Belmont Park | Race 3 | Post Time 2:37 p.m. (ET) | Go to the TimeformUS PPs
This is the first 2-year-old dirt route at NYRA in 2018. While it drew only five contestants, it’s actually a fascinating race. The three runners drawn toward the outside are likely to attract the most attention.
Chad Brown entered two, including likely favorite Aurelius Maximus (#5). This horse clearly is bred to handle the distance as a son of Pioneerof the Nile from a solid female family of routers on dirt and turf. He was heavily supported in his debut at Saratoga, but he ran like a horse who just didn’t possess the quickness to win going six furlongs. He figures to be right on top of the early pace going this distance, and he’s just the horse to beat. Furthermore, Aurelius Maximus has been working in company with stablemate Fullness of Time (#3) in the mornings, and he got the better of that one on at least one occasion. Fullness of Time is by the solid stamina influence Flatter, but there are sprint influences in his female family. While he comes out of one of the fastest maiden races of the Saratoga meet, I thought he was just picking up pieces to be second that day.
The second-time starter who interests me most is EMPIRE OF WAR (#4). Todd Pletcher had a shockingly disappointing Saratoga meet with his 2-year-olds. None of his first-time starters crossed the wire in front during the entire meet (one was put up via disqualification). Among the most frustrating results had to be the loss by Empire of War in his Aug. 11 debut. This horse was heavily touted prior to that race and just seemed to struggle throughout that seven-furlong event. It seems unlikely that a horse who had trained so well for Pletcher wouldn’t have ability, so I’m willing to give this one another chance. Furthermore, based on the way these runners ran in their debuts, he could be the controlling speed.
The one other horse I want to throw into the mix is Pointer View (#2), who will be a bigger price. Anthony Dutrow does well with second-time starters stretching out, and this one probably needed his first start.
Exacta Key Box: 4 with 2,3,5
Trifecta: 4 with 2,5 with ALL