09/17/2013 2:26PM

Belmont: DRF Plus handicapping report for September 18, 2013

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Race 1

Spot Play:

Like the work tab on RUBINDY (#6, 4-1), who debuts for trainer Chad Brown and lures Javier Castellano; that combination shows a flat-bet profit despite the fact that both draw a good deal of money.-Kenny Peck

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Race 2

Spot Plays:

Off-brand trainer & jock plus layoff help price, & SINGLE FOREVER could wind up with perfect pocket trip behind hot pace. Plenty of drills.-Marcus Hersh

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Race 3

Spot Plays:

Field looks barely par for class level & 1ster LADY C NOTE’s work pattern looks above par for class level. Barn has won with debuting maiden-claimer before.-Marcus Hersh

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Race 4

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Race 5

Analysis:

Race 5 is the first leg of the Pick 6, which features a carryover of over $176k, and contains a pair of lukewarm ML favorites in DAN’T SAY NO (#1, 3/1) & SMILING BOB (#6, 7/2) that may be vulnerable.  Don’t Say No is an infrequent winner who has been a  beaten favorite in 6 of his last 10 starts, including the last 2 upstate; he goes for a very good barn, and his race two back over this track/trip makes him competitive, but he was a virtual no show last time without an apparent excuse.  The 3yo Smiling Bob parlayed a perfect trip into a new Beyer top on Travers Day, and he’s won over this course & distance before, but his overall form, for the most part, doesn’t make him that competitive in here, and he’d be tough to take straight up in the win pool at any kind of short price.

My ideas against those two were DRIVEN BY SOLAR (#3, 5/1) and MARTINI MADNESS (#5, 4/1).  Driven By Solar will throw in an occasional clunker, but he can be very sharp when he is right, and has run well on turf in the past with limited chances; I’m hoping that his apprentice rider is on a send here.  Martini Madness shows an uninspiring 1-for-11 career record on grass, but that slate has been compiled vs. mostly tougher competition, and he has improved off the claim by a young, talented trainer. 

Race 6

Analysis:

Race 6 is a solid turf sprint for NY-bred fillies, and features another vulnerable ML favorite in AVE’S HALO (#9, 3/1).  Not that she’s done anything wrong recently, but Ave’s Halo is starting to run out of chances after getting three very good trips in a row, only to come up short at the end (yes, I realize that  last time she was wired by a loose-on-the lead Uncle Southern).  She can win, but this is a much tougher race and I’m against her.
The 3yo’s IMAGE OF NOON (#8, 7/2) and ATLANTIC’S SMILE (#11, 5/1) figure to garner plenty of support, and deservedly so.  Both are turning back to what should be a better distance, and they’ve shown enough ability to make it difficult to leave them out of any multi-race wager. 

For alternatives, I might try DESERT BLISS (#4, 8/1), who apparently may never win another race, but runs every time, and was badly compromised by the flow of that September 7th race, which was slow early & fast late; and maybe WHITE SANGRIA (#3, 12/1), who was dreadful at Saratoga off an 8 month layoff, but had promise as a three-year-old turf sprinter, and could surprise here if she just needed one off the bench.

Closer Looks >>

Race 7

Analysis:

Race 7 SABOULI (#2, 7/2) and ENGLISH RHYTHM (#4, 4/1) both rallied late and came up just short behind a front-running winner toward the end of the Saratoga meet, when early speed was at a premium on turf, but the horse to take out of that August 28th race may be HOLIDAY’S JEWEL ((#1, 5/2), who lost all chance after clipping heels into the backstretch and almost going down.  It appeared that Javier Castellano just took care of her after it was apparent she wasn’t going to recover, and let her fall out of contention, so I wouldn’t put much emphasis on the margin of defeat there. 
JEAN’S SURPRISE (#7, 8/1) may be the value in the race, as she brings solid form to the mix as a 3yo, and has a quality effort showing two back vs. Lady’s Lunar Luck, who repeated in her next start with an 85 Beyer. 

