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Updated on 09/15/2011 1:04PM
A CLOSER LOOK at Belmont races on 9/22
Ran fresh in his first start back from a three month layoff last out and has been sidelined since; once consistent sort has struggled as of late, and although he shows some promising works for his comeback, others seem more probable for the win this afternoon; coupled with Answer Man.
Second half of the entry appears to be the stronger half; he drops a notch in class after a decent fourth place finish at this distance in his last start, and overall he has been a consistent sort this season, running first, second or third in seven of his ten starts this year; win candidate.
Seems to have struggled in his last two starts, and connections change things up in a big way this afternoon in an attempt to help him return to form; he drops in class to his lowest level on recent form, and turns back in distance to six furlongs; appears to be sitting on an improved race.
Made his first start back from a two month breather last out and he ran a strong second, arguably his best race of the season; regression is always a concern when one runs a big race off the bench, but he has had a nice amount of time to regroup from his last start, and he is one who could share.
Delivered as the favorite in his last start when he proved best against lesser; that was six months ago, and he has been sidelined since; shows a series of five furlong workouts for his comeback, and while he must overcome both the layoff and a step up in class this afternoon, consistent sort could share.
Like so many offspring of Copelan, this one is a fast, honest, horse; he makes his first start for a new barn this afternoon, and after a month away from the races returns at about the same level from which he was claimed; shows an average work since his last race, and he would be no surprise.
Finds his way back to New York after running in some minor stakes in the south; he has struggled on the local scene, and while there are no real signs on paper that he is poised to turn the corner this afternoon, the drop in class helps his cause; seems more probable for a minor award than the win.
Second Chilean-bred in the field; he put together two nice wins at this distance over the summer, and last out he ran a decent fourth in a fast six furlong race at Mth; gets a significant break in the weights with a seven-pound apprentice rider on board; yet another who could share.
Send to the sidelines after a double digit defeat two races back, and the time away did him some good as he ran a solid race in his comeback; he has had a nice amount of time to regroup from that race, and with another workout under his belt since, figures to move forward this afternoon.
Popular claim drops a notch in class after failing to make an impact in the later stages in his last start; he has struggled in his past couple of races, but suspect the drop in class coupled with the cut back in distance to six furlongs can help him recapture his best form; a little bit of a sleeper.
Made his first start back from a brief vacation and he ran a decent fourth, and since that race has worked a big four furlongs; looking for him to be stronger through the stretch this afternoon with the cut back in distance to six furlongs, and the drop in class to this level; another who share.
Tough to get a gauge on this colt as he exits a rather oddly run race in where Baseball Champion appeared to be defeated around the turn, but managed to hold it together long enough to make up ground through slow final fractions; he's yet to draw much mutuel support, so prefer to look elsewhere.
Returns from a brief freshening and most recent workout on 9/12 appears to have this colt ready; he gets the services of top sprint rider in Migliore, so there is reason to be optimistic.
He's got a number a layoff lines showing in his past performances, but workout on 9/16 really grabs the attention; he's usually in the mix at the finish, and if he's ready to go he'll have a say.
Sweep the World
Terranova and Bailey came through at short odds with the promising Heavyweight Champ here on Wednesday, and will look to parlay that success; however, this one has every right to need a race making '01 debut, so approach with caution.
Runner-up from this one's last returned to win here on 9/8 on turf, and this colt really hasn't put in a bad effort yet; Velazquez sticks by this one, so can't count out.
B of a Son
He hasn't been seen since January of 2000 at Gulfstream Park, but his recent work activity is encouraging; he has to overcome the time off, and may not be quite up to par with some of these.
Turn Back The Time
Another long layoff type to figure out, but the fact the Prado shows up here is at least slightly encouraging; he's shown good early speed in the past, so he could be in the hunt early, but it's reasonable to question his ability to carry his speed at this point.
Debut last year was in a very tough maiden heat as holiday Thunder and Not Wild simply dominated that event; Lukas is plenty capable of the layoff, but prefer to see a positive race out of this one first.
Silver Deputy has hit at a 13% clip with debuters in a 126 runner sample the last 3 years according to DRF Simulcast Weekly; all 6 of dam's foals to race won; 3 won as juveniles, 3 won over 100 grand, the best was probably Jaunatxo, who won the American Derby and half a mill; respect.
