09/10/2017 12:21PM

Sunday’s TimeformUS Highlight Horse: Lone Sentry ready to step forward off encouraging debut

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Belmont | Race 2 | Post Time 2:01 p.m. (ET) | Go to the TimeformUS PPs

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There are certainly some well-bred first-time starters in this race. Those include Victor Lounge (#3), one of two European graded stakes winners on turf; Blockade (#9), whose dam was a multiple graded stakes winner on turf; and Voting Control (#10), a son of Kitten’s Joy out of a grass-winning dam. I’ll use them all, but I’m most interested in a horse with experience.

LONE SENTRY (#1) ran extremely well in his debut considering the dynamics of that race. The early pace was glacial (indicated by blue color-coding in the PPs), and the entire field sprinted home from the top of the stretch. Few horses were making up significant ground into the pace, and the only one that made any kind of impact from the back of the pack was Lone Sentry. He was absolutely flying late, running his last quarter-mile in 21.81 seconds, according to Trakus. More importantly, he was the only runner to make a significant run from the back of the pack in a race dominated by those that were close to the pace or racing along the rail.

Kelly Rubley has poor overall numbers with second-time starters, but that sample comprises many horses who were massive longshots and a few shorter prices that actually ran well. In DRF Formulator, narrowing her second-time starter sample down to runners that went off at less than 6/1 odds over the past five years, Rubley is 2 for 9, and five of those finished in the money.

In addition to the firsters, I’ll use Lone Sentry with Power Boss (#2), who put in a solid late run going 5 1/2 furlongs at Saratoga in his debut despite racing a bit greenly. I prefer him to the other stretch-out Ambassador Jim (#11), who has more of a sprint pedigree on his dam’s side.

THE PLAY

Win: 1

Exacta Key Box: 1 with 2,3,8,9,10

Trifecta: 1 with 2,3,10 with 2,3,8,9,10,11