Belmont at the Big A Horses in Focus for Friday, September 23


Dame Cinco (#6) figures to go favored here as she makes her first start off the claim for Jose Camejo, who is 15 for 46 (33%, $2.89 ROI) with that move over the past 5 years. She earned a strong speed figure last time, but I didn’t love the way she was drifting through the stretch while beating an inferior group. It’s unclear if she’s as proficient sprinting as she is going longer, and there is plenty of other speed signed on. One of her main rivals is Beautiful Karen (#7), who is getting significant class relief after facing a better group of New York-bred allowance foes last time. She ran poorly in her return from the layoff, but was compromised by a stumbling start. I won’t be surprised if she fares better against this softer field for a barn that has been firing lately. My top pick is Boss Cara (#2). She also comes off a poor effort, but was badly overmatched in that open N1X allowance condition. Now she’s dropping to a realistic spot, and there’s plenty of speed signed on to set up her late run. She earned competitive speed figures against tougher company two and three back, and should be charging late if Eric Cancel can work out a trip. The price also figures to be fair given the low-profile connections.


There is definitely some speed signed on in this New York-bred optional claimer, which certainly doesn’t hurt the chances of likely favorite Who Hoo Thats Me (#1). He seems pretty logical off his runner-up finish at this level last time, but his form is pretty exposed at this point and I’m not sure the cutback to 6 furlongs necessarily helps him. He’s somewhere in my play, but I thought others might offer better value. The two fastest early pace types in this race are drawn just outside of him. Excellent Timing (#3) held on pretty well for third behind the favorite last time, but this time he has to deal with Foolish Ghost (#2) on the front end. That Rudy Rodriguez trainee seems like a threat to wire the field. He battled on gamely last time against tougher company despite getting outrun to the lead by a classy foe. He figures to be aggressively handled from the inside and may be heading back in the right direction after a slump. Majority Partner (#6) also figures to be forwardly placed, but at least he’s drawn towards the outside. He was even more dominant than the 5-length margin would indicate last time when beating N1X foes, as he contested a very fast pace before opening up on the field. He’s moving up in class, but is in great form right now. The closer that I find most interesting is Big Engine (#8). His recent form has been a little spotty, but he showed signs of life last time, closing resolutely behind a pair of classy claiming foes. He had to put in a sub-24 final quarter to get up for third that day in what was the best performance he’s put forth since winning a race here last February. He might be turning things around for a barn that looks like it’s waking up from its Spa slump. Trevor McCarthy has ridden him well in the past and retains the mount.


Chad Brown trainee Orchestration (#7) is the one to beat as he makes his second start off the layoff. He was finishing well at this level last time and I’ve always thought he was one that would appreciate this kind of stretch-out in distance. He’s very logical, but I doubt he’ll be much of a price for these connections. He only finished a nose in front of today’s rival Shawdyshawdyshawdy (#8) when they met on July 30. He did validate his improved form last time when running on well for second behind a gate-to-wire winner. However, the added ground is a new obstacle. There are a few 3-year-olds in this field stepping up to face older rivals, and I think a couple of them merit strong consideration. My top pick is the longshot Constitutionlawyer (#5). This colt showed some affinity for turf when staying on for third in his first attempt on grass in July. He got a good ground-saving trip that day, but was finishing well at the end. The result wasn’t as positive last time, but he simply got the wrong trip that day. He became rank in the early stages and was forced to race extremely wide around both turns during a time when the rail was the best place to be on the inner course. He’s better than he looks and doesn’t give the impression that added distance will be a problem. Analogy (#10) is another 3-year-old who was compromised by a wide trip on the inner course at Saratoga last time. He has some prior races that put him in the mix, and I won’t be surprised to see a change of tactics to a more aggressive style with Flavien Prat climbing aboard.

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