Two Punch has hit at a 11% clip with debuters in a 143 runner sample the last 3 years according to DRF Simulcast Weekly; one of 3 of dam's foals to race won; that runner is 4 for 8 for a $66k bankroll; dam retired a maiden after 9 tries; may want more furlongs.
Chart the Course
Limited data on sire with debuters; Boston Harbor won his debut by 5, won the BC Juvenile, retired 6 for 8 with almost a $2 million wallet; dam's other foal to race was 2 for 3 and was second in other start; the colt didn't race at 2; dam was only 2 for 28 on the track; sharp barn, look out.
Took limited action in upstate debut; runner flashed brief speed but there are others in here with definite designs on the front end; Lukas has been great with second time starters over the decades.
Sire has hit with about 9% of his debuters in a 43 runner sample according to DRF stats; 6 of 7 of dam's foals to race won; one won as a juvenile; dam was one for 6 as a racer; could have zip with Shecky Greene influence on bottom; clever connections help.
Tough beat loser at 3-5 in Oceanport; winner of last returned to run a well beaten third in the $50k Comet at Meadowlands 9/8; should be in first flight but this race seems to come up pretty tough; give him good look in paddock/post parade.
Outran his odds in solid debut; it looks like rider may have had options and he ends up elsewhere; published works on light side for this and note they all kind of finished together in bow; wouldn't be oversold.
Wild Again has hit at a 10% clip with debuters in a 123 runner sample the last 3 years according to DRF Simulcast Weekly; this is non winning dam's first foal to race; would expect colt to improve with more furlongs.
El Prado has hit at a 9% clip with debuters in a 131 runner sample the last 3 years according to DRF Simulcast Weekly; both of dam's foals to race won including this guy's half six Perfect Sting, who won twice as a juvenile, won the BC Filly and Mare Turf last year, another Grade 1, numerous Grade 2s, 14 of 21 overall and over $2.2 million; dam herself was a stakes winner on West Coast; commands respect.
Change of Identity
Limited data on sire with debuters; Petionville won his debut, won 3 straight stakes after that, was 7 for 15 career, banked $811k; dam's other foal was off the board in only start last year; dam herself was stakes placed, won 4 of 13 overall and earned $159k; may want to watch one.
Proved he could run in solid debut when tons best of rest; got to figure rider will send hard again and try to discourage the other speed; bred for speed big time on the bottom side; repeat of debut would put him in the thick of it.
Educated upstate, runner basically just ran around the track twice; colt would certainly benefit by any kind of a speed duel; juvenile could need a few more races to show best stuff.
Saint Ballado has hit at a 10% clip with debuters in a 121 runner sample the last 3 years according to DRF Simulcast Weekly; this is unraced dam's first foal to race; the second best of 24 Spa work jumps off page; Baffert and Bailey.
Sweep and Go
End Sweep has hit at a 11% clip with debuters in a 153 runner sample the last 3 years according to DRF Simulcast Weekly; one of 3 of dam's foals to race won and that runner is one for 13; dam won a couple of stakes at River Downs, was 5 for 33 overall, banked $102k; drills steady, can't toss.
Mark de Triomphe
Comebacker had tough Arcadia excursion; ran up against Hasty Kris, G3-placed as a maiden in the Cal Juv'y; this 4yo has won between 6-8.5f, so the mile suits; last four works at the Big A are mostly sharp, but he's not been the kind to fire fresh; Velazquez gets pocket trip along the fence while Sandlot Star likely goes for broke; entry likable for part.
Manhandled N2x NY-breds early at the Spa; nearly delivered the repeat goods; but quick half had depleted the pacesetters in that N1x; this crew not nearly as fast to the half; is the scenario still ripe?; colt is 6 of 7 in the money here, but notably has dropped some close ones with top-shelf claimers; needs Sandlot Star to come back to him; Bailey a solid 7-2-1-0 on Wed.; but relegating entry to exotics.
Arroyo had nice double in the goo on Thurs.; 4yo didn't disgrace himself in the MacArthur; yet open N1x company has him stymied; notably colt has had only two clunkers out of nine starts this year; one was the winter comebacker - forgivable; and he fired big in the third start of his two previous cycles this year; still not quite a believer.
Sophomore actually gave a breakthrough effort surprising N2x NY-breds last time; chalk players must have expected regression out of the Albany and it just didn't happen; yet he only beat some of the same faces; potentially overlooked again, but must track down stronger splits issued by Sandlot Star; fit, consistent, but not enticed for more than trifecta consideration here.
