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Updated on 09/15/2011 1:02PM
A CLOSER LOOK at Belmont races on 9/19
Benedict A. Kite
Top of the Dutrow entry did not perform after the claim and layoff and is dropped quickly for today's contest as he returns from another layoff; will likely have to run better and while he might like the distance, who knows for sure how the inside will be after the time away; a questionable proposition in here ... even down this low.
AE and second runner from the Dutrow coupling draws the outside and did run decently in his return; is one of many who are dropping and who could be possible with the improved race and the drop.
Seldom gets to race close together but he has several works and in at a new low he could be ready enough for these; this looks to be an open race and it will probably take a better race than he has run of late.
Is back in at the same level he was facing when he took some time off prior to Saratoga; he was showing some speed then and maybe he can continue on from there; he gets to run farther than ever before; others are a little more interesting than he.
Was well bet in his two Saratoga outings but failed to muster the needed run though the races there were not bad; could be that this distance and one turn will produce better; contender.
He did like the Saratoga slop where he was rallying winner and while he could not duplicate that effort in his next; he does drop and he might get a decent trip today; interesting possibility at this level.
Gets to run for a tag and he will have to do a lot better than he did last time at Del before the layoff; he has a decent career record and if he can still run one of his better races he might find these claimers fit him better; worth a look depending on how high the odds go.
Has had a couple of opportunities with similar since GP but was unable to get untracked at the Spa; going farther might suit him better if closers can; couple of works and stretching out he could pose a threat with these.
Drops off the claim and layoff and could well be competitive if still able to run back to his better races; he has a couple of breezes but these kind of drops send up red flags; capable if he shows up, but that is a tough call even with the drop.
Made his first start in some time off the layoff on the turf and returns to the dirt and drops; he will need to experience a reawakening if he is to have a say in the outcome; he has worked and might be one to look at very carefully in here.
Had a good race at a related distance before going to Saratoga to take on winners for the first time where he was in contention in the slop before he backed away; can see him running well in here and he is to be viewed as a money prospect for today.
Did not do much at Saratoga and will need a reversal of from if he is to be competitive in this match up; he does drop as he goes turf to dirt and while not impossible do see others as more likely.
The bounce off the tough beat does not really surprise and a rebound should be possible today as he is back in for a tag; he has speed and could be very dangerous in here after the work and with a rebound effort; won't know how outside speed is faring but this will provide a good indicator; have to include in plays today.
AE comes over from Monmouth where he was a decent second with slightly pricier; don't now that he is ready off the single work following the short layoff; edge goes to some in the body of the race.
Debuted against simila, and she had the misfortune of making her first career start in the slop; she showed some speed before tiring, and figures to run an improved race this afternoon now that she has some racing experience; last work suggests as much, and her cause is furthered by the addition of blinkers.
Another who adds blinkers for the first time; she has put together two strong races in her last two starts, and although she failed as a short-priced favorite in her most recent start, note the winner of that race was not going to be denied; sharp work since her last out, and she is one who can graduate.
Outran her long odds in her debut last out when she managed to split a field of state-breds at Sar; her come-from-behind running style, as well as her pedigree, suggests she might appreciate the bit of added distance she gets to work with this afternoon; note her rider is off to a fast start at the meet.
Daughter of a Grade 2-winning racemare was well thought of in her debut; she did not make a real impact in that race, however, but might have had an excuse for not doing more as she was checked and also could have bled as she returns this afternoon with first Lasix; can rebound with a big race.
Consistent form for a juvenile; she has not missed a check in three career starts, and with those three races under her belt she has a seasoning edge over most of these; that seasoning edge is meaningful as most of these have not yet raced six furlongs; looks like a leading contender.
From the first crop of a winner of 7 races and $307k; dam was a
stakes-placed winner of $99k, and from four foals to race she has produced three winners, her best being After You, a winner of 6 races and $217k.
By a stakes winner of 7 races and $315k; she is the first foal from her unraced dam, who is a half-sister to two winners; shows some nice works for career bow, and note she debuts with Lasix.
A Million Up
Ran a credible fifth in her debut, finishing behind two she must face against this afternoon, Fiorano and Nina Marie; shows a nice three furlong work since that race, and looking for her to run an improved race now that she has more experience on the playing field; looks like one who can share.
