10/04/2001 11:00PM

A CLOSER LOOK at Belmont races on 10/06



1st Belmont


Wasn't disgraced vs. slightly tougher upstate in the mud going 7 furlongs and looked good winning in last; colt has speed to maintain contact but is probably looking at a stalking trip; repeat well within realm.

Fight for Love

Senior citizen has been in a prolonged slump; picked up most of his foes in seasonal debut at Spa at boxcars, then regressed on the drop; there is enough speed in here to help his late cause; honest pace seems mandatory for him to make any sort of impact.

Duro de Matar

Proved he could put big races together with 3 smashers on inner trip to open career; has arch rival on rail among others to deal with here; there is a possibility this guy just thrives on the inner strip; in light for good barn, can't count out.


Beat pair on the comeback last time, now drops a couple of floors; fact runner beat much tougher here 13 months ago gives him legit shot; live rider, good barn helps cause; runner is back in a hurry, best effort makes him valid factor.

Bold Pic

Flashed brief speed two back, shocked softer group in last when make the top after a half; runner may have a tougher time getting to the lead with Kipper in the mix on extreme outside; seems to have work cut out to repeat.

Zi Pep

Bothered at the break, came wide, ran out of real estate; this guy has been around the block and back and knows all the tricks; he's beaten tougher, is seldom out of the mix; last won for this rider vs. higher priced group; exotic potential for sure.


Gave rail a run for his money two back, was beat up at the break in last and never got untracked; been eons since a win for this guy; only 2 for 23 career, he has never been big on closing the deal; no speed, no asset; tough to love.

Answer Man

Face it, he build his reputation in Maryland but hasn't really broken through on this circuit; runner has a bit of zip but nothing compared to the :44 and change variety of foe on direct outside; out to make amends, would be wary of taking a short number.

Skipper Kipper

Beat slightly tougher in the mud here in May, held his own vs. double the priced runner 3 back, hooked the slop, was overmatched in Spa finale; basically has one way to go and that is to the front attempting a theft; dangerous.

-Brian Mulligan

2nd Belmont

Skip a Grade

Beat by a Delp horse in last who has won 3 of 14 career; show horse in last is 2 for 18 lifetime; needs pace to run at which probably means connections need to hope Sweet Equity and Harley hook up big time early on; Bailey enticed, late threat if at all.

Harley Quinn

Fried in Spa debut, stumbled in next, was right there after 6 furlongs in last outing; bred to get trip on top side, and would expect rider to send hard; exits decent fray Peak Dancer came back to get beat a neck in a N3x spot here 9/21 as the chalk; dangerous.

Pure Prize

Cut out to be any kind with superstar breeding; this runner takes action every time, figures to again; winner of 8/27 race returned to run third in the $75k Summing in Jersey 9/22; broke his maiden here at this distance, could click right back.


The now horses in the Travers, it could have been too much to ask against the best in the business; E Dubai exited Travers to miss by a half length in the Super Derby as the chalk; should get a legit pace, check out super move on 9/23; he fits the conditions to a T, should be right there.

Tom's Thunder

Empire bred could be in too tough; runner is back on best surface and he has speed; colt does appear to prefer the Big A though; ran second on the surface switch in March, figures to get another stalking trip; not thrilled with chances on top.

Sweat Equity

Off the board last time at this level; not really sure if this guy wants to go this far; he was through pretty early on the lawn here in June; two for one always enticing and you can not dismiss speed.

High Note

Dead last, then he beat one in last 2 stretch out attempts; recent race over the track can't hurt and he did catch the mud; wouldn't expect both halves of entry to show speed, this guy might be the closer of the two; the way he drew off going a furlong shorter says the distance is no problem.

-Brian Mulligan

3rd Belmont

Blazing Saddle

Pressed the issue and stopped badly the last time for a tag; basically just passed tired horses in last 2 outings; with his kind of style, everything will have to fall perfectly into place; tough to love.


Tough beat while clear in Jersey finale; like the fact colt has run okay at a number of different venues; he has speed to maintain contact, is in good hands, could be set to show best stuff here.

