Belmont Horses in Focus for Friday, June 19

RACE 2: ALL OTHERS FOLLOW (#2)

The British-bred filly All Others Follow will step up to face mixed age company following her promising debut at Tampa. She was a little wide around both turns, but otherwise worked out a decent trip, only hitting her best stride in the final furlong while racing a bit greenly. She definitely gave the impression that added ground would suit her, and she gets that here. Furthermore, she’s bred to stay as a daughter of Sea the Stars out of dam who whose only victory came going 1 1/2 miles on turf in France. Chad Brown, despite getting overbet in many similar situations, has an excellent record (20 for 68, 29%, $2.20 ROI) with 3-year-old and up maiden second-time starters in turf routes at NYRA over 5 years. She could go favored here, but that support seems deserved. Her main rivals are the more experienced 4-year-olds Coilean Bawn and In Front. This is definitely the right spot for Coilean Bawn, as she’s run two of her best races over this course, just missing at this exact distance last July. The only negative is that she had her chances to break through this level last year, twice going down to defeat as the favorite. She disappointed in her final appearance in 2019, but she did not get the right trip that day, chasing wide over a course that was favoring rail paths. I slightly prefer her to In Front, who has some similar running lines. Aside from a dismal outing at Gulfstream, her three prior efforts in New York were all solid. She had some excuses last time, as she was taken too far back in the early going and then was pushed out wide on the far turn when a rival to her inside lost the rider. The added distance isn’t supposed to be an issue, and she’s clearly a threat. The one other horse I want to consider underneath is Fortuna for Graham Motion. She’s way too slow to beat these based on her form from last year, but she has a right to have improved with maturity. She exits a Kentucky Downs maiden event that’s stronger than it appears, and she’s bred to relish added ground.

RACE 8: SUMMER BOURBON (#6)

Eye Luv Lulu will beat this field if able to produce any number of his prior performances for trainer Jason Servis, but that’s no guarantee as Rob Atras takes over his training. While this 9-year-old gelding was still putting forth solid efforts in recent seasons, victories have become more infrequent, and his most recent effort in the Hollie Hughes was one of his worst in years. The new barn does an excellent job, but many trainers have struggled to replicate the Servis form and, while Eye Luv Lulu was always a high-quality animal, he was never as consistent for other trainers as he had been for Servis. I have to take a shot against him here, but the alternatives are limited. Leaky Cup will attempt to take these all the way on the front end, but he couldn’t quite pull off that feat when last seen at Aqueduct in February, and this is arguably a tougher spot. The Caretaker was in raging form over the winter for Rudy Rodriguez, but he was curiously risked for a $40,000 tag last time and couldn’t quite reel in his stablemate as the favorite. He was claimed by Tom Morley, who rarely wins off the claim, and now he’s back at the same level with the claiming tag in place. I think the best option to cause a minor upset is the horse who defeated The Caretaker last time. Summer Bourbon got in a prep during the first week of the meet, finishing a dull fifth in an open race at this claiming level. While that effort won’t be good enough to beat these, he was out of position early in r ace dominated up front, and he seems likely to move forward with that run under his belt.  This gelding typically runs his best races for Rudy Rodriguez and he should work out a good trip here perched just off the three speeds drawn down inside.

RACE 9: TURNED ASIDE (#5)

Three filled out the trifecta slots in that stakes-quality allowance race run at Churchill Downs in mid-May. The heavy favorite in that spot was last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint winner Four Wheel Drive, but he failed to show up after blowing the start. That allowed Jack and Noah to inherit an uncontested early lead, and he almost took them all the way on the front end, just cut down by Chimney Rock in the final strides. Chimney Rock obviously brings the best credentials into this race. He’s never finished out of the exacta in five turf sprint starts and was the runner-up in last year’s Breeders’ Cup event. That 106 TimeformUS Speed Figure he earned last time was his best yet and he’ll be difficult to beat if he merely maintains that form. I prefer him to Jack and Noah, whom he defeated last time. That rival could get a bit more pace pressure this time with the speedy So Street drawn outside of him, and 6 furlongs could prove to be a test of his stamina. The horse some trip handicappers may want out of that Churchill event is Guildsman, as he was off slowly and had to alter course while rallying in the stretch. The only issue is that he always seems to break a bit slowly and it’s unclear if he’s going to get enough pace to close into this time, even if they move a bit quicker up front. I’m using all of these runners, but I want to go in a slightly different direction with the returning Turned Aside. I thought Linda Rice gave this horse a really solid foundation last year, running him 5 times in a span of just 82 days. His only poor performance came in the Atlantic Beach when he was forced to chase the pace while racing off the rail on a day when the inside path was best. Yet he rebounded nicely in his juvenile finale, drawing off to beat an overmatched group with style. He’s quick away from the gate, but he doesn’t need the early lead, so he should sit a perfect stalking trip. Linda Rice doesn’t have the greatest statistics off layoffs, but she has put a stiff series of 5-furlong workouts into this horse, so he should be ready for a top effort.

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