Archive for June 2018

Belmont Day Late Pick 4 Analysis

June 7, 2018

8- Just A Game, 8f, 3:02

1) On Leave (9-2): Exits a hard fought 2nd place finish when caught at the wire by today’s foe Proctor’s Ledge in the Distaff Turf Mile, but receives a six pound weight allowance from that one today and could benefit from firmer ground. She enters third off the lay, the same as Proctor’s Ledge was last time, and boasts a 5-4-0-1 career record over the Belmont turf course. Rail draw should allow for a ground saving trip in a race fairly devoid of speed as Manuel Franco picks up the mount.

2) Lull (5-1): Set torrid fractions on the lead and held on to win in her last at Gulfstream and now enters off similar rest. She also receives four to six pounds in weight from some of these and will be the one to catch with Jose Ortiz in the irons. She shows a win and a second place finish in her two starts at Belmont and Christophe Clement excels with runners making starts after over two months off.

3) Off Limits (7-2): Closer has had success on this course (5-3-1-0 career record) and looks to get back on track after two close losses in tough company this year. Javier Castellano picks up the mount and will have to time his move perfectly; has tables to turn against the top selection at this distance over this course and may prefer more ground but BRIS Prime Power selection does hold the best speed figure in the field at the distance.

4) Proctor’s Ledge (4-1): Impressive winner last out when third off the lay but seems to alternate good races with bad ones; carries more weight here as well. Checks out on paper but the feeling here is that last race was the time to side with her at double these odds, and it bears mention that her last two wins at this distance came over turf labeled good.

9- Met Mile, 8f, 3:45

1) Bee Jersey (5-1): Looks like lone speed in this spot and enters third off the lay following a Grade 3 win at the distance where he posted the field’s best last out speed figures (104 Beyer, 106 BRIS). Takes a step up in class but has improved with each race this year and finds himself in the right spot of the form cycle to take another step forward for Steve Asmussen while race shape figures to suit.

2) Mind Your Biscuits (5-2): Layed off since winning impressively at 6f in Dubai in late March, five-year old owns a 4-2-1-1 record over this track, including a closing win a year ago in the 7f Belmont Sprint over today’s foe Awesome Slew. He’s never won going this far but does tie for the field high BRIS figure at the distance (107) tracing back to his 2nd place finish in the Cigar Mile last fall and figures to relish the added ground racing more tactically from the rail; should get first run if the pace collapses.

3) Awesome Slew (6-1): One of only two graded winners at the distance, one-turn specialist is always a threat but hasn’t yet made the winner’s circle this year. BRIS Prime Power Selection will try to reverse that trend third off the lay and has back form to fall on, as his best speed at this distance (107) is tied for tops in the field. He will be coming on late and may appreciate the return to firm dirt after just missing the win by a neck in his last over the slop.

4) Bolt d’Oro (4-1): Placement on the cutback here merits a look after our Derby selection raced close to a fast pace that day and faded. On his best day he fits here from a speed standpoint but it’s hard to know what you are going to get with him and against older horses, this ML looks like an underlay for the top spot; should be in the mix underneath on talent alone, however.

10- Manhattan, 10f, 4:40

1) Robert Bruce (3-1): Chilean import was victorious in his stateside bow over this track, storming home and winning the 9f Fort Marcy, posting a 101 Beyer in the Grade 3 event in his first start after shipping.  He is now undefeated in all 7 career starts. In a race that Timeform US pegs as having a hot pace up front, his field topping BRIS Late Pace last race figure (112) is notable as he stretches back out to 10f for Chad Brown.

2) Sadler’s Joy (8-1): It’s true that he may be better suited to distances beyond 10f, although it bears mention that he ran on well to finish 3rd in this event last year after sitting well behind crawling fractions. With a hotter expected pace in this edition, the price looks right to take a shot on him with Javier Castellano in the saddle.

3) Beach Patrol (5-2): BRIS Prime Power selection is as consistent as they come and ready to fire in his second start off the layoff, where he may appreciate the added ground and firmer footing. He draws wide and will have to workout a trip near the likely fast pace, however.

4) Hi Happy (7-2): Demands respect off of his last two wins at longer distances, where he enjoyed fairly easy trips sitting just off a slow pace while easily dispatching the second choice and earning field high Beyer and BRIS Speed figures (106, 101). We wonder where exactly he fits in at this distance when the real racing begins, however. Todd Pletcher excels with his runners second off the lay but is not nearly as successful third off the lay.

11- Belmont, 12f, 5:46

justify

1) Vino Rosso (8-1): Son of Curlin boasts arguably the best pedigree for this distance, as that sire finished 2nd in this race before his son Palace Malice won it, and on bottom, his Street Cry mare Mythical Bride is a half-sister to Belmont runner-up Commissioner.  He enters well-rested after a 9th place finish in the Kentucky Derby where he wasn’t disgraced, racing very wide out of his 18 post for most of the way and making up some ground in the stretch. Todd Pletcher has owned this race of late and this colt fired a bullet 4f work over the track on 5/25. Our second choice in the Derby may find this trip a bit more to his liking as long as he can keep touch with the leaders, and the distance should hit him right between the eyes.

2) Hofburg (9-2): Sons of Tapit have won three of the last four runnings of this race, so he has that going for him on top of the fact that his damsire Touch Gold won this very race and played spoiler to Triple Crown bid himself. No colt made up more ground in the Derby stretch than he did, gobbling up 8 lengths after a brutal trip to finish a respectable 7th and posting a field high last race Late Pace figure of 99 in just his fourth career start. He enters with a bit of a wise guy feel but is well-rested and should take another step forward at a distance he should relish.

3) Justify (4-5): Clearly the horse to beat as he attempts to become just the second colt in 40 years to win the Triple Crown, but he doesn’t look unbeatable in this spot. The rail draw will force him to the lead early and they will all have to try to run him down, but there are many others who are better bred to handle this grueling distance. He’d certainly be pardoned for tiring down the stretch after a tough campaign that packed a lot of races into a short time period as his margins of victory and speed figures have slowly diminished. We won’t let him beat us in multis but at odds-on in a tough spot there is value in trying to keep him off the top line in exotics.

4) Tenfold (12-1): Another lightly raced colt with a lot of upside, son of Curlin galloped out impressively when 3rd in the Preakness in just his fourth career start, finishing with a 91 BRIS Late Pace figure which was the best in that race. It’s fair to wonder how much that race took out of him though, and we prefer the runners with a bit more rest for the top slots, but he should be one making up ground late to challenge for a piece.

5) Bravazo (8-1): The only other colt than Justify to contest all three legs of the Triple Crown has overachieved up to this point, holding on for 6th in the Kentucky Derby as a 67-1 shot and then closing from off the place in his runner-up Preakness effort. Both of those races came over sloppy tracks, however, and we have to wonder whether he isn’t set to regress as he stretches out to a distance that especially from the bottom of his pedigree would appear to be beyond his limits.

PICK 4 PLAY:

8- On Leave, Lull

9- Bee Jersey, Mind Your Biscuits

10- Robert Bruce, Sadler’s Joy, Beach Patrol

11- Vino Rosso, Hofburg, Justify