Saturday TimeformUS Highlight Horse: An improved Mentality can upset the Soaring Softly

Belmont Park | Race 9 | Post Time 5:33 p.m. (ET) | Go to the TimeformUS PPs
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Chad Brown holds a pretty strong hand in this stakes, as both of his fillies appear to be formidable. Brattata (#9) has to be respected on the cutback to seven furlongs. Chad Brown has excellent numbers with horses turning back in distance on the grass at NYRA tracks (17 for 55, 31 percent, $2.58 ROI) over the past five years. This filly actually ran much better than it appears in her two sprint starts as a 2-year-old. She had to overcome a wide trip against a bias at Saratoga and then encountered a ton of trouble when closing in her second start going this distance. She’s had trouble finishing off her two-turn races, so the return to sprinting makes sense.

A trio of fillies in this race exit the Mizdirection Stakes, and the Brown-trained Africa finished ahead of two of the rivals she will face again here. While all of the fillies coming out of that race got wide trips, I thought that Africa (#8) may have gotten the best trip of those three given her proximity to a moderate pace that held together.

The horse that I want to bet out of that race is MENTALITY (#2). She prefers to be placed a bit closer to the early pace, yet she was shuffled out of position moving down the backstretch, going from about sixth to last in the span of a quarter-mile. Despite losing all of that position, she actually made a strong late bid in the lane to nearly get up for third. I appreciate that she seemed to handle soft ground at Keeneland last year when she ran an excellent race in the Jessamine. Furthermore, based on her most recent effort, she may have really improved over the winter.

THE PLAY

Win: 2
Exacta key box: 2 with 1, 3, 8, 9
Trifecta: 2, 9 with 2, 9 with 1, 3, 4, 8

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