Thursday TimeformUS Highlight Horse: Scocciatore finally concentrating on dirt

Belmont | Race 3 | Post Time 1:41 p.m. (ET) | Go to the TimeformUS PPs | Not already a TimeformUS member? Sign up 

The likely short prices in this N1X allowance event aren’t exactly trustworthy. Perhaps the public goes for Mahaamel (#5) one more time, but he’s pretty hard to endorse off his dull effort last time. This colt seemed so full of promise at the start of his career, but his form has steadily declined ever since that maiden victory back in June. He’s obviously a contender if he can get back to any of his first four races, but I don’t like when runners for this barn appear to be in decline. 

Perfect Munnings (#6) is arguably even more of a puzzle as he goes out for the same trainer. He’s a major player here off his impressive victory over New York-breds two back at Saratoga. However, it seemed strange that they went back to turf last time and he was absolutely dreadful as the 4-5 favorite. He’s probably getting back on his preferred surface now, but it’s hard to have any confidence in him. I prefer others. 

Wudda U Think Now (#1) seems like a logical alternative. He didn’t run a step last time in the John Morrissey, but he was racing over a sloppy track and coming back on just 12 days’ rest. He’s since had a brief layoff and can certainly win this race if he bounces back into form. 

My top pick at a bigger price is SCOCCIATORE (#7). This horse has been campaigned on turf for the majority of his career, but there’s an argument that the two best races he’s ever run have come on the dirt. That dirt loss against claiming company in the summer of 2020 was an underrated effort, as he survived a fast pace to be second. And when he got back on the main track two back at Saratoga, he absolutely demolished a field by 9 lengths. He did benefit from a slow pace going that quirky 5 1/2-furlong distance, but the runner-up came back to validate that form in his next start. The Chris Englehart barn is always dangerous going turf to dirt, and I like this rider switch to Jose Ortiz.

THE PLAY

Win: 7

Exacta Key Box: 7 with 1,3,5,6

Trifecta: 1,7 with 1,7 with 3,4,5,6

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