Blending Swords

The speed half of the Jerkens entry; runner was allowed to control the pace 3 back but was getting late at the wire; popped and stopped in Spa finale, not really convinced he'll be able to clear here; got to figure instructions will include work send.

Thunders Luck

Ran his eyeballs out in defeat in open company 2 back, added wraps, stopped badly upstate when probably over his head a bit; runner seems to show best stuff when allowed his head and to show speed; nothing wrong with switch to Velazquez, backers figure to get brief thrill at least.

Come On Now Sean

Gelding brings legit speed to table, he is proven at the level, likes the going here and seems ideally placed; last won for this rider, should be right there at crunch time.


Hails from cagey barn, is only 4 for 32 career, but he is proven for this price and has won locally; this is a better distance for him as he was no threat in marathon last time out; series of recent drills attest to fitness; respect.


Troubled the last time for a tag; was bothered a bit in the West Point but probably was in a trifle steep anyway; like the fact he blew out right on top of race, could be the bomb in the gimmicks.

Draw Shot

Have always liked this guy; he wins his share, showed he belongs in this company with decent second at the level last time to bat; veteran does seem to thrive locally and Penna spots them patiently; should be a serious threat in the drive.

Quiet One

Back on preferred surface after he forced honest pace in local bow; the good news is that veteran is proven for the price, doesn't need the lead to win, is back with Stevens and should love the trip; best puts right in the thick of it.

Bin Rosie

Looks like the perfect compliment for speedy entrymate; runner comes off even try vs. softer in a race he had to need; winner of 2000 finale has hit the board only once this year in 7 starts; pace will have to be hot and heavy for this guy to get there.

Pure Harmony

Limited data on sire with grass runners; this guy has given way badly of late and could be in for a rude awakening; in light but would expect runner to get caught up in a duel and not have much left for the real racing.


Not really convinced that grass is his best situation; the other thing that jumps off the canvas is all those seconds; runner does have more speed than he flashed in last and he is a hot claim box item; should be forwardly placed if allowed to race.


Wants a lonely lead to show best talent; was getting late while prevailing two back so the shorter trip should work to his advantage; back quickly, and one can never dismiss speed.

Billy Haggard

Got to give it to him, he dances every dance; only 2 for 28 the last couple of seasons, runner has stopped on a dime of late and will be hooking other speed if race comes off sod; he does seem to prefer this distance; will be an early factor at least.

U. S. Gold

Was life and death vs. softer in the slop when posting last win at 2-5; he caved in badly on the lawn, then was never in the hunt last time; Jersey bred will likely flash speed again but it's doubtful he will be around at the end.


He likes to win races, has been right there with this caliber foe in the past, and should get a solid stalking trip if race comes off the grass; runner looked super in Spa finale; could be repeater.

-Brian Mulligan

4th Belmont

Sovereign Sweep

Sire gets average results with his first-time starters, and dam won 4 of 30 starts for 72k; dam is a 1/2 to G3 winner Grit's n Hard Toast who won 4 of 26 starts for 357k; this colt is a 1/2 to Rich In Glory who won 4 of 15 starts for 164k.

Final Strike

Sire gets above average results with his first-time starters, and dam was unraced; dam is a 1/2 to multiple G1 winner Conquistador Cielo who won 9 of 13 starts for 474k.


Sire gets average results with his first-time starters, and this is the first foal from unraced dam; not crazy about the fact that this colt shows works as far back as July, but it's Baffert, and he lures Bailey, so it's reasonable to suspect that this colt has some ability.


Sire gets below average results with his first-time starters, and this is the first foal from dam who was winless in her only start; dam is a 1/2 to multiple G1 winner Real Quiet who won 6 of 20 starts for $3.2 million, but more distance may prove the key for this one.

Special Song

Gets Lasix after solid debut at the Spa, and it looks like the turnback in distance won't do anything to hurt his chances; Bailey loses interest and will opt to ride for Baffert in here, but that will help the price for people looking in this direction.

