RACE 2: LOVE’S MISERY (#3)
#8 Translate is likely to go favored here based on her recent California form, but she’s often an underlay. She’s gone favored in 8 of her last 9 starts and has just 2 wins to show for it. She’s also a horse who has done her best running out West. She failed to translate her strong Santa Anita form from the winter of 2021 to New York when she competed here in the summer of last year. I’m concerned that we could see a similar pattern play out here, and I don’t think her current form is even as strong as it was last season. There are some other class droppers to consider in here, such as #4 Weekend Fun and #5 Inajiffy. I thought the former got carried along a little bit by a relatively slow pace, and she was never really a threat to those tougher horses. You could say the same about Inajiffy last time, but at least she has back races that make her competitive in here. With her, the major concern is that she lacks early speed and there isn’t much pace in this race. For that reason, I want to try to wire the field with #3 Love’s Misery. She was a dominant winner switching back to turf earlier this spring at Aqueduct, albeit against a very weak field. She regressed against tougher last time, but I’m not sure that she was suited by the stretch-out in distance. She also was involved in a deceptively quick pace the fell apart. She’s sprinted effectively on dirt, so I don’t mind this turnback to 6 furlongs on the grass, especially since she looks like the controlling speed.
RACE 7: DOMINICAN PIONEER (#4)
There’s no doubt that #5 Highly Respected is the horse to beat in this spot, but horses from the Chad Brown barn are getting consistently overbet at Belmont, which is understandable given his outstanding record so far at this meet. He’s a likely winner, but I could see him dipping into odds-on territory, and I don’t think that’s fair value on this horse in what is a pretty competitive allowance race. He ran well to just miss in the G3 Bay Shore last time, as it appeared he had made the winning move at the quarter pole before getting nailed by Wit. He has to stretch out an extra furlong here, and a few of his rivals aren’t exactly slouches. #2 Galt, the full-brother to Songbird, is getting significant class relief after running in a few Derby preps. He wasn’t disgraced finishing fourth in the Holy Bull, and last time you can’t fault him for not hanging with Epicenter, who is one of the best 3-year-olds in the land. Some may also consider #9 Varatti, though I wasn’t thrilled with his return at Keeneland. He lacked the early speed that he displayed on debut, having to be hard-ridden into the race while no match for a surprising runaway winner. I’m interested in a different Kentucky shipper. #4 Dominican Pioneeronly earned a 103 TimeformUS Speed Figure in his debut score, which is 11 points lower than the best number the favorite has achived. However, I was really impressed with the way this Wesley Ward trainee dispatched of his competition. He always appeared to be traveling well while contesting the pace and seemed to keep finding more when put to mild pressure through the stretch, hitting his best stride just as they came under the wire. He’s bred to stretch out, being by Pioneerof the Nile and a half-brother to multiple turf stakes winner Chocolate Ride. I expect John Velazquez to send him to the front here, and I won’t be surprised when he proves tough to catch.
RACE 8: Q F SEVENTY FIVE (#10)
I suppose #3 Conquer the World is the horse to beat in this N1X allowance affair. He’s run pretty well in all of his turf starts, running slightly higher speed figures each time. I liked the way he drew away to break his maiden at Aqueduct last fall, and he was finishing well in his return to grass last time after a wide trip. The slightly longer distance of this race should benefit him, and he’s drawn an advantageous inside post position. A few of his main rivals exit a race at this level from May 6 won by High Tide, but I wasn’t particularly thrilled with any of them. I wanted to go in some other directions. My top pick is #10 Q F Seventy Five. I don’t love the outside post position, but he’s supposed to be the controlling speed of this field. He was a visually impressive maiden winner two back at Gulfstream, sprinting away after dominating the race on the front end. He tried to pull off a similar feat at Churchill Downs last time, but that turf course may have worked against him. You didn’t want to be inside on the Churchill turf on Oaks/Derby weekend, and he rode the rail the entire way before fading late. I think he’ll be pretty dangerous with a similar trip this time for a hot barn. The other horse that I’d want to use at a much bigger price is #5 Gussy Mac. I know his overall form looks pretty spotty, but he ran well going a similar distance at Aqueduct last fall in the Gio Ponti when getting up for third behind Grade 1 placed Never Surprised. I wouldn’t put too much stock in either of his races since then, since one of those came on dirt, and another was over a non-traditional racecourse. He also ran deceptively well in some races last year, but was hindered by running at the wrong distances or getting bad trips. He has talent and figures to get somewhat overlooked in this spot.