Belmont at the Big A | Race 1 | Post Time 12:35 p.m. (ET) | Go to the TimeformUS PPs | Not already a TimeformUS member? Sign up
I expect Chulligan (#2) to attract plenty of support as he makes his second start. This $825k son of Justify is out of the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint winner Bar of Gold, so he’s obviously bred to be a good one. However, he looked very much like a work in progress on debut at Saratoga. He didn’t seem to be engaged early in the race when dropping to the back of the pack, and only got involved until the very late stages. However, that was a race that featured a strong pace, so he was basically picking up pieces at the end. He has a right to improve on the stretch-out to a mile, but I’m not keen to pick him at a short price. I’m more interested in runners coming out of a different race.
Atlanta’s Acuna (#4) took plenty of money when he made his debut late in the Saratoga meet, but also ran a like a horse who needed the race. He broke a step slowly, rushed up to chase the pace, and then hung on his left lead while lugging in through the stretch. He strikes me as one that will improve with added ground, though I could also see him preferring turf eventually.
My top pick is MR. MARLIN (#6). He finished behind Atlanta’s Acuna in that Sep. 5 affair, but he didn’t seem to put forth his best effort that day. Breaking from the rail, he just never looked to be traveling comfortably, reacting badly to kickback at a few points. We saw something similar in his debut when he dropped back on the turn before rallying strongly when angled into the clear for the stretch drive. Given that tendency to resent kickback, I like the outside post position for him. He also seems like one that should appreciate the stretch-out to a mile.
WIN: #6 Mr. Marlin, at 7-2 or greater