Belmont at the Big A Horses in Focus for Friday, September 30


Mail Order (#7) is the horse to beat even though she finished behind a rival that she meets again here in her last start. This Mott trainee completely blew the start last time, as she hit the gate and broke over a length slowly. To make matters worse, she then quickly rushed up to take the lead, exerting far too energy in the opening quarter. She ultimately paid the price in fading to third. This time the start isn’t as critical with her drawing the outside post position. She also should appreciate the stretch-out to 6 furlongs. That said, she is a horse who has one standout speed figure and will be a short price. I do prefer her to Mischievous Dream (#3), who just picked by second by default last time in a race that may not be as strong as the speed figures indicates. I’ve never been the biggest fan of her and believe she would have to improve. The other Clement runner also needs to take a step forward, but at least Lia Marina (#2) has significant upside. She was never going to be competitive with the talented Spendarella last time, and she was game to win that stakes two back over some horses who have since improved. She started out her career as a sprinter, so this seems like a natural spot to bring her back off the layoff. I also view it as a sign of confidence that Clement had originally entered her in the Pebbles Stakes a few weeks ago before scratching in favor of this race. Strong Odor (#4) had some trouble in her last race at Gulfstream and is another that I could use underneath in her return from the layoff.


Showemyourheels (#13) would alter the complexion of this race if she got in off the AE list, because I do think she’d be the horse to beat. She arguably ran the best race of anyone exiting that common July 28 affair at Saratoga, as she got squeezed back at the start and rallied well through traffic for fourth. Like others in here, she’s been entered a few times since then, but keeps getting stuck on the AE list. Fancypants Juliana (#2) and Moonage Daydream (#10) also ran well in that July 28 affair and can improve, but I think there are some other new faces that are a little more intriguing. Ma Mi Jo Dreams (#12) switches surfaces following a dirt debut in which she flashed brief speed and faded. Freud is obviously a strong turf influence, and the dam is a half-sister to a few multiple turf winners, including stakes-placed Amazing Anne and Deciphering Dreams, who were both sired by Freud. Furthermore, Rick Schosberg is 5 for 25 (20%, $4.58 ROI) with maiden second time starters over 5 years. My top pick is first time starter Galatrona (#4). Get Stormy isn’t the best debut influence, but he is an underrated turf sire. The dam has produced 6 winners from as many foals to race, 3 of which are turf sprint winners. The best of those is 3-time turf winner Fontanafredda, who is a three-quarter sister. H. James Bond often gives his debut runners a start, but this filly has shown some speed in the mornings feels live with Joel Rosario being tapped to ride.


I’ll be interested to see how the public approaches Make Mischief (#2), who is a real wild card in this lineup as she makes her turf debut in the 21st start of her career. If she merely transfers her dirt form to grass, she’ll be awfully tough for this group to handle. Into Mischief wins with an excellent 14% of his turf route starters, and all 4 of the dam’s other foals to race are turf winners. However, she’s going to take money off her dirt speed figures and those types are often bad bets. Marvelous Maude (#4) might be the horse to beat as she drops back in against New York-bred company. I won’t hold the last-place finish in the Flower Bowl against her, as that was Plan B once the Yaddo was rained off the turf. She’s moved forward with nearly every start, and will be tough if able to build on that open N1X victory from earlier in the Saratoga meet. I think the 9 furlongs suits her, but I don’t love the likely price as Irad Ortiz rides for Chad Brown. Finest Work (#9) finished just behind that filly when they met in that July 30 affair, but I thought she ran just as well in defeat. She had to briefly pause when attempting to rally between horses in the stretch and was finishing well late. She’s been in excellent form all year for George Weaver and seems to be handling any added distance they throw at her. I’m hoping Manny Franco can work out a stalking trip. I would also use Runaway Rumour (#7) if the price is fair. She has lost 10 races in a row since winning the first 3 starts of her career, but I thought her last race represented a significant step in the right direction. She just barely lost to Vigilante’s Way, who is superior to any runner she meets in this lineup. I also like the rider switch to Prat.

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