Kept good company at 2; ran like needed the Spa comebacker, one-paced behind Mount Intrepid while testing his elders for the first time; Kelly turns the screws a full notch with sharp trio of local breezes; still the question mark is whether or not he's ready to come on late at 3, or has late-blooming Sandlot Star caught and passed him in development?; leaning against.
Exacta surprise behind regular conditioned allowance turfer General Tibbets in Louisville raised hopes that he'd finally come around as a grass player; not exactly; and now it's back to the main for a wake-up call; admittedly love Nafzger runners 50+ days once-prepped; but can he take the last run and beat the entry for place at a price?; iffy.
Spa grass scorcher was a jaw-dropper; could this guy be special?; main track works feel secure enough to make the transition back to the dirt; if he has that much heart, and he's clearly the lone speed here, Chavez may never need the crop; tempted to call this N1x a mere formality for 3yo with a future; squeeze the exotics for a drop of value.
Shook loose and scored at Delaware Park against entry-level allowance foes last time and in his maiden win 3 back; has some zip and the rail but there is other speed in here, namely Sweat Equity and possibly Salt Lake Express; certainly capable of wiring this field given another loose lead but given the fact he was all out last time after such an easy trip it might be wise to try and beat him.
Part of an entry with Charlie's Cards; with Velazquez named on both, one will scratch; this one is inside and has the speed to stay close but his ability to handle the distance is in question, and he may face early pressure from Once Rich and Salt Lake Express; his presence in the race is important in that a quicker pace is likely if he goes but his own chances to win this may hinge on whether he can rate, or whether he can shake the rail horse easily enough; dangerous.
Me and Thee
Faded last time against older allowance runners after pushing the pace; he can also rate behind the lead, and that seems to be his best bet, as his lone career win came after a stalking trip; given his tactical speed he might find himself in a good spot behind the leaders; he's faced some solid fields, so his poor win percentage is forgiveable; recent work was sharp, too; expecting a better showing this time.
Salt Lake Express
Didn' show any speed at all last time and was well off the board; went to the sidelines after that one and returns at an unfamiliar distance; figures to have some zip early if he's on his game but he'll have a tough time shaking off the speed and holding off the closers under the circumstances, although he would look a little better given some precipitation.
First part of the Richard Englander-owned entry; he hasn't been doing much of late, but it's worth noting that his lone win came over a sloppy strip at this track; extra distance is a bit of a concern, though, and his recent lines are so-so; the fact that he finished behind Sweat Equity a few times isn't encouraging, either.
Image of a Cat
Something obviously wasn't right with him last time at Monmouth, and he has been sidelined since that July race; his previous form is good, but the fact is his backers will have to overlook that latest one, and the drop into a claimer can be construed as a negative in that regard; he'd be a threat on his best but whether he's up to it is another question entirely.
Makes his 3rd start off the layoff after running a remote 3rd last time against an AN2X allowance field; he hasn't had much luck over this particular track (both of his wins came at Aqueduct), but he has won at the distance; he has the speed to stay in touch with the leaders but his late kick has been missing in two starts since the return; mixed signals.
Coupled with Sweat Equity, and only one will start; he was claimed by the high percentage Dutrow barn last time off the drop to $35k, then was shelved for a short spell; he's another with some tactical speed, and the rise in class off the short layoff is a good sign; certainly a threat if he does indeed go postward.
Drew off easily in his latest, for $30k, in a short field lacking much pace; that running style was a bit of a surprise, given his previous few lines when he raced well off the leaders early; expecting him to return to the rating game here, as there seems to be a bit more speed in this one than there was in that latest score; versatility gives him an edge, and his connections are top notch; dangerous.
Alone At Home
Faced a good field of older allowance runners last time in his first start off a short break and was blown out; drops in for a tag and can be expected to run much better under these circumstances, similar to his race 2 back when he was beaten just a length; in fact, all of his races against claimers are solid; the poor win percentage may make it tough to use him on top but he's certainly a viable candidate to fill out the exotics.
Nothing's been working lately, and now he draws poorly; makes his 3rd start off the layoff but it's hard to make a case for him off his recent form; looks like he's on the outside looking in, literally.
Well-bred colt showed little in his debut at Dmr, but Drysdale's runners often improve sharply from their first to their second start; gets Lasix today and could be a nice longshot play if he weren't coupled with the probable favorite; gives entry a very strong hand here.
