09/12/2013 10:20AM

Closer Looks: Belmont September 13, 2013


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Race 1

Spiral Stair
Only beat one in the stakes, then beaten over 3 twice; it was on the inner, but rail didn't work out all that well in June; looking at a stalk and pounce kind of a trip and there seems to be plenty of speed here to help the cause; shades on have been a nice ploy for Toner; look for him late if at all.
Never the End
Pinballed against the gate in bow in only poor effort before the August return; pretty snappy move on the 7th should have him on his toes here and you can never dismiss sub :22 speed; note he graduated in the second off the layoff run; expect much better effort.
Decisive Move
Respect hot claim box item; he's been in some good barns and is carefully placed by conditioner with a great eye for a purchase; place horse in SAR finale cashed next out at this very level with an 84 Beyer; runner has a righ to have a very nice career as kin to Grade 3 winner and over $250K player Equality; look out.
Stallwalkin' Dude
Maybe the route last time will help his stamina today; he came from midpack in the lone win but considering the cut back, he could be left with a ton of work to do late; needs very best.
Jess Not Jesse
Consistency is his calling card; he just invents ways to win; runner obviously loves this layout and he got a boost when the 8/1 show horse took a $25K claimer next out; place horse 8/1 also won for $25K next out, then was 2nd a half in a $62.5K optional on 8/26; can't fault those that stay or jump on this bandwagon.
Thomas Hill
Fans backed off after the head win two back and they were dead right; 6/27 place horse cashed next out in a $20K seller with a 78 Beyer; 9th finisher 6/27 took a $32K shore optional, then ran out of the money there; map for victory could be to sit 3 or so off the pace, hoping the leaders just wilt.
Two Seventeen
Sure not the easiest spot for just a maiden winner as he is facing a few that have been around the block and back; 6th in both turf efforts, 6/29 place horse cashed next out in an N1X with a 94 Beyer; respect connections but he has a ton of work to do to match top kin, G3 winner and $275K earner Sal the Barber.
Image of Disco
First, he must proven he can win outside of Empire land; then he has to prove he can put wins together; show horse in last was over 4 clear and the place horse 2 back took a state-bred $20K optional, then ran out of the money; game in miler last time, but we really don't know how much it may have taken out of him.
Marilyn's Guy
The class is there off the G3 win last year and he has the excuse of the mud in last; 5th finisher in last beat $25K claimers next out and the 7th finisher took a $30K CD claimer in next; runner has always had a penchant for finding the wire and nothing wrong with hitting the exacta in 14 of 29; note he also won in that 2nd off the layoff run to kick off 2011; a player if he goes.
Make Your Move
Clever connections thought enough of him to try the Dwyer; place horse in last cashed in an N1X next out with a 94 Beyer; agile enough to overcome the stumble in the win three back, maybe he was intimidated by the rail in last; last angle to think about: Saez 8 for 26 for this barn in the last year or so.
Sokitumi Samurai
At least he is back on the preferred surface; life and death for that April win and wonder if it just zapped him?; he has not been in the money since; he is probably looking at a pretty fast pace here and not sure the race sets up all that great for him.

Race 2

Showed some early interest at Delaware last time but didn't have enough to go on late from that wide spot; she dud run big this trip and course last year, but she's had plenty of chances since and she just hasn't been good enough late; doesn't catch a tough bunch so wouldn't be surprised if she held on for a share, but have to side with others on the win end.
She's had 13 tries and hasn't been a threat of late at the level; don't know that the local return is going to do much to get her going for a barn that's won just once race this year; can't make a serious case for her here.
Bargaining Table
Moves back inside after failing to factor in her return to the lawn second off the freshening upstate; filly did run a career best number at the trip here a few months back and she doesn't catch a very tough bunch in this spot; worth a look.
East Coast Express
Statebred wasn't beaten much for second money while trying this level for the initial time upstate; didn't have a lot to offer in her 3 starts here earlier in the year, but she does get a new pilot for her local return and maybe she's able to build off that last one in a lackluster field.
Elissa Town
Sire gets 16% first out winners and 12% first time surface winners from his offspring and the dam was winless from 4 starts prior to dropping 7 winners, 6 of whom banked 6 figures including G3 SW and 288K earner Golden Sonata, and one who scored on the green; light worktab isn't much and the barn is winless this year.
Simplie Sinister
Boasts a couple of ugly main track sprint lines for her turf debut; sire gets 6% first surface winners from his offspring and the dam was 0 for 3 on the green prior to dropping a limitd surface winners as well as G2 SW main track sprinter and 377K earner Cativa; barn's second runner in here has a lot of improving to do.
Fresh sophomore ran big at the trip in her first off this barn's claim and Castellano will stick with her for this one; there's very little early foot signed on so this gal should be able to make the top if they want it and from there she could prove very tough to run down; one to beat at a short price.
Always Home
Late runner wasn't beaten all that much in her first start of the year and she was given a little time to get over that try; filly has had her share of chances and her lack of lick may put her at a tactical disadvantage, but she switches to a solid pilot and doesn't catch a very tough field; consider.
Didn't do much in either of her cracks at the level upstate and now she'll return to a course over which she showed little late prior to that; barn has won just once this year and now they'll put another pilot on here; looking elsewhere.
Bebes Passion
Barn's lone starter this year broke from the fence in her lone Spa turf try and didn't have much to say thereafter while earning career best number; she'll break from the outside gate here and there's not a lot to suggest she'll be set to move forward and make much of an impact here.

