Friday TimeformUS Highlight Horse: A Bit o’Irish Sass should benefit from debut experience

Belmont | Race 3 | Post Time 1:28 p.m. (ET) | Go to the TimeformUS PPs 
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It’s worth watching the tote board to see if any of the first time starters are live, but I think the two fillies with dirt experience are the ones to beat. La Urbana (#5) may go favored after showing speed in her debut. This daughter of excellent juvenile sire Into Mischief broke like a rocket and contested an honest pace for 5 furlongs before fading in deep stretch. She has to negotiate an extra half-furlong this time. While some will assume that Steve Asmussen always improves his second time starters, this barn is just is 4 for 29 (14%, $1.12 ROI) with maiden second time starters in dirt sprints at Belmont and Aqueduct over the past years. I’m using her prominently, but I prefer her main rival.

A BIT O’IRISH SASS (#1) was dismissed at 12-1 in that same race La Urbana exits. She broke about a length slowly and settled towards the back of the pack early. She then launched a sustained rally on the far turn and continued to make up ground into the lane, finishing best of the also-rans despite hanging on her wrong lead. That’s been a somewhat productive affair, as third-place Blame It On Mary returned to finish third in a stakes with an 89 TimeformUS Speed Figure, and 9th-place Stay Home Mama beat claimers next time out with a 58. She figures to benefit from that experience, and the extra half-furlong should help.

Among those first time starters, I’m actually most intrigued by Vallarand (#3), who may be a higher price. This daughter of excellent debut sire Maclean’s Music has some turf pedigree on the dam’s side, but her workouts look fast and it may be meaningful that this barn has reached out to Jose Ortiz.

THE PLAY

Win: 1
Exacta: 1 with 3,5,6,7
Trifecta: 1 with 3,5 with 3,5,6,7

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