09/20/2013 11:01AM

Closer Looks: Belmont September 21, 2013


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Race 2

King Kongrats
Improved in the latest breeze from the gate; his sire won a G2 stakes and 998K overall; offspring of Congrats are 21 for 189 as far as winning their first test; the dam was without a victory in 5 attempts; among the winning siblings is 59K earner Thoroughly.
Manhattan Johnnie
The selection based on the very professional work tab during the last month; the colt's sire won a G1 and 1.22 million (progeny of Roman Ruler have won 30 out of 236 debuts); the dam was unraced; sib to 15K earner Solar Flight.
Maximus Decimus
Newcomer hails from G1 Suburban winner Offlee Wild who captured 976K and whose descendants have won 32 out of 186 initial starts; the dam never competed; among the winning siblings is 37K earner Bala de Plata.
Exits a very quick race which featured a 2 to 5 shot winner wherein he was a distant third; his sire won multiple G2s and 769K; the dam never made it to the starting gate and this is her only foal to compete; worth some follow-up.
Wicked Strong
Offspring of Hard Spun, victorious in the G1 King's Bishop and winner of 2.67 million, have tallied in 16 out of 162 debuts; the dam won 1 of 12 and 20K; winning siblings include 57K earner Abbey Street.
Very fine training track breeze only 11 days ago; descendants of D'wildcat have won approximately 14 percent of their first attempts; the mom won 2 of 14 and 107K; among the winning siblings is 118K earner Brampton.
His sire was a G1 type who garnered 480K (progeny of Arch have are 41 for 395 as far as winning their first races); the dam won 1 of 4 and 30K; winning siblings include 78K earner Apex; veteran trainer/jockey combo a plus.
Away Game
Sired by Belmont Stakes winner Lemon Drop Kid who amassed 3.24 million (his descendants have won 45 of 508 initial starts); the dam won 3 of 13 attempts and 163K; winning sibs include 464K earner Wilkinson.

Race 3

Irish Jade
The blinkers experiment lasted one race they are removed for this; today marks his shortest-distance test ever after showing zero gate speed throughout career; the trainer is yielding 29% winners blinkers off since 2012; figures to be flying late after saving ground.
Try to catch me 1st at the 1st call in 4 straight; the one exacta finish and career-best Beyer was posted at 1.5F shorter than this; figures as a pace presence for part but was eased the only other time sent longer than 6.5F.
Ride a Cat
The extra furlong and the race experience all seem to add up to an improved effort today and he has plenty of room to move forward; 1-for-59 sprint trainer since 2012 hopes to break this one a lot sharper than in the 46-1 unveiling.
Big Data
Sire is 6-for-71 with 1st-turf starters; 18-for-165 with 1st-time starters; is out of a 4-for-14 dam (120K) who did not race on grass producing 1 winner from 3 other foals to race (1-for-15 Graceful Afleet 40K); no foals raced on grass.
My Teddy Bear
Leaves the Sciacca barn after lacking stamina in recent races and figures to chase Sayaprayerforme to the front; in with his lowest-weight assignment since March; the 2-back runner-up finisher Beyered 72 in his next-out BEL-MSW victory.
Sire is 9-for-79 with 1st-turf starters; 9-for-138 with 1st-time starters; is the 1st foal out of a 5-for-51 dam (125K) (5-31 turf 115K); the worktab for this suggests we take a wait and see approach.
Sire is 1-for-94 with 1st-turf starters; is out of a 2-for-6 grass dam (48K); 1 of 5 foals to race on turf is a grass winner (6-for-15 SW-Dirge 173K green); was unable to show much better on the dirt debut with a less-than-enticing worktab for this.
Willing to excuse his other 7F turf loss a stakes defeat on less-than-firm turf vs. the winner who repeated in a BEL-90K event with an 89 Beyer; today's cutback in distance after being primed at longer adds to the appeal; the barn is off to a slow start this meet and is 1-for the last-37 with MSW starters.
Lacked the finishing punch at shorter which doesn't bode well for this; gets in with his lighest-weight assignment ever; the 2-back runnerup finisher Beyered 65 in a next-out SAR-MSW win; the 3-back exacta finish was accomplished at today's distance but with lesser.
Native Singer
Speedy Main Track Only entry and 3-time beaten favorite exits a race where the show finisher won by 10 lengths next out posting a 79 Beyer in a BEL-MSW victory; he beat the 6th-place finisher a next-out BEL-20K-maiden claiming graduate (58 Beyer); a dangerous-pace presence if in.

