RACE 4: RYAN’S CAT (#4)
There is no shortage of early speed in this N1X allowance affair. While the TimeformUS Pace Projector isn’t predicting a fast pace, run-off speed #2 Prisoner almost guarantees that they’ll be moving up front. That could spell trouble for others who want to be forwardly placed, particularly Reggae Music Man and Montauk Daddy. If Prisoner comes back to the field, #1 Scilly Cay is the most obvious beneficiary. He’s run well from off the pace in the past and put in a good effort in his lone prior start at this level in May 2021. The only problem is that we haven’t seen him in action in nearly a year. Chad Brown does well off 180+ layoffs in general, but he’s just 22 for 99 (22%, $1.36 ROI) off that type of break in dirt sprints. I won’t be surprised when this horse runs well, but it’s not like he’s a standout in this field. I’m going in a different direction with #4 Ryan’s Cat. He possesses the highest TimeformUS Late Pace Rating in the field, which is always a positive in potential pace meltdowns. This horse obviously hasn’t gotten back to the speed figures he achieved in early 2021, but he’s slowly been working his way back into fitness since returning from a layoff this year. I’ve liked each of his recent races more than the last, and want to give him extra credit for closing into a slow pace last time. He figures to work out the right trip here and could be sitting on another improved performance.
RACE 8: OUTBOX (#4)
I’m not trying to beat the Euros in this 2-mile Belmont Gold Cup. I made them my top two selections, though I do strongly prefer #4 Outbox of the two foreign runners in here. This British gelding has kept a busy schedule, making 16 starts last season. He also displayed some quality in a few of those races, racing close behind recent Group 1 Coronation Cup winner Hukum twice during the summer. He’s also no stranger to international travel, having finished second in Swedish Group 3 and winning a Group 1 in Qatar just within the past year. He returned from the most recent trip abroad to finish just behind BC Turf winner Yibir at Newmarket, setting the pace before getting outkicked to the wire. He clearly regressed when wheeled back in just 15 days last time, but this subsequent trip to America suggests he’s no worse for wear. While he’s gone shorter distances recently, he just missed in a 1 7/8 miles stakes early in his career, and he’s tried 2 miles on all-weather before. He travels keenly and likes to be forwardly placed, but I trust regular pilot Hollie Doyle to work out a trip for him. I have far more questions about the form lines of #1 Loft, who travels over from Germany. These connections know how to take down big races, as his trainer upset the Arc last year with Torquator Tasso. Loft obviously handles the distance, having won a German Group 2 stakes going the 2 miles last time. There were some crazy late splits posted in the replay of that race, but I’d view them with quite a bit of skepticism given that the final time was posted on screen before the horses even reached the finish line. I won’t be surprised when he runs well, but I’d want a more generous price on him than Outbox.
RACE 11: JOUSTER (#5)
This Intercontinental is among the most wide open races of the entire weekend. There’s no clear favorite and I can make a case for many runners at a variety of prices. In this situation, I typically try to do some value shopping, so I’m somewhat against the first two choices on the morning line. #4 Tobys Heart is the one horse who figures to be single-digit odds that I want to use prominently. She just shows up and runs well almost every time they sprint her on turf. She overcame a slow pace to win last time, and the 6 furlongs of this race should suit her perfectly. Looking for bigger prices, there are a couple of longshots that interest me. My top pick is #5 Jouster. There isn’t a ton of early speed signed on, and she has the ability to be much more forwardly placed than she was in the Giants Causeway last time. She got squeezed back soon after the start and found herself last in a field of 13, a disaster for a filly who does her best work on the front end. All things considered she actually closed well for sixth, leading me to believe that she has a future as a turf sprinter. I think she can be more effective with a better trip this time, and she retains Flavien Prat. I also want to use #11 Miss Majorette at an enticing price. Though she finished 3 lengths behind Miss J McKay in the License Fee, I liked the way she closed through of the pack to get second into that slow pace. She’s been improving with nearly ever start since focusing on turf sprints, and I thought she took a subtle step forward getting into Mark Casse’s barn last time. She figures to get overlooked and will be charging late if some pace materializes.