09/14/2013 3:15PM

Belmont: DRF Plus handicapping report for September 15, 2013


DRF Plus Preview

Race 1

Let's look a little closer at this MSW for 2yo fillies, which pits a trio of horses who were behind the impressive Pletcher firster Sweet Whiskey (86 Beyer as a 2/5 favorite in that race) against some interesting new faces. All of KNACQUE (#1, 5-1), TEA TIME (#3, 6-1) and RADIANT (#5, 9-2) showed promise in that August 11th race, especially when you consider that were all sent out by trainers who are not placing a premium on winning first time out - although Tea Time's trainer, Michael Matz, can have a horse ready at first asking, and wins with those horses more often than the other two, Bobby Ribaudo and Bill Mott. Radiant, Mott's Sky Mesa filly, took some money in that race at 4/1, which is an especially short price when you consider the way that Pletcher's filly was bet in there; Radiant was the only other horse in the field who wasn't double-digit odds at post time. To me, that's significant, as is the fact that Mott has already won with 2 second-out maidens at this short meet. I'll have no argument with anyone that likes either of Knacque or Tea Time better in this spot, as they both ran well & finished ahead of Radiant in that race, especially if they are around their ML odds at post time.

Checking out the first time starters, the ML favorite is LEXI MORGAN (#4, 7-2) but that line is likely based on the Pletcher factor, and I would be surprised if this horse was actually that short come post time. Lexi Morgan is well connected, obviously, but she's by Arch and is a half-sister to the multiple stakes winning turf horse Hudson Steele (6-of-7 career wins on turf, including the Gr2 Dixie, and over $400k earned on that surface) which makes me wonder about her being a dirt sprinter; she may be a short price to take a shot against (again, if she is in fact a short price).

PENWITH (#7, 8-1) goes out for the red-hot connections of Darley/Kiaran McLaughlin, and sports a series of good works for her debut. She is out of the multiple Gr1 winner Composure, who was runnerup in the BC Juvenile Fillies in 2002, and won both the Las Virgenes & Santa Anita Oaks as a 3yo. Composure was a horse that improved with distance (she broke her maiden in career start #3), and the same can be said for the two good foals she has dropped so far (Centring and Tranquil Manner - both multiple winners & Grade 1 placed routers). Whatever happens with Penwith in this race, she is a horse worth following for a few starts, especially as the distances increase.

EUPHROSYNE (#8, 8-1) is a Harlan's Holiday filly out of a dam, Three Graces, who, while she did break her maiden second out sprinting on dirt, was ultimately a turf horse (she won a minor stakes on grass at Canterbury Park). Three Graces, though, is a half-sister to the good dirt sprinter Private Horde, who was not only a 13-time winner and earner of over $700k, but he put up 13 triple digit Beyer's in his career, including a 117 fig in winning the 2003 Vanderbilt (Grade 2) at Saratoga (sloppy track). Trained by the underrated Eddie Kenneally, who can win with a first time starter, Euphrosyne is an interesting horse in this race, especially if she's taking some money.


Spot Play

SUPHROSYNE (#8, 4-1) may be overlooked a bit in the wagering in this deep opener but some of her works do strongly suggest she has ability; using her with KNACQUE (#1, 5-1), TEA TIME (#3, 6-1) and LEXI MORGAN (#4, 7-2) in exotics. –Kenny Peck

Closer Looks >>

Race 2


Race 3

Race 3 is a race I'm interested in playing Sunday, as I have an idea on a horse who should be a good price, and am a little skeptical of at least one of the ML favorites in the race. Although I have been waiting to play NON STOP (#3, 4-1) back in a race like this after what I thought was an underrated effort on July 27th, I'm tired of waiting and am going against him here. For what it's worth, Non Stop has been entered twice since that race and has actually made it to the track both times only to be scratched - once after dropping his rider on the way to the track, and then by the vet prior to a race here last week; he'll win without me now.

I like CURVE BALL (#4, 10-1) in this race, and I'm going to bet him to win and play him with the likely clear favorite TIZMAS (#2, 9-5). After running a couple of good races as a 3yo, Curve Ball was retuned from a layoff this year and dumped in for $16k - a race he promptly won easily while being claimed. Making his next start vs. winners for a $15k tag, Curve Ball once again proved too much for cheaper competition and won as he pleased with a 77 Beyer. Since that race, he has run on turf (and didn't run well) and then landed in an extremely tough $20k claimer upstate. Consider that in that race he was running against Pure Attitide (84 Beyer for that win which was first off the claim by David Jacobson); Winning Touch, who was on a big class drop out of allowance company and has consistently run Beyer's in the upper-80's & 90's throughout his career; and Martini Madness, who posted a 98 Beyer in his most recent dirt start prior to that race, and promptly won his next start with a figure of 90. All of that combines to make me want to forgive Curve Ball's poor effort in that race and give him a chance to bounce back here in what has to be an easier field.

The second choice on the ML is HEWITTS (#9, 7-2) and while he has plenty of competitive races on his card, he's become an infrequent winner and figures to see plenty of pace pressure in here, assuming the field stays intact.


Live Longshot

CURVE BALL (#4, 10-1): If you give him a mulligan for racing wide at Saratoga first off the claim, and draw a line through his turf race before that, that brings you to his two races to begin the year at Belmont’s spring meet, which he won by a combined nine lengths.- Dave Litfin


Race 4

Closer Looks >>

Race 5

Closer Looks >>

Race 6

Spot Play

Most of these horses going 7fs on grass are turning back from longer races, & there’s little speed in the race. Outside-drawn ED’S MAGIC (#10, 20-1) comes out of dirt sprints & showed speed last time. Might make easy lead, go long way at long odds.- Marcus Hersh

Closer Looks >>

Race 7

Spot Play

HARBOR MIST (#5, 12-1) when last seen on the turf, in spring of ’12, she ran two very respectable races, her lone starts on the sod; think she fits well here at double digit odds.- Chuck Kuehhas

Closer Looks >>

Race 8

Closer Looks >>

Race 9


Closer Looks >>

Race 10

I'll take a bit of a leap of faith in the finale and try RUN TO MAMA (#4, 15/1) at the expense of the three horses entered back here out of the Lumineuse (who was a habitual disappointment for Christophe Clement before winning that race at 22/1 off a change to Patrick Quick) race on August 19th - a race I'm just not going to be forgiving of. Run to Mama didn't take to dirt very well, although she didn't really have a fair chance either time, but I do think that she showed at least some ability in her two tries on grass while racing greenly both times. At around her ML price, I'll hope that she's gained enough experience to run a complete race on Sunday, which to me makes her very competitive in a race like this one.

Closer Looks >>