09/19/2013 11:40AM

Belmont: DRF Plus handicapping report for September 20, 2013


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Race 1

Live Longshot

ARC ABOVE (#6, 10-1): Both of his career victories have come on this turf course at today’s 10-furlong distance. He was compromised by a lack of early pace when an even fifth behind Star Channel in their July 6 meeting. -Dave Litfin

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Race 2


Race 3

Race 3 features the return of last year’s 2yo champ SHANGHAI BOBBY (#3, 1-2), who hasn’t run since sustaining a pelvic fracture when finishing 5th in the Grade 1 Florida Derby back on March 30th. Shanghai Bobby wasn’t a dazzling two-year-old, especially for one that was a winner of as many big races as he was, but he showed up every time and was a thoroughly deserving Eclipse winner. It will be interesting to see how he comes back in this race, but at a short price he is a horse worth playing against.

I’ll take a shot with DADS CAPS (#2, 10-1). Dads Caps was a convincing winner of his first two career starts over the winter on AQU’s inner dirt, which included a win over heavily favored TENANGO (#5, 4-1) who he’ll meet again in this spot. In his return from a five month layoff on the Travers undercard at Saratoga, Dads Caps was asked to go seven-furlongs and was given a very conservative ride before eventually tiring late to finish 4th; here’s how I saw it, via the Notes feature in Formulator:

speed from gate to lead but conceded it to winner and wound up after him out 3w, brought a challenge coming to stretch but couldn’t catch, weakened late

To me, Dads Caps looked like a short horse in that race, and it didn’t help that his rider elected to give away the early advantage to the eventual winner (although, to be fair, if he needed a race off the bench he may have been riding to instructions). I’m hoping Dads Caps will be tighter for his second start off the layoff, and if he is I believe he has plenty of room to go forward which could make him tough.

Spot Play

TENAGO (#5, 4-1) is likely to be overlooked for cold connections and with champion Shanghai Bobby returning; favorable Beyers and figure pattern. – Byron King


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Race 4

Race 4 SLAMARAMA (#8, 6-5) is the horse to beat in this $20k claimer for turf sprinters, after contesting the pace all the way only to succumb to a prefect trip winner when dropped to this level last time. There isn’t a lot of other speed signed on to this race, and for that reason, more than anything he’s done on the track, I may think twice before taking a shot against him here, but there is a viable alternative to him in the form of TRICKY SLAM (#1, 3-1). Tricky Slam was dropped to this level for his only start so far this year back in June, and he just lost all chance at the start after getting bumped from both sides and checking back, ultimately losing several lengths. He raced on ok after that in a performance that is better than it appears on paper, and the fact that he was claimed out of that race by David Jacobson doesn’t hurt. He appears to be the main threat to the favorite and has enough speed to keep in himself in range early.

Spot Play

ELUSIVE SON (#4, 5-1) drops to a much more realistic spot here after being thrown to the wolves in last pair, facing the likes of Winning Cause and Joha; demand double digit mutuel. - Chuck Kuehhas


Race 5

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Race 6

Live Longshot

FOREVER UTOPIA (#4, 8-1) deserves a second chance after a tumultuous debut, breaking slowly before making a premature move and tiring late; clean start can make all the difference. -Kenny Peck

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Race 7

Race 7 I like BRILLIANT COMMAND (#7, 10-1) in this race, and am betting him. Brilliant Command made what I thought was a very promising debut early in the Saratoga meet behind Chad Brown’s Calm Pacific, who has since come back to win again with an 87 Beyer: kept outside all the way from off pace & was 3-4w both turns, game stretch run to get up to lead & battled, good debut

Brilliant Command finished only a nose in front of LOCHTE (#1, 3-1), whom he will meet again in this spot, but to me he ran the better race that day (Lochte was in a perfect trip all the way around) and I would much rather have him in this race, especially when you consider the likely odds at post time. Forget Brilliant Command’s last race, where he trailed in a race that was dominated wire-to-wire and wasn’t put all in through the stretch when it was apparent that he had no chance to catch.

Spot Play

ARMATURE (#4, 15-1) shows work dating to June 12 & does appear to have missed time, so could be fit enough for debut going long on grass. The grass work Aug. 12 at Saratoga seems quite suggestive. Interesting prospect.- Marcus Hersh

Vulnerable Favorite

SECRETIVE (#5, 5-2): Yes, this colt is one of those beautifully-bred Phipps homebreds, and yes, he has been respectable thus far in five career tries. But does he really want to win? He’s already had a sufficient number of chances, dating back more than a year ago, and we all know that the combo of Johnny V. and Shug tends to drag down the mutuel numbers anyway. It might not be that bad an idea to include him on your verticals while reserving the top spot for the likes of several others who look just as capable, those being Lochte, Give Me Liberty, and Mr. Jenney. – Marty McGee


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Race 8

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Race 9

Race 9 YOUR TIME IS UP (#9, 8-1) is a horse that I have to play today as she exits a no-chance trip when last seen in June. Facing what was a much tougher field of horses than the one she meets today, Your Time Is Up showed no early initiative after bumping a bit at the start, and then was down inside without the cleanest of runs in a race in which they walked early and then sprinted through the stretch (the final two furlongs went in :11.2 & :11.3). It’s possible that she just isn’t very talented, and it’s also possible that she isn’t a turf horse, but I think she has a big excuse for her last start and she has certainly found the right field today.

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