Race 4

Kingsford Drive
Gets the top local pilot for his return to dirt off the claim by an outfit that doesn't do so well with this type right back; 5 year old was quite good in his 2 local trip starts prior to the upstate turf stretchout and he does have the early foot to establish positon here; with some solid recent drills in tow he's one to consider.
Earned a nice number when second in his upstate return to dirt after tracking a quick clip at a longer trip last month; new barn boasts some recent luck right back and this guy's breeze last week suggests he remains on his toes; may not be as good as that last one's figure would suggest, but he can get in the mix here.
Point Taken
Tracked his way to a popular score at 2 turns upstate last month and now he'll turn back to a sprint trip at which he's never been out of the exacta in 3 career tries; gelding put big efforts together going longer here in the spring and though he likely finds himself with more to do late in this one he should also be encouraged by the quicker fractions; one to fear in the lane.
Beer Is Good
Returns quickly off this low percentage outfit's claim after wiring softer through soft splits on the drop in his return to the main track; he showed 2 back that he doesn't need the lead to be effective, but he's a quick breaker and if he gets off to an alert beginning here as well they'll likely let him roll; siding against the repeat against this better bunch.
Should be tighter with his return from better than 7 months on the shelf behind him as he cuts back to his preferred trip; 7 year old has been off his best game for some time now, but he did work well for this one last week and he does like the local main track.
Quick Money
Just missed against fellow statebreds on the Spa lawn and now he'll get back to dirt while moving in with open company; last main track spin resulted in a big figure score and he clearly likes this trip; gets a weight concession with the switch to a capable bug and warrants a good look.
Makes his first local start for a barn that's had some trouble finding the winner's circle at the stand, though they are very good with their new runners; beaten last out chalk North of the border was pretty sharp on dirt earlier in the year and even if he's been a different runner since then, he deserves a shot to prove he can get back on track over this type of footing.
Earned a handful of checks without winning on this circuit earlier in the year, but tailed off when sent upstate for the summer; maybe the local return helps and he was ok at 3/4s earlier in his career, but the better guys in here may prove to be too much for him right now.
Thinking of Girls
Got his nose down on the drop in company upstate and now he'll make his first start off this low profile outfit's claim; outside draw does put him in a good spot to track and last week's breeze suggests he's ready to get back in the gate; his pilot sticks with him and he does own some back numbers that would get him involved.

