09/24/2013 3:11PM

Belmont: DRF Plus handicapping report for September 25, 2013

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Race 1

Spot Play:

Lisvernane (#5, 6-1) ran well when fresh at Saratoga with a close third in an allowance there; similar preparation into this; value is there.  – Byron King

Livelong Shots:

ROCK ON BABY (#8, 20-1) did not run to her usual races in her most recent but there were a couple of potential excuses, including a possible "bounce" in her 2nd start off the layoff, but, perhaps more likely, it was the result of a premature move and a tepid pace; lots of upside in her first start off the claim for a barn winning at 30% with such runners. -Kenny Peck

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Race 2

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Race 3

Analysis:

RACE 3 is the $100k Jazzy Stakes, scheduled for seven-furlongs on the widener turf course.  The ML favorite is BAFFLE ME (#3, 2/1), who will be making her 4th consecutive start in one of these $100k overnight stakes races (the prior three were all restricted to horses which have not won either a graded stakes, or any stakes races, in 2013).  I have no real argument with Baffle Me in this race, as she appears to be the main speed on paper, and getting a slight cut back to this distance may help her chances.  However, there is other speed in this race, and a quality one in the form of FREE AS A BIRD (#1, 5/1) which should keep things honest up front (though nothing surprises me anymore as far as the manner in which races are run around here these days, especially on grass).

Any kind of legitimate pace in this race will help the chances of the horse that I want to play in here, CORSAGE (#4, 7/2).  After winning half of her starts in France while racing exclusively over synthetic surfaces, Corsage made her stateside and turf debut early on in the Saratoga meet and put in a game finish despite getting caught up in one of those paceless races.  Here are my notes, via Formulator, for that race in general & for Corsage specifically:

Tight pack throughout on easy pace, fast late
Rated & was 3w b/s and through 2T, kicked on gamely stretch but couldn't catch

I'm going to hope the ML price holds up, and play Corsage to catch at least a fair pace, which I think gives her a big chance to close down the leaders in the final furlong.

Spot Play:

MY JOPIA trained extremely well up to scheduled Aug. 26 start when scratched as a main track only entrant in overnight turf stakes. Owns a win over this course, could be a bit of a sleeper at the price in this spot.-Mike Welsch

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Race 4

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Race 5

Vulnerable Favorite:

SHAKEIRA (6-5)
She's listed at 6-5 on the Morning Line but while she exits statebred stakes her best Beyers aren't that much better than what a horse like EDIE (#1, 3-1) is posting. She was hurt by the race flow in that last one but she doesn't figure to get all that much pace in this one, either. -Kenny Peck

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Race 6

Analysis:

RACE 6 is an open-looking $20k claimer also scheduled for seven-furlongs on the widener.  I'm going to try FLY RIDE (#9, 6/1) who has sprinted very effectively over Belmont turf, with two wins and a very game runnerup finish two starts back.  Fly Ride didn't run quite as well over a course with some give in it when last seen back in mid-July, but he was forward from an inside post that day without any real aggression from his rider, and was down inside through the stretch.  Fly Ride hasn't run since that race over two months ago, but he was entered to run at least three different times upstate, so I'll assume all is well with him - and skipping those shorter turf sprints up at Saratoga may not have been the worst idea in the world for him, anyway. 

Spot Play:

FLY RIDE (#9, 6-1): Idle since mid-July, but both victories were delivered when fresh, beginning with maiden graduation on this same Widener course at today’s seven-furlong distance last September; gets some weight off picking up live apprentice.-Dave Litfin

Race 7

Spot Play:

EASTWOOD (#5, 2-1) Was working very well in Saratoga, including an A- move with Forty Tales on July 22nd. This three-year-old colt should be fit when making his first start for new connections. - Mike Vesce

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Race 8

Analysis:

RACE 8 CASHLEIGH (#6, 5/1) was a rare claim by trainer Phil Serpe (at that time, Cashleigh was the first horse claimed by Serpe in at least 5 years, though he has since claimed three horses during the Saratoga meet), and in three starts for his new connections, Cashleigh hasn't exactly had a fair chance while facing better competition.  All three of his starts for Serpe have featured moderate paces, which really works against a horse with his running style, and after getting wired by Yo Blue while trying to stay closer than usual two back, Cashleigh was stuck trying a four-wide run into a race that saw the top three finishers go that way around the track at Saratoga last time.

Spot Play:

FORCE MULTIPLIER (#3, 6-1) was a play for us Sept. 14 but a lousy start in his first try vs. winners basically eliminated him. To his credit, he kept to his task. Now hot-riding Castellano takes the call and not only is there a drop in price but he also drops to face N2L foes, which can surely help. The added ground won’t hurt, either, and that last run may help keep your price palatable (race must stay on turf).-Michael Hammersly

Race 9

Spot Play:

TAX ALEX broke slow, rushed to contention, stopped badly debuting under a $50K tag at seven furlongs now drops to the bottom, turns back in distance, switches to grass, eligible for big improvement with the class and distance relief.-Mike Welsch

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