RACE 4: BELLAMY DOLCE (#8)
Super Silver clearly sports form that is superior to this field, but there are many questions surrounding this gelding as he returns from a 462-day layoff and drops in for a $16k tag. This is a significantly negative drop for a horse who had actually been training well out of his last start before getting laid up for the better part of a year. I don’t like to make too much of workout times, but Super Silver is a horse who has known for achieving fast workout times when he was in form during 2019 and 2020, and his works for this return have been fairly pedestrian. I’m going to let him beat me at a short price. Some may turn to My Sacred Place as the primary alternative, but this horse also seems unreliable. He ran his best dirt races for Jason Servis, and his lone start last year for the Brad Cox barn, albeit on turf, was fairly poor. Perhaps he wakes up for the Brittany Russell barn, but I prefer others. I’m most interested in some 3-year-olds with upside. My top pick is the other Bruce Levine trainee Bellamy Dolce. This colt notably attracts the services of Kendrick Carmouche, who hops off Super Silver to ride this less accomplished rival instead. He didn’t run a particularly fast race when he broke his maiden two back, but he improved against winners last time, finishing third at this distance. Horses have come back out of that race to run decently, and I think this son of Bellamy Road has further upside. I would also use Patty O’Marc, who is another young horse with a right to step forward. He showed absolutely nothing in his first couple of starts, but improved in the slop last time, rallying boldly down the center of the track to win going away. He seems like one that is just starting to figure the game out, and he gets a positive rider switch to Jose Ortiz.
RACE 5: PARADE FIELD (#12)
I’m not going to waste time handicapping this race for turf since the chances it stays on that surface are negligible. It actually is a pretty interesting race on the dirt, since there are a few horses entered for turf who actually possess superior dirt form. Among those that could take money is First Line, who was entered for turf but would probably be happy if this race comes off. He’s generally excelled against cheaper company in recent starts, and his improvement over his last couple of starts has mirrored the trend in the Orlando Noda barn’s performance. That said, he’s claimed by a sharp trainer in Mike Maker and handles a wet track. The problem is that he’s part of a coupled entry with a Main Track Only entrant and could get overbet. Indian Counselor also makes sense based on his recent dirt form. He had been running so well on that surface that you almost wonder if Mertkan Kantarmaci entered him here anticipating that the race would come off the grass. He’ll be on my tickets, but I went to another dirt runner for my top pick. Parade Field has yet to win on the NYRA circuit despite running well in all of his starts here, but I think he could finally break through on this occasion. He was no match for a freakish performance from Dust Devil in the slop two back, and last time he was always out of position, caught in behind horses in upper stretch before rallying late. He was also facing a tougher field that day despite that being a claiming race and this a starter allowance. As long as the trip works out this time, I think he’ll be tough to hold off.
RACE 6: MO HEAT (#3)
Core Curriculum seems like the kind of horse that will wind up favored by default in this spot. He hasn’t run particularly well in either start, but he is dropping in class for a dangerous barn and attracts the services of Irad Ortiz. That wasn’t the toughest maiden special weight field that he encountered in his debut and he never lifted a hoof on the turf last time. Perhaps he’s finally dropping to the right level, but I don’t need him at a short price. I prefer two runners drawn to the inside. Enroule makes sense based on his debut effort, in which he chased some superior horses. He did cross the wire last, but he was hitting his best stride at the end of that race and earned a decent speed figure for his effort. This son of Wood Memorial runner-up Tencendur is probably getting back on the right surface. My top pick is another lightly-raced colt dropping in class. Mo Heat made one start at Saratoga last summer, and was uncompetitive in a fast maiden special weight heat. The result was poor, but he showed decent tactical speed and only really lost interest after getting spun out wide coming around the far turn. This son of Outwork out of the great sprinter Xtra Heat is actually better bred for dirt than turf, so he could be getting on the right surface this time. Furthermore, George Weaver has excellent statistics with this move. Over the past 5 years, Weaver is 8 for 24 (33%, $2.75 ROI) with second-time starting maidens going from turf to dirt, and within that sample he is 4 for 8 (50%, $3.01 ROI) with maiden special weight to maiden claiming dropdowns.