Race 6

Zensational 0 for 3 with first-time grass runners; sire won multiple Grade 1s, lost only start at 2, never turfed; dam was unraced; lone half sis cashed once on turf as older runner; educated at Oceanport, look out.
Texas Zip
City Zip about 17% with his juvenile firsters in a 318-horse sample and about 15% of his first-time turf runners in a 305-horse study; sire won 5 times at 2, earned over $725K sprinting, was third in best result on grass when beaten a length in the G2 Kelso; dam took one route as older horse; all 3 siblings won; 1 cashed at 2, one tried turf to no avail; love work pattern.
Street Cry about 11% of his first-time turf runners in a 212-horse study; sire took G1s, won at 2, banked over $5 million, never turfed; G1 winning 4 for 20 dam won at 2, earned $745, never turfed; 2 of 3 sibs won; neither won at 2, but one cashed twice on grass; don't ignore.
Hard Spun 9 for 95 with first-time turfers; sire unbeaten in 3 juvenile outs, took a G1, banked over $2.6 million, never turfed; dam's lone win came routing on dirt as older horse; this is her first to race; expect better result.
Great Minds
Stroll 5 for 30 with first-time grass performers, 11 for 36 with juvenile debuters; sire took 7 of 16, won a G1, all on grass, banked nearly $800K; 2 for 3 dam was grass only; all 3 sibs won, there is juvenile success in tree and kin Regal Nurse won on grass, earned over $230K; he seems to have speed.
Point Hope
Considering he acted up and was fractious to kick it off, the debut was not all that bad; he also has come back to drill fast; 2nd, 3rd and 4th finishers in bow won at this level next out; dam took debut at 2, won twice on grass; both sibs won, neither at 2, but one was a double winner on grass and earned nearly $125K; must pick it up.
Nowhere to Run
Kitten's Joy about 17% with his juvenile firsters in a 192-horse sample and about 16% of his first-time turf runners in a 261-horse study; sire won twice at 2, won multiple G1s on grass, banked over $2 million; G3 placed 4 for 24 dam won twice on turf, lost both starts at 2; several multiple race winners in the family; several cashed at 2 including SW and triple grass winner Return to Paradise; trainer has spotted them fine with limited outs.
Dynaformer about 10% with his juvenile firsters in a 399-horse sample and about 13% of his first-time turf runners in a 781-horse study; sire could carry speed on grass; dam 0 for 4; one of 4 sibs won; that one cashed at 2 but lost only turf out; drills ideally spaced.
Street Gent
Street Sense 14 for 91 with first-time grass performers, 10 for 79 with juvenile debuters; sire won twice at 2 including BC Juvenile, took the Derby, was dirt only; dam won at 2 on grass for only score; 7 of 9 sibs won; several won at 2 including 4-time grass winner and $425K earner Beau Dare; lean toward watching.
Mr Speaker
Youngster cuts back a bit for patient barn; dam won routing at 2, earned over $100K; the sibling that won cashed on grass but was 3rd in best juvenile moment; Shug gives bug a shot.
Justin Nguyen
Debut was solid and he was clear for fun in the off going in last; dam won at 2, took stakes, earned nearly $500K; lone half sister was 0 for 3; another slice?

Race 7

He ran well in his first start for this barn after a 20k claim in his latest outing, and even though there might be something to be said for Castellano being aboard the other half of the entry, Arroyo has won with 12 of 42 (29%) mounts for this barn over the past two years.
Yellow Mountain (IRE)
He ran well when outrunning his odds after a layoff two starts ago, but he's going to need a sharper performance than that to get the better of a field of this caliber; simply feel that his best effort is short of the mark of what it will take to win this.
Late running veteran is capable of a sharp performance on his best day and he's been at his best racing over the Belmont Park turf in the past; as long as he gets an honest early pace in front of him, he can make some noise through the lane.
He seems to have not responded well to the barn change a few starts back and he does need to find a way to get back on top of his game to beat these; he's clearly capable on a top try, but not sure that that can be expected; Alvarado has won with 23 of 83 (28%) mounts for this barn in 2013.
Bernardini has been a poor turf sire and this might be a tough spot for this colt to meet up with winners for the first time; can't ignore the improvement he's shown with the addition of Lasix two back, and this barn have been very live with recent turf starters, but leaning toward others for the top spot.
Horse Latitudes
He has a fine pedigree for turf but he's making his first start against winners after getting the better of 25k maiden claimers in his latest outing; he's really going to need to step it up along the Beyer Speed Figure scale if he's to be competitive.
Indy Sea
Have to respect the presence of Velazquez aboard another in here, and he's going to going to need to improve over his previous best effort to threaten these, but this gelding can prove to be an early pace factor with the addition of blinkers.
It looks like Castellano may have had other options to consider in this spot and lands here, and this veteran is clearly capable of being competitive at this level of competition; he hails from a top turf barn and he's proven that he can run well when fresh; winner from latest won next out at LaD on 9/7 going 1 1/16m over turf in a 100k stakes with a 95 Beyer.
Lure of the South
He's run well in back-to-back starts since being returned from a layoff two starts ago, but he figures to have a tough time trying to keep up with the top contenders in this spot; note that he's seeking his first turf victory in his 18th turf attempt.
He's been claimed from each of his last three starts and this looks like a difficult assignment for his first start for this barn; winner from latest won next out here on 9/11 going 1 1/16m over turf vs. 62k OPC's with a 90 Beyer.
He's been a pretty consistent performer throughout his career but he's another stone-cold closer in here who needs to see some pieces fall into place to have his best chance at the top spot; viewing him in the light of a contender, but others entice more.
Romancing the Gold
A few horses in the main body of this race have shown a little bit of dirt ability but this will be a good spot for this gelding to land in and try to regain some of his better form while making his first start for a new barn after a 25k claim.
Cool Under Fire
He's run pretty well in four of his last five starts and he looks like a decent fit with this group; he owns the positional speed to settle into comfortable position early on and he might find himself in good position to strike turning for home.