Stormy Look

Sire gets excellent results from his debut runners, and unraced dam is a 1/2 to G1 winner Private Terms who won 12 of 17 starts for $1.2 million; this colt is a 1/2 to multiple G1 winner Coronado's Quest who won 10 of 17 starts for over $2 million; absence of top name rider raises questions.

Mighty Gulch

Exits a better than average maiden event where he finished 3rd after pressing the early pace, and he's been working right along since that effort; like to see Stevens take the call, but this is a field boasting some potential.


This outfit has done a lot of good things since the beginning of the Saratoga meet, and has shown to be very good with young/lightly raced horses; of the ones that have run this one looks like the one to beat, so can't argue with anyone standing in his corner.


He's been a mild disappointment in his three starts so far as he appeared to be doing very well when compared to promising stablemate Thunderello prior to debut; perhaps connections can help this colt turn it around, but really haven't been impressed with him so far.

Sweep And Go

Sire gets average results with his first-time starters, and minor stakes winning dam won 5 of 33 starts for 102k; barn going well, and presence of Velazquez is nice, but some of the other firsters intrigue a bit more.

-Brian Pochman

5th Belmont

Richie's Girls

Mare owns positional speed and adores the local grass course; the rail draw on the inner turf gives her an apparent edge on main pace rival Counting Visions; winless this year but seems eligible to finish stronger today after squandering a lead late vs. Star Creek who was in the midst of a 3-race winning streak; not impossible.

Sky Mist

The lone entrant exiting a score rebounded from a series of poor efforts to post that $31.20 upset; filly is also saddled with the topweight assignment due to that victory; goes postward coupled with Some Irish Legend who usually prefers a minor award; others rate higher.

Smooth Blues

Chavez takes the return call after this 2-for-41 mare who completed the exacta on the dirt behind a 1-5 favored winner; clearly lacks a winning profile and note the barn is clicking at only 7% on the year; stretch-runner isn't out of the realm of possibility for a small slice given a quick pace.

Counting Visions

Chestnut has been sent postward as the public choice in 5 of 8 career starts but could offer value today; removes blinkers after flashing speed in a decent turf debut; may need to occupy the inside-drawn Richie's Girls to keep her from getting an easy trip on the lead; needs a bit of improvement.

Wild Cure

18-time loser tries turf for the 1st time with the main argument for her handling it the fact her unraced dam is a half sibling to turf stakes-winner Val D'Enchere (earned $226,119 on the green); runner has stalled at the n2x level on the main track while showing a string of double-digit losses; prefer others.

Bid's Femme

Here's another who has spent plenty of time in the n2x condition; was a recent runnerup to the streaking Star Creek and retains Johnny V.'s services; a 7-1-3-1 mark over the local green suggests this is her favorite course; can threaten from mid-pack given the right rating trip.

Some Irish Legend

Sky Mist's mate ran down Vangelia for a long-awaited score on the Big A turf but has since reverted to her also-ran ways; a 36-2-6-12 record is rare indeed and makes it difficult to support her on the win end; O'Brien is off to a slow start at the meet and we're siding with sharper foes.


Compliance filly already registered an n2x triumph while racing out of conditions at the Spa; 80+ Beyer ability bodes well for her chances and she has yet to miss the exacta on this course; perhaps filly didn't care for the swamp-like footing in her recent debacle; capable of a major rebound.


Smooth Blues' stablemate earned a win here in June and is capable of a solid try on occasion; gets a better post today after a wide middle move in her return from Saratoga; can fire an 80+ figure on her best day and that's what may be needed to win this; must bring her best.

Run Alexis Run

It's been a long time since 5-year-old has visited the winner's circle although her last pair represent improvement; outside draw shouldn't be a hindrance for low % connections but a slow pace could be; stablemate Blue Iris is the 1st also eligible so Lostritto has the option of running her instead.

Blue Iris

Daughter of the '91 BC Classic victor has yet to fare poorly on the green; local graduate finished well behind her stablemate in a race won by Wednesday open allowance winner Spectaculaireontap; improving Beyers are on view and she deserves exotics consideration if in.


Filly has done well in a pair of starts on the Belmont dirt and would appreciate returning to the main track after showing disdain for the grass; a perfect 2-for-2 wet track mark gives her a license to contend if we're rained off the turf; consider if in.