Race 3

Ryan's Utopia
Sire Utopia gets over 5% debut winners, according to DRF sire stats; sire won 9 of 34 for $4.9 millioin, mostly in Japan and Middle East , was a multiple G1 SW/SP in Japan, G2 SW in Dubai, G3 SW in the U.S.; dam has 1 winner from 2 foals, Saratoga Squier (1 win, $14K); dam was off board only start; been working along steadiliy though it's no easy feat to debut going long, as he's asked to do.
Jesses Giant Dunk
Debut wasn't much but remember, not only was that his debut but it also came routing on turf; moved to dirt at SAR last month and improved considerably, running on well for 2nd; looks as though this may be the footing he wants and there are 2 nice works since and a bit more ground; 2 of 5 sibs are winners including Marra Marra (10 wins, $46K).
Some promising work on AQU's inner at this trip last winter, but then came a couple not-so-hot outings, 4 months off and a not-to-hot return at SAR Aug. 1; in his defense, not only was that run his first in a while but it came in the mud, and he did show some speed; nice to see no layoff since and no panicky drop in for a tag, too; 5 sibs to race are winners including Pocatello (4 wins, $130K, SP) and Motor City Mama (9 wins, $262K, SP).
King Wando
Good run in the mud at SAR Aug. 1 (ran 3rd) but then got on dry land there Aug. 17 and was no factor, finishing well behind a couple of today's foes; in his defense, that day he blew the start; nice to see there's no drop from Ribaudo, there's a strong work since and Solis, who was up for his nice Aug. 1 run, gets back aboard; question remains, though, is he simply best on wet ground?; 4 of 6 sibs to race are winnres including In Te Domine (3 wins, $135K, SW) and A. P. Light (5 wins, $87K).
Jack's R Wild
Tough to be too enthused; not only had plenty of chances (17) but has only the 1 2nd to show for it, and that came 10 races ago on AQU's inner Feb. 7; form since hasn't been prretty and for the most part it's come vs. this caliber, though it's also been mainly on turf; still, even if you just focus on his dirt form he appears to be on the outside looking in.
Making some steady progress so could be he's getting things figured out; lack of speed recently is a conern, though he showed tactical speed here in the spring; not far behind 'Dunk when 3rd in a spot similar to this at SAR last month and there's a snappy :48B work since (Sept. 7) to indicate he's feeling pretty spry.
Here He Fitz
Form doesn't get the pulse racing, but it hasn't been that bad either - a couple 4ths here in the spring and then a 5th July 4 in a race like this; freshened since and does have a bit of speed; still, he likely needs to return from this layoff having improved more than a few lengths if he's to have a say; 1 of 2 sibs is winner Smokin Candy (6 wins, $143K, SP).