Finished 4th and 2nd in two races at Sar and beat Shere Maharaja by about three lengths in his last; posted the top speed figure in this field and should be very tough to beat unless one, or more, of the firsters come out running; don't expect much price, but entry should look great to place and show bettors.
Finished 6th and 3rd in two starts at Sar and earned a speed figure just slightly lower than Monthir's best; was well-backed at Sar and worked a sharp half mile since arriving at Bel; draws the rail for this race and it would be no surprise if he improves enough to be part of the trifecta.
Had trouble in both starts at Sar and finished about four lengths behind Monthir in the last and two lengths behind him in the first; he could be much closer with a clean trip today; worked well since arriving at Bel and Zito's young horses often improve sharply with a bit of experience.
Is by a sire who is only about average with firsters and is bred top and bottom to like more distance, but his dam produced Nonies Dancer Ali, who won at first-asking as a two-year-old; he shows some sharp works and gets a rider who is always popular with bettors looking for some value.
Prisoner of War
Was 64-1 in his debut at Sar and showed little; he stumbled and was bumped at the start of that race and is probably a lot better than that effort indicates; he shows three solid works since that race and will probably get some attention from longshot players.
Is a half-brother to It'sali'lknown Fact, who was a stakes winner at two and placed in the Breeder's Cup Juvenile; his dam also produced two other stakes-placed horses, Tackalae and Perfectly Frank; has worked steadily and well for his debut and Kimmel tabs Migliore to ride.
Son of Pulpit has worked well, though not spectacularly, for his debut; he is out of a multiple stakes-producing mare, who produced Brought to Mind, a winner at first-asking as a two-year-old; gets Lasix and Velasquez for his debut, and Pletcher could have him ready for a big effort.
Is a half-brother to Strawberry Cat, who won his first start as a two-year-old; has worked well, including a bullet half-mile breeze from the gate in 1;01.01 at Sar, fastest of 14 works at that distance that day; Bailey, opts to ride Monthir, and Mott tabs Castellano, who may help the price without hurting the chances of winning.
Raced greenly in his debut at Sar but made a nice move while racing wide and was beaten less than four lengths; he finished about three lengths behind Monthir in that race but is another that could be much closer with a good trip; he worked well both before and after that race and helps make this a very interesting race.
Is by a sire who is about average with firsters (11%) and is out of a mare who produced two 2-year-old starters, neither a winner; shows four local works and they ranged from average to slow; is bred top and bottom to absolutely love a muddy track, do he deserves a long look any time the track is wet.
I'm All Yours
Colt has turned into a monster on the lawn; runner turned the corner around this time last year and hasn't looked back; the West Point win as the chalk was impressive coming from so far back; pace has to be right but anything close to a repeat of that effort would make him very tough again.
The good doctor hasn't made a house call since beating N3x foes here in the summer on the dirt; an even no kick try in the West Point followed by a dull one; probably looking at a pretty hefty number here.
Top C Jim
Humbled the last couple of times in allowance company, this guy seems over his head here; game in victory vs. sellers 3 back for his only win of the year and it was at 18-1; he was also breaking and elongated slump that day; tough to build positive case.
Buried at the shore last time as the chalk; runner has seemed to move up since switched to grass; he broke his maiden for a tag going short in the slop; runner does seem versatile and he has enough zip to be in first flight; not impossible task.
Outran his odds in the West Point in fine try; connections thought enough of him to try the Pilgrim right after maiden breaker; not disgraced when fourth last time in town; another that should be in the hunt from the get go; can't be dismissed.
Completed decent trifecta in stakes with the chalk and the 12-1 shot; not really convinced grass is his best surface; this guy can handle adversity; he's won in the slop, ran okay in marathon 2 back on the lead, then closed in last; don't just dismiss.
Life and death for only score vs. winners, this guy showed signs of life in the Lexington before basically just running around the track in the Albany; he can run all day and would benefit by an honest pace; the trip gods need to be alerted.
Tough to fall in love with after West Point flop; other stakes try in Kingston not exactly a smasher either; 2 of his 3 wins have come on dirt; got away with a slow pace 2 back and almost pulled it off; needs a turn around.
A slight adjustment either way and this guy could easily be 5 for 6 career; runner had excuse in the Runyon when track came up sloppy; carefully placed by clever outfit, love the blowout the beginning of the week, gets tested for class but this could be his coming out party.
John Paul Too
Only serious horses hit the exacta in 14 of 15 tries; off track specialist gave it his all in fine Kingston effort; got through on rail last time in what could be a perfect tightener for this; best puts right there; the Pope of Elmont?
