Belmont Horses in Focus for Friday, May 13

RACE 4: MY GAL VAL (#4)

There are some intriguing first time starters in this maiden claiming affair, including the Generazio-bred #12 Mister Chairman. However, it can’t be a good sign that this half-brother to Jaipur winner Disco Partner by Into Mischief is debuting for $40k as a 4-year-old. Some may also make a case for #9 Electrolyzer, who goes out for the dangerous Jorge Abreu barn. He picks up Irad Ortiz, but doesn’t have the most convincing turf pedigree. I generally preferred those with more experience. #11 Suit of Armor seems like the most reliable option based on his turf races for last year. He ran particularly well in that Sep. 4 maiden affair at Saratoga, and then got a wide trip in his next start at Belmont. I don’t want to read too much into his dirt form since then because that’s just not his preferred surface. However, it is reasonable to wonder whether Bonnie Lucas can get this horse back into the same form that he achieved for Brad Cox. There are some more lightly raced runners to consider at better prices. I found #1 Ableton to be somewhat interesting on the cutback in distance. He wasn’t really competitive in either turf start at Gulfstream, but his dam was a pure sprinter on grass. There are also some first time turfers to consider. #2 Be the Boss has pedigree as a half-brother to multiple turf winners Colonel Tom and Turbo Drive. My top pick is #4 My Gal Val, who switches surfaces after trying a much tougher maiden special weight event on the dirt in his career debut. He actually showed some decent speed chasing the leaders that day before fading in the stretch. He’s a half-brother to one turf winner, and looks like one that shouldn’t mind the switch to grass.

RACE 6: PRICE TALK (#4)

Tony Dutrow holds a pretty strong hand in this optional claimer, sending out two major players. The one who could go favored is #2 Buy Land and See. This 5-year-old actually ran pretty well on the main track over the winter, but seemed to appreciate the return to turf last time. He got off to an awkward start, getting squeezed back coming out of the chute, and had to use some energy after that to run up into his preferred stalking position. He struck the front in upper stretch, but just couldn’t quite hold off the classy Flop Shot. A repeat of that performance will make him tough to beat, and he should appreciate the slight cutback to a mile. Yet I prefer Dutrow’s other runner at a slightly better price. #4 Price Talk will race for a $62,500 tag, having already beaten this allowance condition last fall. He took advantage of some pace up front that day, earning a career-best 122 TimeformUS Speed Figure as he ran down the aforementioned Flop Shot. I won’t hold his Red Smith against him, since 1 3/8 miels is just too far. I was hoping to see a little more in his return from the layoff in the Danger’s Hour, but chasing wide from off the pace on that early April turf course at Aqueduct may not have been the right trip. He’s capable of better and gets reunited with winning rider Castellano. I found both of these more appealing than #3 High Tide, who is in great form right now. However, he’s gotten good trips and rides in his last two starts and is moving up in class to face a much tougher field this time. The one price horse I considered is #6 Easy Time, who should appreciate stretching back out on grass. However, he would need to produce a career-best to beat this salty field.

RACE 8: MOSIENKO (#5)

I’ve never been the biggest fan of #4 Bustin Bay, who figures to go favored here on the slight drop in class. She ran on decently to be second at the $32k level last time, but she wasn’t facing a particularly tough field. Overall I don’t think she’s really gotten back to her blowout victory in the mud over the winter at Aqueduct when she was aided by a track bias. She’s arguably the one to beat, but I would never take a short price on her. I could understand making a case for dropdown #3 She’s a Black Belt off the layoff, though I think it’s curious her connections didn’t find a spot where she could be in for a claiming waiver. #2 Sweet Mia also has a race or two that puts her in the mix, but I think she’ll be overbet with Joel Rosario climbing aboard. I was most interested in the two mares drawn outside who are both turning back from a mile. #6 Shadolamo was my pick at 14-1 that day and I thought she ran a gallant race to just miss. She’s probably best going a bit farther than today’s 6 1/2 furlongs, but she’s versatile enough to come from off the pace. She also never takes any money despite putting up competitive figures. My top pick is #5 Mosienko, who I think will really benefit from this turnback in distance. A mile is just too far for her, but she actually made some decent progress coming past the quarter pole last time before flattening out. Prior to that she had faced some tougher fields at the state-bred N2X condition, which obscures her otherwise good form. She typically shows up when she’s spotted appropriately, and will be a price due to the low-profile connections.

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