Friday TimeformUS Highlight Horse: Turnback should suit Sweet Melania in the License Fee

Belmont | Race 9 | Post Time 5:05 p.m. (ET) | Go to the TimeformUS PPs | Not already a TimeformUS member? Sign up 

I’ll be interested to see how the public bets this race, because I wouldn’t want to accept too short a price on my pick, though I do believe she’s the horse to beat. 

SWEET MELANIA (#9) is the type of runner I would typically look to avoid, especially as a favorite. She’s done her best work going two turns on turf and now she’s attempting to translate that route success into a turf sprint. The move doesn’t work that often, but I actually think she’s a perfect candidate for a turnback. She possesses plenty of tactical speed and she has a habit of getting leg weary in the last furlong of her route races beyond a mile. She handled one turn when she impressively won the Wonder Again last summer, and she has a pedigree that suggests shorter distances should suit her. She’s by 15% turf sprint sire American Pharoah out of a dam who was a precocious sprinter early in her career. She’s also been successful coming from off the pace, so I’m not worried about her getting a little outrun in the early stages. She’s my top pick, but I respect the other fillies likely to attract support here. 

Lady Lawyer (#3) obviously needs to rebound from a poor effort last time, but I think sprinting is a more natural fit for her. She’s training well for her return and this barn has been sending out nothing but live runners on the turf in New York. I also think She’s My Type (#5) is dangerous off the layoff for Christophe Clement. She displayed a nice turn of foot in that Coronation Cup victory last year, and I won’t hold her poor effort at Kentucky Downs against her. I respect both of these alternatives, but I just think Sweet Melania has a bit more upside as she shortens up in distance.

THE PLAY

Win: 9

Exacta Key Box: 9 with 3,5,7

Trifecta: 9 with 3,5 with 1,3,5,7,8,10

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