My Girl Natalie
Did not get away with the crowd last out as she was pinched at the start in her debut; notice that in that race she finished behind at least three she must face again this afternoon, Fiorano, Nina Marie and A Million Up; seems in line for a minor award at best as others seem more probable for the win.
Finished a promising second in her debut last out when she ran close to the pace throughout; she has been given some time to egroup from that race and for her second career start will add blinkers; runner who was well thought of in her debut figures appears to be a win candidate.
Showed good speed in her last start then tired some in the later stages, and notice for her third career start this afternoon connections change things up some and add blinkers; she could move forward as a result of the new equipment, and in her second start on Lasix; well bred miss can graduate.
By My Way
Sent to post as the favorite in her debut, she stumbled at the start, was bumped around, and checked in fifth; she defeated a handful of rivals in that race, and with a nice five furlong move since, figures to run an improved race in her second career start; worth a lont look under return rider Chavez.
Must Be Nice
AE is by a Grade 2 winner of $441k who rates well above average as a debut sire; dam was a winner at 2, and from four foals to race she has
produced four winners, her best being David, a stakes winner of $403k; shows some nice works for career bow, and she could deliver at first asking.
AE put together a pair of respectable fifth place finishes in her first two career starts, then did not make an impact at all last out when she donned blinkers for the first time; connections waste no time removing the hood this afternoon, and last work suggests she is on her toes; could secure a piece.
AE finished a promising second in her debut then did not make much of an impact in her second career sart when she raced wide; she would contend against these if she had a flashback to her debut, and her most recent works suggests she just might; worth a long look under high percentage rider.
Bennett of Bologna
AE did not make an impact in her debut, but notice she was compromised right at the start of that race when she was checked; like the four furlongs she has worked since, and looking for her to run an improved race this afternoon if she has a better trip; one who could share.
Showed good speed to Sp Wt foes and now drops in for a tag for the first time; post should prove no easy task for a 2yo but the filly took good action here in her bow; consider.
Sire is ordinary with firsters while winning dam lists 1 winner from 2 prior starters; she's been working well and the outside draw keeps her away from much of the traffic; definite threat.
Ships from Mth where she took limited action before showing only a hint of speed in her debut; not too sure about the move to this circuit and we're tempted to watch another.
Gold N Fancy
Took zero action in Spa debut before racing poorly vs. slightly weaker and she adds a bit of distance after a string of ordinary interim works; hard to like.
$37K yearling purchase is by a sire with limited, average data with his firsters; stakes-winning dam lists 2 winners from 2 prior foals and runner is likely to do best over a distance of ground; average works; pass this time.
Took no action and then finished well back in NJ debut and now the filly moves in for a claiming tag for the first time; interim works have been solid but she shortens up for 2nd try; probably wants more ground.
Showed good speed and held together well in 2 starts at the Spa and we like the fact that this one took some action each time; guessing she's fit and ready for best and Arroyo sticks with; one of the favorites and an obvious major player.
Zat Darn Cat
Sire has been notably poor with his 2yo firsters and this is the first foal from a winning dam; works have been a mixed bag and we're thinking she'll want more distance; prefer others.
Showed good speed to better in 2 starts at Saratoga and probably needed the debut on this course; "first time for a claiming price" is always a great angle to follow and Jerry Bailey takes the call now; horse has worked well of late and should be at concert pitch for Bill Mott; contender.
Showed a bit of early foot before backing up when facing Sp Wt company upstate and now she's moving in for a claiming tag; there is other speed here but the outside post is hers and it may be time for a rate job; post allows her to miss much of the traffic inside; must improve to threaten.
Mike Smith takes the call aboard this firster for a hot barn; AE has been working well in preparation for her debut but she'll need to use some of her speed to clear the outside; like others more.
Received a bit of play for Sp Wt debut here 2 months ago but had to start from a tough post; recent works don't enhance this package too much and others seem more likely.
Served up a decent shot in her bow and would probably find this group somewhat to her liking pace-wise if she drew in; would like to see a recent work over this course but this is another stalker type which could do well here given an outside post.
Didn't do much up north and now she moves in for a tag in 2nd start at the fall stand; there was some trouble on the turn last time but still have the feeling this one needs to improve to threaten this kind.
