Today’s 5th at Belmont, for NY-breds, may simply come down to distance. The field of 8 has combined to make just 6 starts over this 9-furlong trip, with only three of the runners accounting for all of that experience. ML favorite #5 Sea Raven has some of that experience, and he is one of two in here with a prior win at 1 1/8 miles. He is an improving 4yo (4 starts this year have resulted in solid TFUS Speed Figures of 90-98-93-99), but he may need to improve again in order to defeat this field, and he did take advantage a bit late last time in a race that was blown apart by the impressive Ostrolenka.
It is the other horse with a win already over this trip that we want on top in this race. That horse, #7 Onecats Chance, was off the layoff on May 2nd. He kept close to Ostrolenka’s pace that day, and he tired in the stretch as the closers came to pick up the pieces. Today’s race projects to play out differently toward the front, with our Pace Projector giving the advantage to the horses on or near the early lead. Onecats Chance projects to be right up there with the pace from the start. He is a horse who had gotten quite good last summer, running a string of races between June 19th and August 28th that are all faster than any race Sea Raven has ever run (TFUS Speed Figures of: 100-105-107-106-100), one of those an easy win over this distance at Saratoga.
Onecats Chance is a big price on the ML, but we think he fits this race well, and we are hoping that he is both tighter and better able to pull a good trip than he was off the layoff.