Race 8

Tune Me In
Didn't have enough late after setting the pace from the fence in the Monmouth stake last time and now he'll again draw inside in his local return; presence of speed drawn to his outside suggests they may be able to take hold of him early and maybe the cut back to this trip benefits him as a top pilot gets aboard.
Speedy gelding has been quite good on the lawn for over a year now, having bee off the board just once, in the G1 Manhattan, over the last 16 months; numbers he earned at 2 turns in his last 2 starts upstate fit quite well in here and he does like the local sod, but this is a much tougher bunch than he faced upstate; one to catch.
Big Screen
Had things his own way on the front end as the chalk when stretched out on the Spa main track last time and came up with little late; gelding's G3 Poker try over the local sod was rather good and maybe he finds himself in a tracking spot just off Plainview early here; spots these plenty of surface experience, but he's a contender.
Expected he'd run better than he did in the G2 Baruch a few weeks back, but maybe it was just the heavy course and loose front runner he was chasing that did him in; he did get a quick clip to rally into while earning a career best number 2 back, though, and he doesn't have any local course experience; maybe for a minor award.
Paris Vegas
Nice effort from the fence to get second money behind the front running winner in the Spa stake last time; while he's been good over a course with give in it he also handles a firm course and he'll get a switch to the circuit's tip pilot for this one; ran out of ground in his lone local sod spin last year.
Bad Debt
Fresh gelding returns to a course over which he's hit the board in each of his 5 starts; he'll get yet another new pilot for this and it has been a while since he's seen the winner's circle, but maybe the local return helps get him going; best puts him in the mix.
Sky Venture
Makes his first local start with the hood removed while starting for a new outfit; he's yet to hit the board in 5 career turf spins and will catch a bunch of surface specialists today; longshot looks to be in over his head here.
Keep Up
Got going too late in the 10 panel G3 Arlington Handicap a couple of months back and now he'll cut back to a trip at which he won twice last fall; late runner should get an honest clip in front of him here and he's been breezing like he's ready to return running for a barn that's had recent luck with its fresh runners; one to fear in the lane.
Nine O Wonderful
Tries a tougher bunch after running ok in his first start of the year 3 months back; 5 year old is another who does his running from off the pace and he is breezing well of late upstate for his return, but he'll need to fire his best off the break to get in mix from here.
MTO chased a loose leader who had things his own way here last week and still ran well for second money; he'll likely get a decent clip in front of him if this comes off and he does own a wet track score; one to beat if the rains come.

Race 9

Cluster of Stars
April absentee gets the distance test off the bench; she has never raced this far; hard to fault her record as she gradually moved from NY-bred MSW ranks into latest Grade 2 win; beat the 3-back show runner a next-out 77 Beyer AQU-73K stakes winner; can she win right off the long layoff is the main issue but her January, 2013, romp off a longer layoff suggests she will come back running.
Receives an extra 2-pound concession from Dance to Bristol trying to turn the tables off the late-running show finish cutting back a half furlong off that race wouldn't seem to help the cause; she won her BEL stakes start racing this far; rider of last sides with Holiday Soiree.
Holiday Soiree
Has never been today's 6.5F distance but projects to like it a lot; she figures to stalk the speed while saving ground then make one run; improving-worktab off latest career-best Beyer win at SAR for a high-percentage repeat/fresh trainer; has something to prove off her other BEL dirt start a 4th-place in the G1 2011 Frizette at 1 Mile.
Defy Gravity
Has plenty to prove locally off one of her worst races which occurred in her only other BEL dirt start in the 2011-G2 Matron a 5th-place finish defeated more than 11 lengths; her last 2 runner-up finishes turned into wins via DQ; was also entered today in a 100K stakes race at today's distance on GP dirt.
Munnings Sister
Career-best Beyer was posted over a less-than-fast-race track so is doing the rain dance for this stellar event; receives a 3-pound added weight concession trying to turn the tables on Dance to Bristol; is 3-for-4 on BEL dirt with her only other loss at a much-longer distance than this; beat the 3-back runner-up finisher who Beyered 82 in her next-out MTH-61K stakes win.
Dance Card
Cuts back to her shortest-distance test ever; has been working strongly for her 1st start of the 4-year-old season off the Grade 1 win when defeating the 5th and 7th-place finishers who Beyered 86-83 in next-out SA-Grade 1 and AQU-78K stakes wins.
Receives a positive 4-pound weight swing from latest loss vs. Cluster of Stars who won next out with a 106 Beyer taking an AQU-optional claimer while the show runner Beyered 77 in a next-out AQU-73K stakes victory; career-best Beyer occurred off a 63-day absence but will be taking a wait and see apporach off the more than 7-month absence for this.
Classic Point
Raced 1st at the 1st call in 5 of last 8 races she wants the lead; one of her most impressive efforts of career was the 3-back win on BEL dirt when stalking the pace then beating the runner-up finisher who Beyered 83 in her next-out SAR-optional-claiming win.
Dance to Bristol
January was the last time she lost but needed a photo-finish cameras to decide last pair and picks up weight for this; improving type took her May Maryland-winning form into NY and went back home with graded stakes wins latest a G1; the worktab for this was not overly enticing while she breaks widest sure to lose ground after breaking from the 1 post for last.