Stamina concerns are evident with 2-for-28 runner with 3 ugly tries on view since being claimed by a low % barn; loose speed can be dangerous on a wet surface but this local winner needs to advance a great deal off her recent outings; speed and retreat is likely.

-Paul Malecki

6th Belmont

Cashier's Dream

Only blemish on her record is the neck loss to You and she didn't lose much steam in the next start when under a snug hold, becoming a Grade 1 stakes winner in very easy fashion; rematch with You and it's 1-1 between these two gifted fillies; new distance the only concern and Cherokee Girl may be going after her from the bell; 10-for-22 sire never won beyond 7 furlongs and both dam and sire come from modest racing backgrounds at Detroit and River Downs; clearly a test for 3 weeks from today when it counts even more, but hard to pick against being the main speed in a short field.

Cherokee Girl

Maiden and allowance scores were impressive over the track, but obviously this is a stern test facing more seasoned, classier rivals; the wins came wire-to-wire and have to assume that her tactics will be forced to change with Cashier's Dream's Grade 1 type early speed; continues to improve, but anybody but You or Cashier's Dream taking this would be considered a huge upset; see her as a pace presser.


Amazing race with Cashier's Dream at Saratoga, scoring the narrowest of decisions 7 weeks ago as the top 2 juveniles in the land hooked it up from the quarter pole home; sire was a brilliant miler and was a Grade 2 winner at 9 furlongs, so no concern about the distance; she ran that huge 107 Beyer off a similar freshening, so no worries about the slight rest; should be helped by the presence of Cherokee Girl pressing her nemesis Cashier's Dream, but could use even more pace and probably will get more realistic splits in 3 weeks; obviously the one to beat, but 'Dream won't be surprised by her this time, she knows all about her.

Treasure Coast Gem

Handled much lesser in Maryland and Delaware with a very ambitious placement, but taking a shot at a Grade 1 in a short field; some tactical speed, but been able to lope along through soft fractions in last 2 wins and no such occurance happening today; Chavez takes over, which is where the positives end; longest shot on the board.


One mile winner, but was all out in the allowance score only 15 days ago; would prefer the off going and shown ability to rally from off the pace, which could be a key at this distance; needs a better pace scenario or even a rabbit to soften up Cashier's Dream, but who is that fast?; bred for lawn although the off-the-turf win was pretty good, just not Grade 1 material yet.

-Art Gropper

7th Belmont


Yoga, the one he defeated in the maiden breaker, did come back to score but earned only a 76 Beyer in the process; this colt was visually impressive in that victory, however, and the workout of 10/2 was truly superlative; high-percentage connections involved but still believe he is at least one race shy of being in the same league as these runners, some of whom seem destined for the high echelons.

Jump Start

Did not get into gear in the Hopeful after knocking out Heavyweight Champ the time before in the Saratoga Special; introduction of blinkers and third start back theorem come into play; note even intervals in September workout tab with a highlight on the one of 9/23; super Tomlinson for a wet track should be remembered; extra distance no problem but race flow not easy to predict against lightly-raced talents such as these.

Heavyweight Champ

Won under a hand ride last month when drawing off but impressed more the time before when withstanding pace pressure only to lose the race in the final yards; might be able to open up daylight early as the favorite to his immediate right is the classic stalking type; if a muddy track is the order of the day, don't be fooled by this one's effort in the Sanford as he lost any realistic chance at the start; the value play of this exceptional lot?


A perfect gentleman thus far and the likely odds-on favorite once again; devastating win in the Best Pal over the well-regarded Essence Of Dubai; margin of last victory not a true indicator as he could have won by much more; draws cozy slot in compact field and he has the benefit of a target runner to his left; new to the distance (as are all of these freshman) but he will probably remain at the head of the class after the dust has settled.

Thunder Days

A remote third in the Hopeful but could earn a share here at healthy odds and is certainly bred for longer assignments; only a moderate set of morning trails before this test and although trainer has enjoyed a solid year, this still appears to be an ambitious placement.

