Belmont Horses in Focus for Friday, October 2

RACE 3: RISKY MISCHIEF (#2)

Speightstown Gal is arguably the horse to beat as she makes her third attempt at this N2X allowance condition after picking up minor awards in similar spots at Saratoga. While she ran well in both of those races, I thought she had pretty good trips with chances to win at the eighth pole each time and just couldn’t seal the deal. She forged her way to the lead in mid-stretch last time and just couldn’t fend off late challenges from closers Lead Guitar and Fetching. While the speed figures for that race came back relatively slow, those top two finishers have run well out of that race. Lead Guitar returned to win with a 108 TimeformUS Speed Figure and Fetching finished a good second against tougher company with a 102. I’m using her, but I’m more interested in one of the runners stepping up from the N1X level. Risky Mischief won her first-level allowance condition in her turf debut last time, rallying from just off the pace to fend off a late-charging Light in the Sky. Despite not having an overwhelming turf pedigree, she appeared to really take to that surface well, kicking for home willingly once into the clear while never letting the runner-up get by her. She was flattered when Light in the Sky returned to win at that level. Furthermore, Risky Mischief should work out a great trip here, likely stalking Beaux Arts and getting first run on that foe. I think she has more upside than Speightstown Gal, and I prefer her to a late closer like Jc’s Shooting Star.

RACE 6: SCANNO (#3)

There are a couple of horses in this race who figure to attract the bulk of public support and I have my reservations about each of them. Doswell looks like a potential favorite due to his apparent pace advantage. If ridden as aggressively as last time, he’s likely to find himself alone up front given that none of his rivals, save perhaps Scanno, possess that kind of tactical speed. He won in stylish fashion and earned a respectable speed figure, so it’s reasonable to think that he can step right up and beat winners. However, I’m somewhat skeptical about this horse getting 10 furlongs. He’s not the type to relax early in his races as he tends to tug at his riders and that could make it tough for him to see out the distance. I think he’s the horse to beat, but I want an alternative if he’s a short price. Junkanoo might seem like the logical alternative based on that 111 TimeformUS Speed Figure and 94 Beyer he earned last time. However, I’m somewhat skeptical of the quality of that race. Winner Colonel Liam is obviously talented, but he was in a different league than those horses and the rest of the field all earned figures that seem a little high. This horse was returning from a 2-year layoff last time and I want to see him do it again before supporting him in a spot like this. I’m getting a little more creative with Scanno, who figures to be a square price. It took this guy 12 starts to break his maiden, but he did finally break through at Saratoga with a solid performance, and he immediately followed that up with another win against starter allowance company. This is obviously a tougher spot, but I like this horse stretching out to 1 1/4 miles. His connections said after his maiden win that they wanted to try him longer, and he’s certainly bred for it, since his dam Sara Lynx was a winner of the Grade 1 Canadian International going 1 1/2 miles. His tactical speed should play well in this field and I want a runner that’s heading in the right direction.

RACE 8: TURN OF EVENTS (#12)

Basquiat will probably win this race if he runs back to his turf debut, in which he made a solid late rally to just miss second in a race that was wired on the front end. He was also never on the rail, going 3-wide around the second turn when launching his rally. All things considered, I thought it was a fine effort for his turf debut and this is probably a weaker field than he met last time. I’m using him prominently, but there are definitely some others to consider. From a class standpoint, I suppose Irish Mias and Plot the Dots make some sense coming out of that Jersey Derby at Monmouth. That’s proven to be a solid race and Plot the Dots in particular ran pretty well that day, as he made a wide run on the second turn before flattening out. They’re both intriguing but I wanted to go in a different direction. The Pace Projector is predicting a situation favoring the runner on or near the lead, and the horse who figures to control the pace is Turn of Events. This horse doesn’t look good enough at first glance, but we need to read between the lines a little. His maiden victory at Saratoga came against claiming company but it was a solid effort, as he turned back the improving Glynn County to get the job done in decent time. After that his connections entered him three times at Saratoga in progressively tougher spots – a starter allowance, an N1X, and then the Saranac – yet scratched each time for different reasons. They ultimately shipped him to Kentucky Downs to sprint, which was just the wrong spot as he got outrun early and found plenty of trouble midway through the race. Now he’s back at an appropriate distance and one would expect improvement given the ambitious placements at Saratoga last month.

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