Took overland route in stakes two back, came from third in last in next try and never really made an impact; only 1 for 13 the past 2 years, he'll need his A plus game to be a factor.
Split cast while wide in last comeback; off the board in other grass outing; runner has a bit of speed but seems up against it. Mahwah Sire was a Grade 2 winner on grass; toss muddy fiasco in last; colt brings :46 and change speed to the party; backers might get a brief thrill.
No Bad Habits
Distance no problem for this veteran; runner should be able to gain decent position if race comes off the grass; game in last couple of defeats, has legit shot if allowed to race.
Certainly headed the right way, and he did finish up nicely last time, but you know what? no one else was finishing, and when he went by City Zip it was after that guy had already tried very hard to get on terms with the sizzling Squirtle Squirt ? when 'Zip didn't have it he gave way, so this guy was beating a tired horse; at least going good and he has some speed, but this spot is as tough or tougher, he's stuck inside and must now go a distance he's never tried; talented, but there are issues.
You think Bailey has the touch with this guy or what? horse is 4 for 5 with Bailey ? he's 0 for 9 with anyone else; love the way he stormed home to win the Jim Dandy, though remember Congaree was basically losing a wheel in the lane that day as he was injured; never a factor in the Travers, but this may be a better trip and the fact Bailey returns to the saddle is most encouraging ? but is that even enough to get him over the top against 4 other tough customers? strong drill on the 16th adds to optimism; scary.
Made a nice career drilling some of the 3yo fringe players, but any questions about his heart and ability were dismissed after he gave Point Given fits in the Haskell; horse has all kinds of tools and comes here plenty fit ? and you don't win 8 of 12 by accident; figures to fall into a great trip stalking and his works since the Haskell indicate he's ready; huge threat.
His Derby was a thing of beauty for 9fs ? trouble is the Derby is 10fs; remember when he came over from Dubai there were foot problems; however, after the Derby he was very dull in the Riva Ridge; what happened? well, the Godolphin boys regrouped and bring him back here; no doubt there's plenty of talent here, but the rest of these have been racing steadily the past few months while this guy's been on the bench; tough, tough call.
Remember, in March and early April there were people who thought this was Ward's big Derby horse, not Monarchos; so maybe he's at his best at less than 9fs; well, he gets that here, is perfectly drawn outside and appears to be the controlling speed; remember how he drilled E Dubai in the Peter Pan here, and E Dubai has since won the Dwyer and been 2nd in the Travers and goes into Sunday's Super Derby the likely chalk; was dueled into submission in the Haskell but he's been freshened for this and with a clean break may be able to shake loose early and dare them to come get him; imposing.
Drysdale-trainee has turned into a runner since being transferred back to the turf this summer; no disgrace in being a runnerup to the classy Tranquility Lake last out at Del Mar and is improving at the right time; whole question is whether she is capable of firing another big shot in East Coast debut and avenge 8/8 loss to Paga, who follows her to New York.
Mott and Bailey team up and the last time Jerry rode this gal, she was winning a Grade 3 stakes this spring at today's distance; early speed is her main asset, but went way too fast when being chased by Babae, who follows her into this event and speedy Californian Paga should make today's pace hotter; Bailey on is a strong confidence boost, but hard to go all the way on the front end in a deep field with plenty of other early zip.
Loves to win (.444 percentage), but steps way up for this one, considering she was a narrow winner at Monmouth Park over much lesser than this; closer will need to find racing room from an inside post and despite good record, major class test here.
Did not enjoy graded stakes company last out and regular rider Prado opts to pilot Zeiting; seemingly wants much longer than today's one mile, pass.
The June allowance score over Babae, Zeiting and Collect the Cash certainly makes her a threat here; followed up her game allowance win with a blah try at Monmouth 7 weeks ago, but been working like gangbusters for this; the one to fear on best go.
1st Lasix and Meadowlands were the recipe for a victory in the one mile Just Smashing; much better competitor on turf than dirt with Lasix perhaps helping her turn the corner; stalking style seems an effective style in a deep field and liked her wide 3rd-place effort in the Grade 3 Lake George at Saratoga; rarely is respected on the tote board and 3-year-old filly gets a weight break (3-8 pounds), facing older rivals again; the pick.