West Coast Girl
Raced wide in only start at the Spa but she didn't take much action that day and would face a competitive field if she went here; recent works have been ordinary and others seem like better prospects.
Was totally overlooked in the tote in first try and now she's buried on the AE list for Belmont bow; she was troubled a bit at the start of that last one but this gal has a lot to do in order to reach contention today; wide post doesn't bode well if she does draw in.
Was a narrow winner in a maiden event up north but now this gal must do business from the fence in first try vs. winners; Lasix was reportedly added for last and she responded in a positive fashion; think this one will be tested today.
Hasn't really done much since the maiden win over stakes competition but at the very least this one should be fit after 2 starts at the Spa; we'd like to see more early foot from this one but others look more promising in any case.
Has faced stakes company almost exclusively since the CD maiden win and this miss gave good account of herself when dropping into the allowance ranks last out; Velazquez sticks with and this one has good tactical speed; definite contender.
Surprised almost everyone with the maiden score 3 months back but now this NY-bred is moving in to face open company while spotting a conditioning edge to others; like the style employed when she won and you know she can fire fresh; still leaning toward others.
Broke her maiden easily in 'Jersey but this gal finished behind
'Wrestling in the Colleen at the same track; like this gal's post and style and she could indeed catch the others napping; include for multi-race exotics.
Lures Jerry Bailey for first start in 2 months and this well-bred filly was said to have won with something left; natural improvement is likely after 2 months of added maturity and horse has been working very well indeed; holds strong hand.
Made his turf debut last time after 12 starts on the main track but showed no speed, and didn't close much ground late; this will be his first start off a three-month break and he seems to be up against it under the circumstances.
World of Wonder
Kin have won just once in 15 turf starts; he was off slowly but closed well in his debut on the dirt, and makes his grass debut here; pedigree doesn't lean much to turf but he is working well and he did make up a lot of ground in that first start; certainly not impossible.
Kin to turf winner Ham Sandwich; was off the board last time on the weeds but was only beaten 2 lengths in a deceptively good effort; he makes his 3rd start off the break here and should get quick fractions, which should help; expecting him to make a big late run and he can run them all down under Castellano, who's off to a very quick start at the meet.
He's a half to millionaire Lottsa Talc, who won 21 races but none on the grass; held pretty well last time after pressing the early pace, an improvement over his only only start on the grass; he'll be involved from the start but he'll have to avoid a duel on the lead.
Not much in the way of turf breeding, and his starts on the dirt are lacking, to say the least; could conceivably move up on the lawn but not enough to warrant consideration here; not a viable candidate.
He's run well on the grass, especially in his latest when he prompted the pace and held on well late, beaten a neck for 2nd; should move forward off that race, which was his first in a month, and he looms very tough in here given the fact that he's proven over the lawn.
Has failed to hit the board in 3 starts on the turf, including in his last pair with Lasix and blinkers added; has some chance to improve here in his 3rd start off the break but he'd really need to step it up in order to have a say in the outcome.
Emilys Lucky Devil
Failed in his only start on the grass to date, then was shelved for a while; his dirt races are okay, and he'd seem to have a better shot if this were rained off, but that's not expected; would have to show more in order to be considered a threat on the weeds.
Dull last time, finishing 7th at 65-1;other races are sub-par, too; looks like he's on the outside looking in, literally.
First half of the Colum O'Brien entry closed well to get the place last time, the 3rd time in 7 career starts on the grass in which he got the place; stone closer is at the mercy of the pace and while there does seem to be enough speed in here to set up a late runner he will have to work out a traffic-free trip; dangerous late but he will need some racing luck.
Cold Blow Lane
Run down late last time as the even-money favorite despite the fact that he was loose on the lead early on; he had a perfect trip 2 back as the 3/5 choice but was unable to last, and dropped a close decision; he'll be among the favorites today, too, but given his recent history it seems to make sense to try and beat him at another fairly short price.
Sire gets about 6% turf winners, according to recent DRF Simulcast Weekly stats; dirt races are sub-par, and he's from low-profile connections; expect some speed but he'll have a tough time lasting.
Third AE faded after showing speed in his latest, at Penn; though these are statebreds they are still better than what he's been facing at Penn National, and if he does get in he'll have to endure a wide trip, outside other speeds; not likely to last.