Race 10

He needed 19 starts to get to his first career win, and after earning a career best Beyer Speed Figure in his latest outing, he's going to have to be ready for an even sharper try while moving up to take on N1X allowance rivals.
Ocala Jim
Half-brother to multiple stakes winner Rhum (7-16, 306k over turf) got the job done in only his second turf attempt in his latest outing, but he's going to need to be ready for better in his first start against winners in order to get the job done.
He's another who spent a lot of time in the maiden ranks before earning his first career win and he was beaten by a few of today's rivals while meeting up with winners for the first time in his most recent outing; prefer to look toward others.
Stakes placed colt is clearly capable of better than what he showed up with in his latest start and you only have to go back two starts to find a race that is strong enough to get him into the mix with these; leaning toward others, but not going to be surprised if he gives a decent account of himself in this spot.
Powerful Instinct
Not wild about the 1-for-21 race record without a runner-up finish, but this colt has his share of appeal in this spot while making his first start for the barn of Chad Brown, and they see fit to call upon Castellano for this; Castellano has won with 46 of 150 (31%) mounts for this barn in 2013.
James Jingle
Since earning a stakes placing over turf as a 2-year-old, his turf form hasn't been very encouraging, and he's going to need to improve over his recent form to get over on the top contenders in this spot.
Z Maitre D
Feel that he's an interesting player in this spot when considering that he ran well in a couple of starts over turf as a 2-year-old, and that he had every right to need a race after a long layoff in his latest outing; he's out of a multiple graded stakes winning dam who won 4 of 20 turf starts for 368k, and Velazquez has won with 4 of 7 (57%) mounts for this barn in 2013.
Barnards Galaxy
He didn't run poorly when finishing behind a couple of today's rivals in his latest outing and he's the only one in here who can boast of having four wins next to his name; he might need to see a few of these show up with less than their best to have a shot at the top spot, but a minor award isn't out of his reach.
Hidden Vow
Based on what he's done in his three most recent races since being returned from a layoff, he has to be considered a top contender in this spot; on the negative side, he's another who needed many start to get to his first win and he's eligible to settle for a minor award if he's faced with a challenge through the stretch.
His recent form has been his best and the 83 Beyer Speed Figure he earned for his latest performance represents the best last race figure in this field; note the success that Franco has had riding for this barn.
Papa Freud
He's been beaten by a few of these in his recent starts, but in a race that might not have a fast early tempo, he might be able to get comfortable through the opening stages and keep himself involved in the running throughout.
Captain Gaughen
Multiple stakes plaed colt ran very well in his first two starts of the year, both over the Belmont Park turf, and perhaps shipping down from Saratoga will prove to be a key for him; Generazio-homebred has a live look to him in this spot.
Feel that it's fair to question the dirt form that is signed on in the main body of this race, and if this stakes placed gelding performs the way he did in his latest outing, he can leave these behind to battle it out over the place prize.