Race 5

Some talent shown last fall and then again here May 24 when after 6 months off he ran 2nd for $45K; Schettino also saw fit to claim him that day then bumped him up to face $60K foes June 19; that didn't go so well but he's been freshened and drops, both of which can help; 1 of 3 sibs is winners Pardon My Sarong (2 for 8, $24K).
Dattt Melody
Debut at SAR Aug. 24 wasn't pretty at all but hey, it was just his debut so you can be a bit forgiving; now Mott drops him in for a tag and there's no layoff since, which bodes well; worked since, too; still, while the drop may help we don't really know if there's any talent here, do we?; 2 sibs are At Risk (2 for 9, $68K) and Timely Tally (1 for 5, $59K, G2 SP).
Let's Have Us One
Showed talent at SAR over a year ago, but was then gone quite a while (7 months); comeback run at OP wasn't much, then came another 5 months off before 2 solid outins af SAR in August, both for a tag; stays at about the same level and there's no layoff since, which is a good sign; Beyers moved up nicely at SAR last month, too; 4 of 6 sibs to race are winners including Goodies Galore (2 wins, $82K, twice SP) and Secrets Galore (3 wins, $125K, 4-time SP).
Navajo Ca Lo
Looks headed the right way; didn't do much from last November to this May but things have picked up in recent months, finishign 3rd for $50K here May 17 and 3rd in a spot like this here June 12; then came a layoff and a 4th and a 3rd, but Englehart saw fit to claim him Aug. 14 for $20K and now nearly doubles hin in value, which is an encouraging sign; 2 of 4 sibs are winners including Soiuthern Sunsation (10 wins, $71K).
Pass the Tap
Solid 2nd at AQU Feb. 28 and good 3rd at LRL May 22 sent him into a $65K turf race here May 1 well backed (3-1); alas, things didn't go well at all; hasn't run since, which is a tad worrisome but there's a signifiicant drop for a trainer who's good off the bench, with blinkers added and some nice works since; best race came off a layoff, too; 9 of 12 sibs are winners including Swagger Jack (5 wins, $460K, won G1 Carter, G2/G3 SP) and Tap Dance (5 wins, $378K, G2 SW, G2/G3 SP).
Team Lazarus
Good speed shown in last 2 outings; trouble is, he also showed he could hit the brakes pretty well; good news is those came vs. tougher so today's drop surely helps, and while he's shown speed note that in his debut here June 19 he showed he could sit and pass horses; Saez inows him, having been up for 2 nice outings; 2 sibs are winners including Write When Ready (5 wins, $121K).

Race 6

Red Constitution
Bernardini has been a poor influence as a turf sire but this filly is out of a dam who won 4 of 20 starts for 112k; she only managed to beat two to the finish in her career debut and it might be worth noting the presence of Velasquez elsewhere in here.
Nicely bred miss is out of a multiple graded stakes winning dam who won 7 of 16 starts for 969k, and she didn't make a turf start, and this filly is a 1/2 to G1 stakes placed Imagining (5-11, 300k over turf); not going to put it past this barn to have one ready for better the second time around.
Sire wins with approximately 9% of his turf starters and dam was winless from two starts, and she didn't make a start over turf; this filly is a 1/2 to Razzle Jazil (2-2, 25k over turf); respect the early speed she brings with her but turf and distance are concerns.
Rachel's Temper
This filly wasn't able to get much going in her first two starts and it's tough to gauge her turf debut in her latest outing when finishing mid-pack in an oddly run race; prefer to look toward others.
High Heel Kitten
Sire wins with approximately 16% of his first-time starters and with approximately 16% of his turf starters, and dam won 3 of 12 starts for 56k, including 1 of 7 turf starts for 19k; this filly is a full to multiple graded stakes winner Csaba (9-22, 454k, including 0-for-3 over turf) and Kitten's Queen (1-7, 61k over turf); Castellano has won with 45 of 145 (31%) mounts for this barn in 2013.
Spangled Banner
For a 2-year-old filly going 1 1/16m at the end of July, her career debut was a fine run, especially when considering that she broke in the air and cost herself as many as five lengths; runner up from debut won next out at Sar on 8/28 going 1 1/16m over turf in a 100k stakes with an 84 Beyer.
Lemon de Oro
She wasn't ignored in the wagering for her career debut and this is an outfit that can get one to improve with experience; Prado has been a go-to rider for this barn over the years and perhaps the fact that they are returning this miss on just 12 days is a sign that she's doing well.
She did some decent work in her career debut going 5 1/2f and she's a 1/2 to G3 stakes placed Catch the Glory (2-12, 97k over turf) and Catching (6-31, 146k over turf); she makes her second career start for a barn that has been very quiet in 2013.
Marie Antoinette
Sire wins with approximately 12% of his first-time starters and with approximately 15% of his turf starters, and stakes winning dam won 5 of 14 turf starts for 114k; this filly is a 1/2 to stakes winner Crimson China (2-10, 113k over turf); Velazquez has won with 74 of 255 (29%) mounts for this barn in 2013.
Tiz a Dynaformer
Sire wins with approximately 10% of his first-time starters and with approximately 14% of his turf starters, and stakes winning dam won 4 of 23 starts for 198k, including 0-for-2 over turf; Alvarado has won with 26 of 97 (27%) mounts for this barn in 2013.