I'm Hit Sarge
Dam won 6 of 29 starts and $69,608 on the grass, but this one's full sister, Chick's Big Apple, was off the board in 3 starts on the turf; works are so-so; board may tell more but preliminary indications are that he's unlikely.
Please All Thunder
Part of an entry with Bogart; not much to speak of as far as siblings on the grass, although Thunder Puddles is an underrated New York grass sire; works don't inspire much, either; buried on the AE list and is unlikely to start, but if he does run as an entry with Bogart there's no value to be had with him anyway, as that one is likely to be among the choices here.
Improved with blinkers added; makes his turf debut for Leo O'Brien, of course noted for his work with grass runners, and this one has some green breeding; unlikely to get in but if he does he has to be respected on the basis of his connections alone.
Made his racing debut vs. $50K mdn claimers and responded like a
seasoned racehorse, rating kindly and closing strongly to win going away; tackles much tougher today and is switching to Robbie Davis, a master at rating early and running late; will need to improve to win this but, if they go too fast too early, he could pass some tired horses in the stretch.
Stalked the early pace and closed well to defeat a good MSW field in his debut at Sar; returned to Lrl and posted three solid works since that race; his speed figure is a bit lower than the best in this field, but his win was very impressive and young horses often improve sharply from their first to their second start; Guidry returns from Chicago to ride.
Was bet down to 9-5 and closed from 7th to win his debut going away at Sar; all of the others here posted better speed figures than he did in that race, and his two works since that race were both slow; breeding suggests that he will like the added distance of this race, but Bailey jumps ship to ride Heavyweight Champ; appears to face a tough task today.
Led through fast fractions and held on to win his racing debut, posting the best speed figure in this field; he returned to finish 3rd and 2nd in Grade II stakes in his next two starts; had a rough trip and finished less than a lengths behind Seeking the Money in the Sanford, then beat that one by about 20 lengths in the Saratoga Special; should be a short price and very tough to beat.
Seeking the Money
Beat New York-bred MSW foes in his debut, then finished 2nd on a muddy track in the Sanford Stakes; showed brief speed and tired badly, finishing dead last and beaten over 20 lengths in the Saratoga Special; switches back to Migliore, who rode him to his mdn win, and also returns to the site of that win; could run much better today, especially if the track is muddy.
The Call of Duty
Dueled for the early lead, while racing wide, and drew away through the stretch to beat MSW rivals in his debut at Sar; is by last year's leading sire of two-year-olds, Honour and Glory, and is trained by the man who trained that sire; Gary Stevens rides and, drawn outside Heavyweight Champ, may try to rate just off that one and outrun him through the stretch; could be any kind.
You get Mott and Bailey so what else is there? Not much if you love eating chalk but that isn't the case today with multiple Gr. 1 winner Secret Status next door; so how is she going to beat her? if Secret Status reverts to her form of last year...your not; the good news is that Secret hasn't returned to her killer ways and that lends hope to all the rest; pace or lack thereof another plus point for the 'Princess as she might find herself in front of OStatus early; holding the rail and saving some ground looks assured while this girl's form is sharp of late and that includes last where she caught a muddy track; who needs Beyers or Tomlinsons when you've got connections, pace, and price? viable alternative to the heavy favorite.
Introducing the class Queen of this race; has anyone else even seen a Gr. 1 event let alone won one? Pentatonic and Resort can brag about elite company but neither has actually finished 1st when taking on said company; whether looking at p.p's from the 30's, 50's, 80's or present (back to normal soon, I promise...I hope), pace still stands out; Secret Status has some tactical zip but we doubt if Day will send and that means someone might clear off; plus, how cranked will Howard have her? with the Ruffian cancelled, will this be her last race before the Breeders' Cup or will she use the Beldame on Oct. 6th? bottom line, we just don't know; there is no doubt that this filly is the best horse in the race but her price will be underlaid, the pace won't be favorable, and there are bigger fish to fry down the road.
We see a couple of front running scores and that alone makes her
yable; main question is how long a breather will she get? A. O. L. Hayes has some speed but we don't think she's quick enough to press as the races where she has shown speed were in small fields; distance no problem but class another matter as this race has come up very tough; no more Prado who ends up on Resort but that isn't such a big deal as Migliore takes his spot and that talented rider has ridden Pearly White before; turf to dirt might help with that last 1/2 furlong but price and pace still loom largest; we like.