Collect the Cash
Grade 1 stakes winner has come up completely empty in 2 attempts this year when behind similar rivals, burning some serious money; Stevens and Bailey could not get her to fire with this same bunch, so time to jump ship too; capable of better, but much to prove off last pair.
Won USA debut, setting solid fractions in Del Mar stakes win over La Ronge; catches a field loaded with front end types (Babae and Iftiraas), making her task to trek east and wire these a tough assignment; got a little tired in latest (drifting out), which was her 1st start of the year; impressive record, must be respected, and would be one to watch in the future if she can overcome what should be a sizzling pace.
Riding an 0-for this year, however last was decent when making up ground on the rail when ahead of Collect the Cash; got Lasix last time and Chavez to ride this time; can rally into the number, but not easy to back at the distance and against this kind.
Speedster has held well in last pair despite not getting the front by herself; drew outside front end runners Iftirass and Paga, which doesn't help; defeated Iftirass easily in last when 2nd best behind a sharp runaway winner; front end style and post position hurt chances dramatically.
Distance seems way too short as she rallied mildly in longer event when behind Babae; seems like another ambitious placement.
Awesome win for the 'Giant Killer' in Grade 1 on dirt with turf an obvious question mark; 7 furlongs on the main track was perfect for her as she caught classy Country Hideaway and Dream Supreme both on an off day; if Jerkens runs her, has every shot to win this; winner if taken off lawn.
Last attempt in a graded stakes did not produce favorable results; if this is moved to the main track, seems Shine Again has this field at her mercy; guns early.
Game effort in allowances on dirt with this a major step up in class; early speed is her main asset, but with speedball Tugger also a Main Track Only entrant, the front end should be crowded, which hardly helps her chances at this advanced level.
Big E E
Under the gun from the rail following a long odds failure behind Left Bank and Alannan; romped at this track and distance last fall but lacks an excuse for his even money flop here in July; a case can be made for him off his prior upset over 1-5 Grade 1 victor Trippi and stakes-winner Bet Me Best although consistency has eluded him lately; Grade 1 sprints seem out of his scope and remember his lone graded success came against an uninspiring Withers field last May; would be a surprise.
Sly Ole Buck
Bailey helped to engineer Penn-bred's $35.40 upset over Big E E on the ship-in but lands on contender Squirtle Squirt for Frankel today; none of chestnut's subsequent 3 efforts hint he belongs with these select sprinters as glaring losses vs. ungraded stakes foes at Delaware and Penn National stand out; clearly deserving of longest shot on the board status here.
It's impossible to argue with Frankel and Bailey these days and sprinter has blossomed into a Grade 1 winner as a 3-year-old; confirmed his sharp California form (shaded :44 as runnerup in the Triple Bend vs. elders at Hollywood) with an authoritative King's Bishop score over City Zip; tackles elders in the Vosburgh which represents his initial tour of the Belmont oval and will likely be sent postward as the favorite; the degree of pace pressure applied to him by Left Bank/Yonaguska may well determine his fate today; clearly is in career-best form and the one to catch.
The claim of the year seeks to regain the form which saw him reel off 4 straight earlier this year including the G1 Carter; returns at his best distance after trailing in the Tom Fool and firing fresh hasn't been a hindrance this season; the pair of 1:21 1/5 stakes victories proves he's a top-notch performer and note he was good enough to overcome a slow pace in the Carter as well; capable of contending at a larger than expected price but he'll need to bring his very best off the layoff.
Say Florida Sandy
The elder statesman of the group (owns more lifetime wins than any of his Vosburgh competitors even have starts) has maintained sharp form for Juan Serey during an excellent '01 campaign; has a recency edge on spring nemesis Peeping Tom today after running down the rapid Disco Rico at the Big M; projects for a good 2nd flight stalking trip while seeking his 1st triumph beyond 6 furlongs (and possibly initial career off track win) in a long time; hard-hitter needs only a slight step forward to attain Grade 1 glory.
5-year-old's spring stakes rampage was topped only by Peeping Tom and both of those Kentucky upsets came at 7 furlongs under Prado; endured a less than ideal journey behind the also-troubled Left Bank in the Forego but now goes 2nd off the layoff at his favorite distance; Met Mile effort provides evidence of his ability to handle a wet Belmont surface and he also could entice as the 4th or 5th choice in the betting; needn't be far off the pace and could be a danger in the lane.
Chestnut is no stranger to making a statement during his victories and gets another chance to prove his mettle vs. G1 stock here; handles the Belmont surface just fine with his muddy Met Mile debac