-Jim Kachulis

8th Belmont

Beautiful Pleasure

Will she ever recapture past glory? She was allowed to coast along in the Personal Ensign setting slow fractions yet, as usual, could not handle the final turn, allowing Pompeii clear passage up the rail; a.m. drills at Keeneland show more life, however, and she returns to one of her favorite tracks; a game second to Riboletta in this same race last year was one of her best efforts in defeat; still have to take on a wait-and-see attitude as odds will be false once again.

Irving's Baby

A respectable showing against this caliber at Saratoga but she has never raced over this soil before, a distinct disadvantage; an obvious talent, but straightaway racing may not be her strong suit; although today she will be tucked in neatly behind a front-runner who invariably drifts out which may afford her an ideal journey; still appears a cut below.


Certainly one of the more enigmatic fillies in the game; the last defeat while favored involved an extra-wide trip; makes only her third start since April and, in her only start over this soil, defeated an exceptional allowance field; super record at nine furlongs is another plus and she can easily awaken with right journey from just off the pace; possibility of a wet track is a cause for concern though.


It may be folly to pick against trainer Frankel who is on the roll of a lifetime; this sophomore filly won the Alabama under an excellent ride but was unchallenged when doing so, something that will not be the case here; limited one-turn experience a severe minus in our book but expert connections may negate that fact; can't stay lapped on Beautiful Pleasure for too long in light of that one's drifting tendencies.


Was it merely the blinker addition which allowed her to win the Gazelle in lengthy fashion, earning a solid 110 Beyer in the process? has steadily progressed after a modest juvenile campaign; received excellent race flow last time and today's picture seems entirely different; despite the sharp upgrade, still believe she will have a difficult time achieving a repeat tally.

Critical Eye

Does not enjoy Saratoga, pure and simple, and return to this venue should do wonders; has tremendous closing kick when right; note perfect record over wet tracks and she is re-united with Luzzi who knows her habits all too well; can overcome a slow pace better than most of her key rivals today and will probably be a square price based on last trouncing which is not a true barometer of her ability; consider.

Serra Lake

A lifetime .500 hitter although she was a bit fortunate to win the Pimlico Distaff when Jostle was ridden poorly; 2 of her lifetime failures have been at 10 furlongs so today's cutback in distance should enhance the chances; work tab seems a bit disappointing though and she is unlikely to gain first run on the pacesetters which puts her at a strategic disadvantage; needs accelerated middle fractions in order to have a real say in the outcome.


Does not have the Beyers of the main contenders, but is a resilient runner and may be peaking at the right time; has carried today's weight package to victory before and obviously enjoys this particularly track; finished far behind Beautiful Pleasure in last year's Beldame but that is water under the bridge as she has certainly improved since then; Velazquez must somehow find a way to angle inside as there could be a real logjam at the top of the stretch today.

-Jim Kachulis

9th Belmont


Put it together for a nice 12-1 win at DMR last time; that being said, he's likely only the 4th or 5th best miler in Drysdale's barn behind White Heart, Irish Prize and Touch of the Blues; can't one of Neil's bench players be good enough to handle a couple of foes who may well be headed for the BC Mile? that seems kinda dicey, but at least he comes here off a good race, one that may signify he's turned the corner; food for thought.

Kimberlite Pipe

Got a new lease on life in Canada, and has found a home on turf; still, he got exposed a bit in the Atto Mile, though he wasn't exactly embarrassed; this field may not be quite as good as the Atto from top to bottom, but the top couple runners here are pretty salty; must also move away from a WO course he loves; still, not impossible if he takes his Atto Mile run and just moves it up a length or 2.

Forbidden Apple

OK, so the Bowling Green at 11fs was too much for him; been given plenty of time since and he's to the BEL turf almost what Albert the Great is to the BEL main track ' he thinks it's his; back to a much better distance, proven fresh and Nakatani handled him beautifully when they won together in the spring; formidable.

