My main opinion in this race is that I don’t want either of the likely favorites, Gravitating (#7) and Uncle Larry (#9). The former has completely fallen apart after showing ability early in his career. He was alarmingly dropped in class off the claim by Jeremiah Englehart last time and ran poorly, and now Rudy Rodriguez keeps him in this bottom-level claimer. Unless he completely turns things around, I don’t see how he wins this. Uncle Larry ran a competitive speed figure on dirt two back, but that was not a particularly tough maiden special weight field. I was not thrilled with this turf try last time and it’s not as if any of his races suggest that he deserves to be a much shorter price than some of the more familiar faces at this level.
I’m most interested in the two runners drawn inside. Metaphorical (#1) is very intriguing off the claim by Ray Handal, who improved Maimo off a claim from the same connections at Saratoga. My only reservation with him is the stretch-out in distance since he does appear to be more of a sprinting type.
I’m using him, but the runner that I want to bet is CURLIN’S NEW MOON (#2). This horse steadily improved for James Ryerson over the course of the summer, twice hitting the board at this level in May and June. He was uncompetitive in a $40,000 race at Saratoga, but that spot was much tougher than this one and his performance was actually better than it might seem at first glance. Now he’s returning off a brief freshening as a new gelding, and I just get the sense that he might be one of the few horses in this race that is actually cycling into top form. You know the distance is not an issue and he’s run two of his best career races over this Belmont main track.
Exacta Key Box: 2 with 1,5,7,9