09/06/2012 2:45PM

King: Newsdad's odds look generous in Bowling Green

Tom Keyser
At 7-2 in a five-horse field, the price looks right on Newsdad in the Bowling Green at Belmont.

Coming out of south Florida this spring, Newsdad was considered in the running for the best distance turf horse in the East.

Then Point of Entry came along – not once, but three times – whipping him and others, so no one holds Newsdad in such high regard anymore.

That is why he is a good bet to win Saturday’s Grade 2 Bowling Green at Belmont Park. The shine is off him, and his price is right at 7-2 with just five horses entered in the body of the race.

Although unplaced behind Point of Entry in his last three races – the Grade 2 Elkorn, the Grade 1 Man o’ War, and the Grade 1 Sword Dancer – at least in the latter race Newsdad was competitive for much of the running.

Fifth early in the 1 1/2-mile Sword Dancer, Newsdad launched a middle move to reach contention, and held second-place until the eighth pole before eventually fading to fourth. In the end, he was edged only by three-quarters of a length by fellow Bowling Green starter Brilliant Speed for the show.

Now in the third start of his current form cycle for Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott, a better race is likely from Newsdad.

He isn’t facing Point of Entry, either. Rather, the morning-line favorite at 8-5 is Point of Entry’s stablemate, Air Support – a nice horse but no Point of Entry.

A deep closer, Air Support is at the mercy of pace to be effective. He didn’t get that most recently at Saratoga, and it showed with him flattening out late to be third in a money allowance.

As for the others, Brilliant Speed appears an underlay at 2-1 on the line – given that he has not recorded a top-two finish in five starts at age 4. And the two other turf entries in the lineup have questions regarding them – with 5-1 Bombaguia taking a massive class hike from a second-level allowance, and 10-1 Brujo de Olleros racing on turf for the first time.

That leaves 7-2 Newsdad, who won the Grade 2 Pan American last winter at Gulfstream, as the most appealing wagering option.

Icon Ike live longshot in Turf Dash

Of the three stakes at Kentucky Downs on Saturday, the Kentucky Cup Turf Dash offers the most mutuel upside.

A six-furlong grass race, it drew at least four entrants whom are seemingly more effective racing on dirt than turf: 3-1 shot Good Lord, 4-1 choice Delaunay, 5-2 favorite Noble’s Promise, and 12-1 outsider Will’s Wildcat.

Granted, one could make a case that Noble’s Promise showed turf quality by finishing a close fifth at Ascot in the Grade 1 St. James Palace Stakes at age 3.

But as the favorite in the Kentucky Cup Turf Dash, there’s no value in taking that opinion. I would rather bet against Noble’s Promise, a son of dirt sire Cuvee, and a horse who hasn’t seen the grass in more than two years since his trip overseas.

Though he hasn’t run the flashy Beyers of others, my value-based selection is Icon Ike, who sits at a far too generous 20-1 on the morning line. No chance he goes off at that price, but at 8-1 or higher, he merits a wager.

This horse is 5 for 6 on grass, with his lone defeat coming in a 1 1/16-mile turf race when he chased the speedy Silver Max going a distance beyond his best.

A 3-year-old son of Yes It’s True out of a Straight Man mare, Icon Ike is bred to sprint, and he does that quite well. And judging by his history of winning close finishes, he is a tenacious fighter.

Winner of Ellis maiden race merits respect

Although the Super Derby is the highlight race at Louisiana Downs on Saturday, it is one of the undercard stakes that I like best: the $150,000 Sunday Silence for 2-year-olds going a mile on the grass. There, my choice is 9-2 shot Java’s War, who won a maiden race at a mile on grass at Ellis Park on July 8.

Overcoming traffic and a wide trip from post 11, he drew away to a 1 3/4-length victory, earning a 68 Beyer – a good figure for a horse running two turns midway in his 2-year-old year.

My hope is that bettors will underestimate him a bit because his maiden win came at Ellis Park – not exactly Saratoga, where future stars race seemingly every day.

Discount him at your risk. I believe trainer Kenny McPeek simply ran him there to give Java’s War an early opportunity to go a distance of ground, something he has done with a number of his good 2-year-olds in recent years.

Kathmanblu, for example, picked up her first victory there in a route in 2010 and went on to become a multiple graded stakes-winning router.