Lone dirt effort was bad and things won't get any better here; pace is no help as this girl is a closer; if you think she can outkick Secret Status...your kidding, right? still, Chavez sees fit to ride and Pletcher is calling the shots; if you think last few not that bad and that her 3rd race in her current form cycle will be her best then we'll counter that with the fact that she's beaten only 1 across the line in the good ol' U.S. of A.; prefer others.
A. O. L. Hayes
If Pearly White breaks poorly or scratches out of the race, then 'Hayes might find herself on the lead; otherwise....it could be a long day as we see little stalking ability; current form not the best but at least she does like this surface; will have to break in a new pilot in Espinoza but could that actually be a help? West Coast mentality favors speed, doesn't it? the flip side is that if he asks a ton early and still doesn't clear then that could be the old ballgame; tough decision at hand and it affects the pace of this race.
Only beat 4 in last so keep that in mind; lack of speed a killer while failure to beat easier at Monmouth weights heavily on our opinion; now if you could convince us that she's on the improve, we'd consider her especially for a small piece of the pie but we don't think you can; moving on.
Comes in fresh and has faced some good ones and no one else can say the same; is she quick enough to grab the prime stalking spot? won't Secret Status want that spot? maybe she can stick to the flank of Secret Status and follow that one around the track?; that works for us and she does figure to be a decent price; consider.
The President of the No Speed Club needs only to outkick the entire field on a soft pace; simple, right? trouble is that we can't find her last win while those back to back losses at Monmouth scares us to death; on the bright side, she simply loves this surface; price and past company not bad either but pace has us thinking even an exacta finish looks iffy; good luck in what looks like a good betting race BUT more importantly God Bless America.
Been running into some tough nuts without being embarrassed; trouble is, this is another tough spot, but there is cause for optimism; he cuts back from 9fs which may have been pushing it some for him distance-wise; sure, the rail is no bargain, but he has a bit of tactical speed and has run well here; food for thought.
Like the way he's developed, and that Salvator Mile showing was pretty darn good; no factor in the Iselin, but heck, those are some real toughies; cuts back to a mile and he's run well here, though wouldn't it have been nice if Bailey, up for that good local run July 15 had reclaimed his spot in the saddle instead of sticking with Beckon the King? Mixed feelings.
Gone a long, long time, so the fact he was nowhere in his comeback isn't too distressing ? heck, he had to have needed the race, he was asked to come back going 9fs, vs. toughies, and had a miserable start; it's good to see no panicky drop after that by a sharp trainer and Castillo stays with a good local work Sunday in tow; but even if he's 100% is that good enough to win this? tough call.
Ran on nicely in a tough allowance heat at MTH, but while Erlton is a fast horse he might not measure up to these guys; horse has yet to try this track - those good recent efforts came at his home base at MTH; iffy.
Beckon the King
Good to see Bailey sees fit to stay off that big try at SAR where he beat stakes horse Stalwart Member; also good to see Dutrow Jr. saw fit to plunk down $75k to claim him; obviously handles the surface and may be coming here on the upswing; factor.
It hasn't been too pretty so far in the U.S.; did show some decent speed going 7fs at SAR in his U.S. debut, but he gave way badly; good to see no big, panicky drop, so they're not giving up hope yet, but he's biting off a lot yet again, at least considering what he's shown so far in the U.S.; outsider.
Hinted a number of times at big-time ability; things haven't quite panned out but he's still a useful horse; seems to have done better of late when moved to turf, so it's curious that Scotty moved him back to dirt last time - horse showed speed then fell apart; at least Jorge stays and this guy has done much of his best work here ? 3 of his 4 career wins have come here; but sheesh wouldn't you prefer to see better dirt form from him of late? tricky read.
At least will appreciate not seeing Open Sesame in here as that guy foiled this one the last couple times; one pretty tough customer, particularly here - he's 5 for 6 over this track; handles a mile just fine, too; major player.