Blu Air Force

It's Frankel, so he's an automatic contender; that being said, he's still got issues; his nose win in SoCal was sprinting, and his best work previously in Europe was sprinting; 4th in the Poker here at this trip, but note he was well behind Union One that day; that leaves him a lot of ground to make up, and what if 'One runs better, too? and how's he to handle 'Apple as well? sure, Bobby's going great guns, but he's got others entered this weekend that appear to have a much better shot than this guy.


Hmmm ' that Fourstardave run was pretty darn nice; admittedly Dr. Kashnikow isn't Hap, or Forbidden Apple or maybe even Union One but this guy rallied nicely at 27-1; could be he's getting good at the right time; always hinted at decent ability, and if 'Apple doesn't come back running or Union One just isn't as good as some thought then maybe, just maybe this guy can be at least a little scary turning for home; food for thought.

City Zip

Sire gets about 9% turf winners, according to DRF sire stats; it's not enough that he's got to deal with a new surface, but now he's dealing with some pretty tough customers, playing their game, at a distance that may be a smidge beyond his best; at least has the speed to dictate things early, but unless you can envision a big forward moving coming with the surface switch don't you get the feeling things could start getting pretty dicey right around furlong No. 7?

Union One

That monstrous return win made jaws drop, but he hasn't quite followed it up; oh, he's still good, mind you, but finishing 3rd in the Poker and Cliff Hanger show he's not yet a monster; after being inactive a couple months his Cliff Hanger run wasn't bad, and maybe that sets him up for a big run here ' remember he's 2 for 3 here and in the Poker he lost by less than a length; Dickinson has been mighty careful picking his spots for this guy; dangerous.


For much of last year the comment lines on his races read like something from a Stephen King novel ' this guy had horrific luck in many races; but then he plain old soured and Greely has given him plenty of time to regroup; no doubt the ability is there ' he sure like this course in last year's Manhattan; mile should be right up his alley; the big issue ' is he ready, off such a long layoff, for an effort big enough to handle the likes of 'Apple and Union One? at least more positives than negatives.


Nice, hard-trying runner, but he's biting off an awful lot here; last 2 graded stakes forays saw him finish 6th on both occasions; unable to threaten in an ungraded stakes at MTH last time; seems pretty shaky at this level.

-Michael Hammersly

10th Belmont

A P Valentine

Trainer Nick, his biggest fan, pretty much said it all ' 'If he doesn't run a big one, that's it, he's done'; horse who showed such immense potential may be viewed as something of a disappointment, but maybe we need to look again; after all, he did place in 2 legs of the Triple Crown ' not bad for a disappointment; but what was disappointing was his form afterward; it seemed the Triple Crown got him back on track, but he was never a factor vs. Point Given in the Travers; now he must deal with elders, including his rugged, tough stablemate Albert the Great; at least only Albert and Aptitude can said to be better horses, so if one or both stub a toe ' not impossible ' it's conceivable this guy can rise from the fires yet again ' though that's a mighty big 'if'.


Didn't really deserve to win the Hollywood Gold Cup ' he wasn't the one interfered with ' but beyond getting him a G1 win the way he came home that day may have been the turning point; off that he stormed home to win big again at SAR and looks very much like the horse Frankel was talking about last year after he ran 2nd to Fusaichi Pegasus in the Ky. Derby; it's been a long time coming, but could be he's arrived and the way he powered home last time makes him very much a threat to Albert ' but can he give Albert a 6-length or so headstart and still get to him, at the place Albert calls his?

Generous Rosi

Looked good winning in Ky., but let's face it ' those guys weren't Albert or Aptitude, or even 'Valentine and Scorpion; still, it at least tells you this guy's headed the right way; distance should be no sweat and being an improving sort he's worth a look, particularly since Albert's going to be 3-5 or lower, Aptitude still has some proving to do and the others don't exactly knock your socks off.


The only time he's tried dirt he won ' though that was in the ungraded Caesar Rodney at DEL ' that's a far cry from beating Albert and co. in the G1 JC Gold Cup; still, it proves what needed to be proved ' that he can handle dirt; now the issue is ability on dirt ' heck, he tried nothing but G1 races in Europe and was often in the thick of it; still, that was on turf, his forte; can't underestimate Frankel with anything these days, but odds are if Bobby wins this race, it's with Aptitude.


