were achieved over a wet track though; still warrants some respect regardless of the footing at post time.
 
Jade Run
Did not break alertly in the last assignment and it cost him; has not come close, before or since, to the Beyer he achieved upstate in late July; will likely have trouble today reeling in the pacesetters who appear to be holding the edge in this event.
 
Papa Tom
Still in search of his first local victory; he was given a freshening following the last run where he came up empty and can give a better account of himself here with the right pace set-up; very difficult call.
 
Purge Bird
The imports from Finger Lakes are often overlooked in the wagering and this could be another classic case; this son of Purge was a game second recently to Fox Rules, a six-time winner who has amassed 278K; reverts to the handling of Velasquez.
 
Seventy Six
Had little chance in an overnight stakes last month when racing wide throughout; one-turn racing suits him best and he goes back to Alvarado who has perfect exacta record aboard this sophomore; playable at a price.

Race 9

National Buck
Considering the new blinks and the drop, if this guy can run at all, he figures to show it here; the 2nd and 7th finishers 7/28 graduated next out; at least both the siblings did win on grass; don't ignore.
 
A. M. Mayhem
Freshened since second time blinkers effort; even when this guy was in the money he really didn't threaten the winner; last race did come back ultra live; 4th finished took a MSW at Finger Lakes next out by over 11, 5th finisher took a maiden $20K DEL fray by 19, 7th finisher took a maiden $25K SAR seller and the winner repeated in a $20K claimer; needs wake-up call.
 
Magic Middleton
Gelding has teased several times as he shows in the career cheap spot but the extended layoff is a genuine concern; connections would love to see him start acting like top kin, triple grass winner and near $200K earner Monstrip; can't fault those that are gun shy after 4 chalk flops.
 
Six Drivers
In light again after dull debut; dam was 0 for 3; 3 of 4 siblings won including triple grass winner and over $230K earner Downtown Hottie; must display more.
 
Fastinov
Yet to run in the money, even on the drop last time the fans didn't bite to the tune of 46-1 and they were dead right; 11th finisher in last took a maiden $5K SUF claimer by over 22 lengths and the 12th finisher took a maiden $10K CD claimer in next; no speed, no asset.
 
Jade Master
At least soph has the two races under the belt; dam was unraced; all 4 siblings won including double grass winner and over $100K earner Paracaidas; he did improve with the shades in last; can't be counted out.
 
Omos Journey
Signs of life two back and he was inching toward the winner in last; looms a belated threat if at all.
 
Pentagram
He has to be considered at disappointment as a $750K purchase; backers have to hope the drop shakes him up; don't sell too short.
 
Metro
Runner showed some semblance of talent last year and he did bobble in the 2013 opener; blinks on as they were for the debut as soph double drops; backers can rest hat on fact there is a near $180K Grade 3 placed runner in the tree and also a double turf winner; this rider was up for the career best Beyer; don't be shocked if he shows much more speed.
 
Take It Easy Baba
Hung wide in last but Empire-bred may need own kind to shine; 6 for 35 dam banked $250K, won on grass once; this is her first to roll; looking elsewhere for a key top horse.

Race 10

Notmyfirstime
Have to respect what he's done his first eight starts while winning four, and even though Asmussen was willing to lose him for 50k last time, he's making his first start for Jacobson; he's tough to ignore with Castellano getting the call.
 
Isn'tlovejustgrand
This looks like it can prove to be a tough step up in class for this 5-year-old after being claimed for 25k from his latest start and this is a runner who has been quite content to settle for second and third place finishes; prefer to look toward others.
 
Gossip Column
He's run some solid races over turf in his career and he was ready to fire after a layoff in his latest start while lighting up the toteboard at just under 50-1; however, this stone-cold closer will have to be ready for a sharper performance if he's to get the better of this bunch.
 
Dehere of the Cat
Sire wins with approximately 15% of his turf starters and dam won 3 of 21 starts for 63k, including 0-for-4 over turf; this gelding is a 1/2 to Dirty Water Dog (6-36, 103k, including 4 of 12 turf starts for 90k); his recent form has been solid but this isn't an easy assignment for his first turf start.
 
Barrel of Love
Stakes placed veteran is capable of putting together a pretty decent seven furlongs over turf and a number of his better races have been run over the Belmont Park grass; third finisher from latest won next out here on 9/15 going 1 1/8m over turf in a 150k stakes with a 95 beyer.
 
Bug Juice
Multiple stakes winner has gotten the job done in 10 of 23 starts, and even thougfh he's seeking his first win over turf, both of his turf attempts have been solid performances, including a stakes placing; Ortiz has won with 17 of 60 (28%) mounts for this barn in 2013.
 
Writingonthewall
Don't want to ignore the sharp winning performance he recorded in his latest outing but this is a veteran runner who has been at his best racing at Saratoga over the years; have to list him among the contenders, but not going to be shocked if his form tails off with a return to Belmont.
 
Majestic Raffy
His recent form has been strong enough to give him a competitive look in this spot and he ran well at today's distance against a solid field after a layoff in June; at the very least, he's worthy of consideration underneath in the exotics.
 
Karakorum Legend
One of three signed on in this spot for the Rice barn and it looks like this stakes placed veteran was held back at Saratoga to wait for this meeting to get to go seven furlongs; runner up from latest won next out at Sar on 7/27 going 6f vs. 20k claimers with a 78 Beyer.
 
Sandy'z Slew
He blitzed a field in his turf debut in his latest outing, but that was going 5 1/2f, and he might find seven furlongs to be tough to cover after contesting the early pace with Ziptronic; can't count him out of it, but others entice more.
 
Ziptronic
Have to respect the impact his early speed can have on the way that this race shapes up, but he does appear to be better off at distances shorter than today's seven-furlong assignment, and Sandy'z Slew isn't likely going to let him catch an early breather.
 
Wee Freudian
There's some legitimate dirt form signed on in here but this gelding will command his share of respect while going turf-to-dirt and making his first start for a new barn after a 50k claim; Ortiz has won with 15 of 56 (27%) mounts for this barn in 2013, and this is his first call.
 
Chapman
He carries multiple stakes placed credentials with him and the next time he finishes worse than third will be the first time; like to see the improvement he's shown along the Beyer Speed Figure scale since being returned from a layoff two starts ago.
 
Groomedforvictory
There was a time when this multiple stakes winner would have been very formidable in a spot like this and this looks like it will be a good spot for him to land in if this race has to be taken off the turf; 10-time winner is a proven commodity racing over the Belmont Park main track.