Belmont Horses in Focus for Friday, November 5

RACE 4: PURE PANIC (#7)

Biz Biz Buzz is a deserving favorite in this Atlantic Beach after running on well for third against a tougher group in the Grade 3 Futurity last time. Winner Slipstream figures to attract some support in the Breeders’ Cup and Biz Biz Buzz wasn’t that far behind him last time over this same course and distance. The only concern is his lack of early speed, since he does seem like the confirmed closer in a race where others possess more tactical speed. I’m not against him, but I do think there are some interesting alternatives at better prices. Doctor Jeff has to prove that he can handle this surface after running around the track in last in the Grade 2 Pilgrim. It was curious to see him get such a conservative ride that day, but perhaps he’ll be more effective over this sprint distance. I prefer Pure Panic as the possible upsetter. This Mike Maker trainee was visually impressive in his debut at Ellis Park and then ran a game race on the wrong surface at Saratoga. I won’t hold his Nownownow debacle against him, since he got involved in a wicked early pace that collapsed. I thought he rebounded nicely last time in the Indian Summer, hitting his best stride too late behind the talented Averly Jane. Six furlongs should be more suitable to his running style and I don’t think we’ve yet seen the best of this grey colt.

RACE 5: TAPIZEARANCE (#5)

This $12,500 claimer seems totally wide open, as you can make a reasonable case for all 8 entrants. I want to steer clear of the likely favorites, including Dark Money and Win With Pride. The former makes his first start off the claim for Linda Rice, but he’s been heading in the wrong direction recently regardless of whose barn he’s been in. Linda Rice is a solid 11 for 25 (44%, $1.89 ROI) first off the claim with horses dropping in price tag by 50% or more, but I’m still skeptical of this gelding at a relatively short price. Win With Pride has speed figures that suggest he’s among the top contenders, but I didn’t like his effort last time when checking in a dull fourth out of 5 runners. I’m more interested in horses coming from different directions. Ragtime Blues is one to consider as he drops out of some much tougher spots. It’s possible that his form has just completely fallen apart, but it wasn’t that long ago that he was running vastly superior speed figures over sprint distances. I would also give a look to Karen’s Cove off the claim by Tom Morley and Flying P Stable. This horse’s recent form looks pretty cheap, but he got off to a very rough start last time before rushing up to chase the pace. He figures to do better for these connections. My top pick is Linda Rice’s other horse Tapizearance. This gelding ran quite well in that same race that Karen’s Cove exits, as he was contesting that honest pace and held on well for second. He was ambitiously spotted for Linda Rice last time when trying tougher allowance foes. Yet he also ran better than it seems that day, as he was wide against a rail bias. Now he’s dropping back down to a realistic level while returning on short rest. Notably, Linda Rice is 9 for 24 (38%, $2.44 ROI) second off the claim with horses running back in 1 to 12 days. 

RACE 7: DAUNT (#3)

Royal Spirit seems like a legitimate favorite as he targets this Awad after failing to draw into the field of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf. Though still a maiden, he’s run well in both career starts. He ran like one who needed the experience in his debut, and he was more professional with blinkers added last time at Monmouth. He got a favorable pace setup in that Nownownow, but he still ran on gamely behind the talented Dakota Gold while finishing some 6 lengths clear of the remaining runners. The 99 TimeformUS Speed Figure that he earned for that effort is solid, but there are some other similarly fast runners in this race who also have plenty of upside. One of those is second time starter General Ken. This colt was quite the secret in his debut, as he won at odds of 28-1. That result was never in doubt as he spurted clear in the early going and won by over 7 lengths. It’s unclear if he was beating anything of quality in that spot, but some sharp connections thought enough to privately purchase him out of that victory and turn him over to Chad Brown. He’s worked well recently in company with Breeders’ Cup-bound Portfolio Company. I’d use both of them, but I’m most interested in Daunt at a better price. This horse was in the same race as Royal Spirit when they each made their debuts at Saratoga, and he arguably ran just as well. He was closing into a slow pace that day and hit his best stride late to get up for fifth. He still didn’t get much respect off that effort in his second start, getting dismissed at 7-1. Yet he ran a much more professional race, traveling well into contention on the far turn before finding a seam through traffic to make his move in the stretch. This son of Nyquist is bred to be a very good turf runner, and I don’t think we’ve yet seen the extent of his true potential. He’s also guaranteed to be a much better price than the two favorites given the lack of tote support runners from this barn usually receive.

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