09/20/2013 11:08AM

Belmont: DRF Plus handicapping report for September 21, 2013

Email

DRF Plus Preview

Race 1

Spot Play

POPPA LOVES MAMBO (#8, 5-1) sprung to life in his latest with a close second in the mud at Saratoga; chilly Prado should boost price. – Byron King

Race 2

Closer Looks >>

Race 3

Closer Looks >>

Race 4

Spot Play

HAVERHILL (#7, 4-1) sharp owner moves this one to Jacobson in an effort to get this 5yo gelding on his preferred surface, dirt; demand Morning Line or a tick lower.- Chuck Kuehhas

 

Vulnerable Favorite

KINGSFORD DRIVE (#1, 7-2) cuts back from mile turf race and draws the rail for this 6 furlong trip; projects to a tough trip here vs a couple of in-form foes. - Chuck Kuehhas

 

Closer Looks >>

Race 5

 

Race 6

Live Longshot

 

NOWHERE TO RUN (#7, 12-1): In a juvenile maiden guess-fest, this new shooter boasts the top turf Tomlinson and has been readied by Michael Dilger, a young trainer who sent out eventual Sanford winner Wired Bryan to a seven-length debut win at the spring meet, also with Johnny V. aboard. -Dave Litfin

Closer Looks >>

Race 7

Vulnerable Favorite

PARNELLI (#5, 3-1) shook loose on moderate pace over end-of-meet SAR grass course that heavily promoted speed. Yes, he’s better since Lasix, but still think he’s overplayed on class rise here. - Marcus Hersh

Closer Looks >>

Race 8

Spot Play

KEEP UP (#8, 12-1) had little chance in Arlington ‘Cap given race shape and trip. Big horse with a big late kick when right should like the gentler BEL turn. Looks like sufficient pace to set table, & he is good enough.- Marcus Hersh

Closer Looks >>

Race 9

Race 9 is the Grade 2 Gallant Bloom Handicap for older filly & mare sprinters, and it could hardly have come up a better race. There is a lot going on here with some talented layoff horses returning to action along with some more lightly raced fillies who feel like they still have room to improve (which they will have to do to win this), but the discussion has to begin with the ML favorite DANCE TO BRISTOL (#8, 2-1), a winner of seven straight races, including a richly deserved Grade 1 last time out at Saratoga. Dance to Bristol isn’t going to scare anyone away from a race she is entered in anytime soon, but all she does is win, and she has never been better than she was in her last two starts upstate, winning the Gr2 Honorable Miss despite a less than perfect trip; then getting a great trip & ride from Xavier Perez in the Ballerina before digging deep when the chips were down to see off a talented Grade 1 performer in Book Review. She’s drawn well on the outside this time, and may be catching her two main rivals (or, at least, the two most talented other horses in the race) at the right time as they return from long layoffs.

CLUSTER OF STARS (#2, 3-1) is a fast, undefeated NY-bred for top connections returning from a long layoff. The major question for Cluster of Stars in this spot revolves around her fitness, as it seems pretty clear to this point that she has the talent to win a race like this. We haven’t seen her since mid-April, and being drawn to the inside post likely forces the hand of Javier Castellano, but it’s worth pointing out that speed & the inside have been almost unbeatable since racing returned to Belmont, so that may not be a bad thing assuming the bias continues.

DANCE CARD (#1A, 7-2) is perhaps the most talented horse in the field after stinging together four straight impressive wins as a three-year-old, culminating with a blowout of the Grade 1 Gazelle last November; the problem is, she has had surgery to reportedly remove chips from both front ankles since that race, and you get the feeling that the Gallant Bloom is just a place for her to get started. Maybe she’ll win it on talent alone, but you’ll be better off in the long run playing against these kinds of horses at short prices. It is entirely possible, however, that Dance Card’s entrymate, VILLANESCA (#1, 7-2) could bail out anyone taking the McLaughlin duo, assuming that Dance Card needs one of the bench. Villanesca has some improvement to find if she’s going to beat a horse like Dance to Bristol, but she was not embarrassed by that horse in the Ballerina and she does appear to be a filly who is still improving at this point. The problem with Villanesca from a wagering standpoint is (and I likely will bet her if Dance Card scratches) being part of an entry with a Grade 1 winner kills any value that might have been available on her. Perhaps the most interesting horse to take a shot with in here, from a wagering perspective, is HOLIDAY SOIREE (#3, 4-1). We’ll see how the betting goes, as value is often hard to come by when talking about Tood Pletcher-trainer horses, and 4/1 certainly doesn’t feel like much of it in this field, but Holiday Soiree was always a horse I have felt might one day be able to factor in graded stakes races, and she really appeared to turn a corner last time – which was her first start since being sold and transferred to Pletcher’s barn. She wasn’t beating anyone of substantial quality when burying the field in a restricted stakes race last time, but she did it convincingly with a new Beyer top, and she may be in the right place at the right time with Dance Card & Cluster of Stars returning from layoffs, and Dance to Bristol wheeling back off of a bit of a gut-wrencher upstate.

Closer Looks >>

Race 10

Closer Looks >>

 

tim blake More than 1 year ago
I have to agree with AnnF. It's sad but true. there is no sport of horse racing anymore. Most races are not even really races. the jockeys know the results before the races start. It's a shame and a disgrace.
AnnyF More than 1 year ago
Horse racing is not a game of sports but business. They cheat you. Just go for fun & luck.. You wait & see years later .A lot of race tracks will be closed like Hollywood Park Who can afford to lose so much? Please think about my good advise. fd. fong. ed. fong