Never got involved in either the Travers or the Jerome; the Travers one could chalk up to poor tactics, but the Jerome? remember he had his favorite guy Bailey aboard but he never was in the hunt; of course, Express Tour kind of went through the roof that day; still tough to know what's really in this package and while it's true you take D. Wayne lightly at your own risk there just seem to be more questions than answers attached to this guy; tough call, again.

Albert the Great

OK, so he's not unbeatable here; still, what he is here is rock solid, and that if you are going to beat him you gotta run big, like Fusaichi Pegasus and El Corredor did when they beat him here last year, or like Lido Palace did and Tiznow almost did last time in the Woodward; tactical speed is just a wonderful asset, and here he's likely to be right on the pace telling them you gotta come get me again; it may end up the same ol' song and dance ' not in my house; imposing.

Country Be Gold

Hey, he got 4th in the Woodward when Red Bullet stopped to a crawl, so they got some decent money; and 2 of the 3 who beat him last time aren't in here; sure it's a big reach saying he can win, but Aptitude, for all his publicity and hype, still has some things the prove, the 2 3yos (Scorpion, 'Valentine) are hardly the hallmarks of consistency and the 'Rosi and Sumitas have yet to handle this caliber, too; so, he's at home, didn't run on badly; could snag a piece, though if you think a closer is going to get to Albert or at least scare him certainly you'd side with Aptitude first.

-Michael Hammersly

11th Belmont


Not sure how much tactical speed this guy owns but we are quite confident that students of pace will probably have an edge in the nightcap; note that Jerry Bailey gets off of this one to ride a foe and that this dude must do business from the fence; only visible win came vs. NY-bred runners but the speed figures are okay in this corner; exotics player.

Tothe Chase

2nd half of the entry is a perfect 2-for-2 over this track while he's got good early speed and a wide berth; hoss has disappointed thrice as the betting choice at this level and the 4yo just may need a race after 6 months on the shelf; works have been solid and he hails from a strong barn; pace picture makes this guy a serious consideration for the exacta.

Kid Rigo

Callejas trainee will meet older runners for the first time 2 months after breaking poorly and finishing last in the Jim Dandy; it's safe to say that he probably benefitted from that last experience and that he's been training well of late; still think we're going to watch one vs. his elders.

Stone Age

That last one was pretty encouraging for a dirt debut and in that one this $710K yearling purchase burned on a hot pace before backing up; Bailey sticks with this Mott trainee and the runner has been working quite well during the 5 weeks since last start; this is where we're landing with Otop pickO recognition.


He's one of many closers in this spot and that's why the race seems likely to go to the setters or stalkers; this one is solid figure-wise but the last running line implies what Stone Age was facing in the way of a race shape; runner hasn't won in a year but when he did score it happened locally; emphasize in minor slots of exotics.

Tortellini Ted

Moves out of state-bred cover while shooting for 3rd straight score but he's another closer which may face a tough time of it pace-wise; he's going to have to continue to improve to top the likes of these and we're going to side with others for the exacta.


Beat up on claimers 2-back and he did so in solid time before a more recent runner-up finish at this level; this marks 2nd start for new barn and the runner has important tactical speed in his corner; threat to win it all given right trip.

Private Cat

Speedy sort shows a couple of wet-track sprint wins here this year but he has yet to score over a fast strip; move from claiming ranks in to face n1x company won't be easy and he'd need to improve to a new career best to win the thing; not likely.

Caribbean Code

Shocked maidens up at Saratoga to the tune of a $52 mutuel and now moves in to face winners for the first time in local return; note that he was 80-1 in only local start but that the son of Lost Code improved significantly last time; further improvement rates a big shot.

Baseball Champion

Circled'em and got up narrowly to beat maidens in 3rd try and the runner has a right to move forward in 2nd start after 6 months off; think the pace may be more taxing than it was in the maiden ranks and what if he finds himself 5 or 6 lengths back after a quarter-mile? - will he still have what it takes?; can see this guy on a spread ticket but we're leaning elsewhere.

-George Cottrell

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