Belmont Horses in Focus for Friday, October 9


Bastet has simply run better than her rivals in this race in almost all of her prior starts, and she’s now dropping in for a tag for the first time. She’s clearly the horse to beat, but I’m getting a little tired of her act. She always threatens to run well and just doesn’t seem to have any punch in the late stages of her races. Perhaps facing softer company will allow her to shine, but I didn’t think she ran any better than today’s rival Ballerina Showgirl when they last faced on August 26. That Linda Rice filly was making her first start in this country and returning from a lengthy layoff, so it’s reasonable to assume that she’s the one who could take a step forward out of that race. I don’t love her either, but I think she’s a better gamble than Bastet at a more generous price. I want to go in a different direction. My top pick is the first time turfer Buyer’s Remorse. This filly has the speed to make the lead in a race that doesn’t feature a confirmed front-runner, and she also figures to appreciate the drop in class. Turf is the major question mark, but she has the pedigree to handle it, as she’s by 12% turf sire Liam’s Map out of a dam who produced 3 turf winners from 4 foals to try this surface. Doug O’Neill is 7 for 40 (18%, $4.07 ROI) with maidens trying turf for the first time in sprints over the past 5 years.


The two favorites exit the same race won by Klickitat, who returned to just miss against a tougher optional claiming field in his subsequent start. Microsecond was the runner-up that day after setting the pace. He got away with a pretty soft opening quarter before he and the eventual winner picked up the pace midway through the race. He ran well enough to be second, but I didn’t think his effort was superior to that of Good Old Boy, who also returns in this spot. Good Old Boy was hindered by the slow early portion of that race and did well to close as well as he did in the late stages in a race where no one else made up that kind of ground from the back of the pack. This time Microsecond could find himself in a more difficult position with the likes of Kampai and Stanhope likely to pressure him on the front end. I think Good Old Boy is the more appealing of these two, but I prefer another horse out of that September 5 affair. Point Him Out really never had a chance that day as he got squeezed back to last out of the gate and was rank at the back of the pack. Perhaps he’s just gone the wrong way since making such a promising start to his career. However, I’m willing to give him a pass for his last effort and his prior two starts against allowance company put him in the mix. Furthermore, I suspect that the removal of blinkers could help him, since he seemed to get too keen after they were applied, whereas he was more professional without them in his career debut.  


The two fillies likely to attract the bulk of public support are Bacchanalia and Sorrentina Lemon, and for good reason. The former would be difficult for this field to handle if able to run back to her most recent start at Gulfstream. She was probably best that day when just missing to the talented Silver Kitten after getting a wide trip behind a slow pace. The problem is that Bacchanalia hasn’t been seen for over 6 months since then. She’s successfully returned from long layoffs before, but she did run her best race last time after she had a start under her belt. I’m using her prominently, but I prefer her main rival Sorrentina Lemon for a couple of reasons. Sorrentina Lemon seems like a filly who still has room to improve in just her fifth career start. She showed promise right from the start of her career, but has had trouble putting races back-to-back. Therefore, I think it’s a good sign that Christophe Clement is finally able to run her back just 4 weeks after her return at Kentucky Downs last time. She ran an excellent race that day but just fell a little short. If she can get back into the form that we saw out of her in the Winter Memories last year she’ll be tough to beat. Furthermore, she may possess a tactical advantage over her main rival in a paceless race. I also wouldn’t completely discount Bramble Queen. This 9-time winning mare is a real overachiever and just seems to always show up with a solid effort. She showed that she could compete against good horses in the Ballston Spa over the summer and was just unfortunate to catch a loose-on-the-lead Xenobia at Monmouth last time.

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