06/22/2006 11:00PM

New York BC Handicap preview


Noble Stella earned a 100 Beyer Speed Figure when finishing ahead of Angara in the Grade 2 Sheepshead Bay Handicap, and may offer more value than that foe in the New York Breeders' Cup Handicap at Belmont on Saturday. Noble Stella led through slow fractions in the Sheepshead Bay, but gamely battled back to outfinish Angara for the place behind favored winner Honey Ryder. She doesn't necessarily need the lead to be successful, however, and she may rate just off of Charmsil in the early stages of this 10-furlong test. Expect Noble Stella to be right there when they turn for home, and she looms a strong contender under Mike Smith.

Angara boasts improving Beyer Speed Figures, and she may have been a bit short in the Sheepshead Bay. She now makes the third start of her 2006 campaign, and should appreciate turning back to this distance. The winner of the Grade 1 Beverly D at Arlington, Angara is always dangerous, and she may get a great trip stalking the pace while saving ground under Fernando Jara.

Charmsil figures to be sent off at a big price despite winning her last two races, and finishing in the money in her last eight starts. This will be her first try in graded stakes company, but her good speed should have her in the thick of things for the backstretch run, and she could benefit if allowed to set moderate splits. Charmsil owns a win over this course at this distance, and looks like a live longshot dropping 12 lbs. from her most recent victory.

Smart N Classy had the misfortune to break from miserable post positions in both of her 2006 races, but she still rolled home nicely in the stretch. Another going third off the bench, she should be smoking in the lane, but will likely need some pace help up front.

Argentina ships in from California for Bobby Frankel. The beaten favorite in her last four races, Argentina sometimes gets very eager in the early stages of her races. She'll need to relax in order to handle this demanding distance against this competition.

Pat Biancone's barn has been red-hot, and Asi Siempre may not have appreciated racing without blinkers last time. The hood comes back on for the New York Breeders' Cup, and she was Grade 1-placed over this course last year. She is a perfect 2-2 at this distance.

Consistent Omeya is usually right there, but she may be best-played on the bottom of exotic wagers. Dynamite Lass is working quickly for her first start since April 1.

1. Noble Stella
2. Angara
3. Charmsil