Race 7

Clever Story
Much to like regarding this firster, son of Breeders' Cup Sprint winner Midnight Lute who banked 2.69 million (his offspring have won 7 of 84 debuts); the dam lost her only race; sib to G1 stakes winner Yes It's True who captured 1.08 million.
Cost Affective
Raced evenly in his comeback effort, an event which featured a legitimate pace; cutback in distance should work in his favor as a lively tempo seems in store; latest half-mile breeze showed distinct improvement also; worth some follow-up.
Quinby Pete
Three sharp tries last year and there is a consistent gap between the returning workout pattern; trainer excels with layoff runners of this type; should offer a much better price today based on the quality of opposition.
Steady a.m. breezes for this new arrival who hails from 33K earner Malibu Moon (whose progeny have won 97 out of 697 initial starts); the dam won 5 of 20 attempts and 315K; sib to 101K earner Malibu Tide.
Distorted Dream
Held on with great determination in his only start of the year; may finally end the drought today based on some truly superior workouts of late; the only 4-year-old in the field is bound to be a short price once again; obvious danger.
Street Prince
Did not fare well with the blinker addition last time out; has tailed off since his maiden voyage last November and cannot be given the top vote here; did breeze nicely at this distance only 5 days ago but that still does not seem enough of a plus factor.
Monarch Maker
A beaten favorite early in the year, he may appreciate today's shorter assignment; his sire won the Belmont Stakes and 1.98 million overall; the dam won 2 of 7 and 7K; this is her only foal to make it to the starting gate.
Tiz for Tat
Like others in this intriguing line-up, he has come up second best more than once; had legitimate excuses in the last pair of defeats (the race on 7/6 was particularly fast); should now be able to stay within range with a clean getaway; warrants inclusion in exotic wagers.
Began his career over this course and turned in a respectable showing in a quick affair; did not fire when stretched out thereafter and today's turnback, and equipment change, should help matters; can land a share at a generous price.
Buddy's Smart
Newcomer was sired by G1 type Smart Strike who amassed 337K (his descendants have won their debut one-sixth of the time); the dam won multiple G2s and 1.44 million; sib to 82K earner Summer Laugh; should be inviting odds.
Candy At My Place
After a series of so-so workouts, he drilled an excellent half-mile on 9/5; his sire was undefeated, a multiple G1 victor who captured 749K (progeny of Candy Ride are 45 for 358 as far as winning their first test); the dam, a pure sprinter, won 150K; this is her only foal to compete; can shock.

Race 8

Street Swagg
Looks headed the right way but even so, those last 3 all came at this level and he wasn't really a factor in any (beaten 11, 7 1/2, 8 lengths); at least it's nice to see no drop and his lone win did come here, but it also came sprinting so not only is the class level a question mark but so too is the trip.
Junior Officer
Some good work here in the spring including a win in a spot similar to this April 27; then came a near-miss (3rd, beaten a nose) vs. tougher May 31; alas, things have tailed off sicne but now there's a drop and Rodriguez wheel shim back in just 6 days, a move with which he's had success (21% coming back in 7 days or less); 2 sibs to race are Sherine (4 wins, $224K, G2 SW) and Biloxi Pride (10 wins, $211K, twice SP).
Ran on decently to be 2nd routing at htis level at SAR Aug. 18; trouble is, it's not like he was a threat (beaten 4 lengths); didn't show much speed at all in his last 2 but note ample tactical speed shown at AQU prior to the 4-month hiatus so he doesn't have to come from way out of it; still, that recentlack of speed is troublesome and being able to threaten just once in his last 6 tries at about this level gives cause for pause; both sibs are winners including Manchurian High (5 wins, $112K, G2 SP).
Summer Place to Be
Came out smokin' to win his debut at SAR Aug. 17; didn't just win, but he won easily, and remember he blew the start to boot; certainly worked well since, but it's first time vs. winners, first time routing and first time here, so there are somr hurdles to be sure but obviously he's got some ability, he worked big Aug. 31 (bullet 4fs in :48.40B) and it's great to see Dutrow does NOT offer him for a tag.
Big maiden win here July 5 hinted he'd turne he corner, though to be fair the Beyer for that big win was pretty darn light (49); still, Parker saw enough to claim him; however, first 2 starts vs. winners, both at SAR, weren't pretty at all, including a dull 7th in a race smilar to this July 29; even when dropping in for a tag last time (Aug. 10) he failed to do much; kin to Sky Music (SW, multiple SP) and Brigand (5 wins, $353K, multiple SW, G2/G3 SP).
Ego Friendly
Flashed promise last fall/winter with a game maiden win on AQU's big track Dec. 6 and a decent 2nd on AQU's inner Feb. 23; alas, then came 2 months offf and he hasn't looked the same since; Kimmel adds blinkers and there's a nice work since but he was no factor in 5 races at this level so is ther ea reason to believe that can change today?; he's a full to Friend or Foe (5 for 10, $349K, 3-time SW).
Mr Rosenthal
Has something of which only Junior Officer can also boasts (a win over winners); trouble is, that and his only other win (and only 2 career 2nds) came on turf; we're not playing on that footing today; at least a couple 3rds in 5 main-track starts show he's not a fish out of water on this ground but could it be he's simply better on the sod?; could be, and even if that's the case it's not like his 3 starts this year, after 8 months off, get the pulse racing.