The way he won the Aqueduct early this year it looked like big things were in store; and he didn't run badly at all in the Commonwealth or Churchill Downs Handicap; but then maybe slop knocked him for a loop at DEL - he went to the bench, came back dull, then went to the bench again; but he's worked steadily of late, moves to a track where he has 3 wins, what may actually be his best distance and a better level; no doubt the talent is there; it seems mainly a case of whether he's ready - he looks ready; very playable.
Considering he was gone a year and a half, then ran poorly in his return before taking another short respite he ran fairly well of late; still, even if at the height of his powers, which came in the fall of 1999, would he still be good enough to beat these? that seems kinda dicey but at least he's won one of his 2 local starts and has a bit of speed; not hopeless.
Once considered Derby material; things didn't quite pan out but he's still got some oomph with which to be reckoned; looked good beating N3X foes at SAR off a layoff - of course slop surely didn't hurt that day; must upgraded if the track is wet, but what if it's dry and fast? well, things get a little dicier there, but there is ability here and a mile surely suits; outside draw should work out nicely for his stalking style; intriguing.
Some Irish Legend
Didn't have the best of it two starts back as she raced three wide around the first turn, and failed to be much of a threat after that, but she returned to be a solid third vs. a good group of state-bred N2xer's; adds solid support for entrymate.
She showed plenty of promise early in her career while running well despite some less than ideal trips, but it looked like she just wasn't going to be able to pull it all together before most recent win at better than 14-1; Arroyo takes the call back, and if she brings her best again, she'll have a say.
Thought her race two back was better than it looked on paper, but she came back with a rather dull effort, so it's tough to have confidence in her here; don't like to see bailey on another, so passing on her this time around.
She's winless in 18 starts on turf, but she did manage to outfinish entrymate on 9/1; nevertheless, she's going to have to somehow find a way to do better to be a factor.
Finished far behind a number of today's rivals when last seen, and Espinoza has opted to look in another direction here; inside post doesn't hurt her chances any, but she needs a major step forward to find herself in the hunt.
Lady d' Jour
She loses the services of Chavez to Star Creek in here, but nothing wrong with getting a switch premier turf rider in Bailey; she benefited from racing close-up to a slow pace in that 9/1 event, but will likely benefit from another favorable trip inside post and Bailey.
Had it all her own way on the front end in her last, but she was unable to withstand Spectaculaireontap through the lane; suspect the early pace will be a bit more demanding with the presence of Edey's Village to the outside, so her task may not be so easy today.
Indy Mood For Luv
Came through vs. weak bunch at odds-on in her most recent start, and will find this group to be a bit more challenging; Prado takes over for Day, and will be asked to negotiate an extra 1/16.
New York-bred comes home after experiencing good success at Colonial in her last two outings; she ships in for clever trainer, and lures Chavez, so there is plenty of reason to suspect that she is a live piece.
She's been beaten by nearly 40-lengths combined in her last three starts, and has been sent off at better than 70-1 in each of those races; gets a rider switch to Smith for this, but will play the role of outsider once again.
Was sent off as a very lukewarm favorite vs. many of today's rivals when last entered, but she failed to make much impact over a yielding course; Velazquez returns to ride, so can't argue with anyone giving her another chance over firmer footing.
Sire gets average results with his progeny on turf, and dam was best sprinting, and never made a start over the lawn; This filly sold for 110k as a yearling at KEESEP '99; draws tough outside post for initial turf try, but has the speed to clear early, so suspect that she'll take them as far as she can.
Needs to see a scratch from the main body of the race to get in, but she got the job done at a square mutuel two back, and can be forgiven for lackluster showing over a yielding course last out; can be a factor if in.
Sire gets below average results with his turf performers, and unraced dam is a 1/2 to G3 placed on turf Val D'Enchere, who won 8 of 30 turf starts for 226k; tough to make a case for this one of recent activity, but she does have at least mild pedigree appeal.
Will only compete in the event that this race is forced to the main track as a result of rain, and she's a tough one to get excited about off less than appealing overall mark.
Gave her backers a run for their money two starts back at a nice mutuel when a good third, but she wasn't able to get anything going when last seen at Monmouth; she's another looking for rain, but will still have her work cut out for her if she gets her wish.
- Brian Pochman
- Editor's note - The Closer Look feature, which is normally available to drf.com subscribers only, is being offered free of charge until Daily Racing Form can produce its full statistical and editorial product.