For a longshot include, I would look to LA STRADA (#5, 12/1) who gets a class test here, but to me has put together a pair of turf efforts this year that are both better than they may appear on paper.  She handled some very testing ground vs. maiden claimers in her turf debut here on May 19th, and finished strongly after making a four-wide run to be in hand under the wire; she then went to MTH and got caught in behind the wire-to-wire winner on a moderate pace all the way, and never was able to get into the clear through the stretch.  She faces some solid competition here, but I’ll try to get her into the mix if she stays in double-digit odds territory.

Live Longshot:

LA STRADA (#5, 12-1) Came from next-to-last to win her seasonal and turf debut at the spring meet. She was compromised by a slow pace in her only subsequent start on grass, and her latest in an off-the-turfer at Saratoga is a complete throw-out.-Dave Litfin

Closer Looks >>

Race 8

Analysis:

Race 8 FLORAL ROMANCE (#6) is a little light at 2/1 on the ML line, but is a difficult horse to leave out of a bet like the Pick 6, as she has run very well over firm turf in her career, especially when she is able to sit back and make a run; pace will be the key to her chances.  MARIEL N KATHY (#3, 7/2) hasn’t won a race since last October, but she’s kept good company this year, has the tactical speed to get any kind of trip in here, and is just a logical horse in this race.  For alternatives, I don’t really get ANNA SOPHIA (#1, 5/1), who has only been okay throughout her career for a pair of very good trainers – so the change to Pletcher doesn’t do much for me; or SWEET AND LOVELY (#8, 4/1) who I’ll admit is more dangerous, but she was a complete no show last time with front wraps on for the first time.  Instead, I’ll look to give ROCK MY HEART (#7, 6/1) another chance for Chad Brown.  Rock My Heart didn’t factor in the stretch of her stateside debut, but I thought she emerged with something of an excuse – here are my notes for that race via Formulator:

Race : no closers, top 2 up there all the way

Rock My Heart: bounced around between horses break & was under a hard hold off pace, came 3w to stretch, no finish

I’ll hope she can better that effort with a cleaner trip here at a good price.

Spot Play:

ANNA SOPHIA (#1, 5-1) same owners move this 4yo filly to the Pletcher barn after going off form for a couple of races; has run a couple of races that fit right in here and can improve with the four months off.-Chuck Kuehhas

Vulnerable Favorite:

FLORAL ROMANCE (2-1) Twice-beaten favorite comes off a 2nd-place finish against similar but she could not have had a better trip/set-up, getting a clean inside trip behind a very quick pace; this is shorter, and she does seem better going longer, and she doesn't figure to get that kind of pace scenario in this one. -Kenny Peck

Closer Looks >>

Race 9

Analysis:

Race 9 has the shortest priced ML favorite in the sequence in BE BULLISH (#3, 5/2), and there’s no denying that the 8yo class-master is the horse to beat, but to me this race requires some spreading.  JETER (#4, 4/1) has been a disappointment overall throughout his career, but gets a trainer change to Mike Hushion for this, which makes him interesting.  UNCLE T SEVEN (#1A, 3/1) is part of a David Jacobson entry, which figures to hurt his price, but he’s on a big class drop and his win first start off the claim by these connections broke a 22-race losing streak, which spanned almost three years.  LITIGATE (#6, 5/1) sat out the Saratoga meet, but was in excellent form when last seen.  CRACKERJACK JONES (#8, 15/1) appears to be in a little tough, but he has speed and was oddly rated from the rail when a disappointing 5th as the favorite last time out; moving to an outside post helps, and his win two back is better than it looks on paper as he was the lone survivor of a hotly contested pace.

Closer Looks >>

Race 10

Analysis:

Race 10 figures to go through GRIDIRON GREAT (#7, 7/2) who takes a big drop in class; the slight turn back to 7-furlongs should be okay for him, and he ran well enough here in a pair of May starts before enduring a tough trip on July 26th at Saratoga.  I thought ST. SINCERE (#11, 5/1) was the main danger to the favorite, despite failing at a short price in each of his last two starts.  St. Sincere ran very well two back on a strong pace, and was likely best in that race despite being closed down late, and he simply ran off with blinkers on last time and was finished by the time they hit the top of the stretch.

Spot Play:

ITS HUGE close 2nd trying $25K maidens short on grass 1st time, & excuses since. Closed into a slow pace 8/30 at SAR, race where front-running winner got final 1/16th in 6 seconds. -Marcus Hersh

Closer Looks >>