Belmont at the Big A Horses in Focus for Sunday, October 16


There appears to be plenty of pace in this allowance affair, which could work against potential favorite King Angelo (#6). This horse beat a decent field at Saratoga in July and did so in fast time. However, he benefited from a clear early lead and it seems unlikely he can work out the same trip this time given the presence of speeds like Ikigai (#2) and Fluid Situation (#7). The other runner who figures to take money is Gianni Lambo (#9), and I do think he’s dangerous. He has the right running style for this race, as she showed the ability close from off the pace in his return from the layoff last time. The winner of that race is quite talented, but Gianni Lambo was never a serious threat while just picking up pieces late. He’s a major player, but I don’t think he’ll be much price with Irad Ortiz retaining the mount. If I’m going to take a closer, I’d rather go for a longshot like Montatham (#8). He might look overmatched at this level at first glance, since he hasn’t officially won a starter allowance yet. However, his speed figures stack up pretty well against this field, I’m skeptical that the shorter prices will be able to produce their best form in this spot. While he was legitimately taken down two back, he ran quite well to cross the wire first that day, and I thought he put in a similarly strong performance last time as the only horse to close in a race dominated up front. Joseph Lee’s runners rarely take much money, but this horse has run well for him and should get the right setup here.


The first inclination for many in this maiden special weight will be to lean towards lightly raced runners, and there are certainly a few of those to consider. Liar’s Poker (#6) has the pedigree to be successful in a spot like this, since she’s out of 6-time turf winner Epping Forest, who was primarily a sprinter. However, this colt is by Empire Maker, so he appears to be spotted appropriately. Christophe Clement does fairly well with first time starters, but this feels like one who could take money. The two first time turfers with the best pedigrees are Sounds Spooky (#5) and Stow On the Wold (#10). The former goes out for strong connections, and should handle turf as a son of Mendelssohn out of a dam who has produced turf winners Fast N Fearious and Gambler’s Fallacy. He didn’t run that well on debut, but could benefit from that start. Stow on the Wold figures to be a much bigger price and you have to search a bit deeper for his turf breeding, as his dam hails from a strong family, being a half-sister to G1-winning European turf horse Campanaologist. I’m instead siding with experience. General Banker (#4) ran fine in his first couple of turf starts sprinting, but I thought he took a step forward when stretched out on turf two back. He was off a step slowly that day and then was always in an awkward position under Jose Gomez. He appeared to have plenty of run at the quarter pole, but had trouble working his way into the clear and ultimately finished with something left while running on through traffic. I like the addition of blinkers, and would hope that he’s more forwardly placed this time.


Lady Edith (#2) is clearly the horse to beat as she looks to inherit the favorite’s role after being bigger prices in all of her prior starts for Christophe Clement. She’s certainly earned some respect from bettors, as she’s run well against tougher company in all of her prior starts on this circuit. She was closing well into a moderate pace in the Caress two back and last time was always wide while attempting to make up ground. She may just be finding the right field here and it doesn’t hurt to get a rider switch to Joel Rosario in races like this. I do much prefer her to the other mare who could take money, Kept Waiting (#6). I thought she beat a weaker field at the optional claiming level last time and would have to step up to defeat this group. If I’m going to try to beat the favorite, I would rather look for a new face. Spun Glass (#7) has been in great form out of town, winning 3 of her last 4 starts. Those two recent stakes wins did come against weaker company, but she finished up powerfully on both occasions. She may have to overcome a lack of pace in this spot, but she’s been more forwardly placed when necessary in the past. I like the 6-furlong distance for her, and Mike Trombetta tends to bring live horses for races like this. He’s 10 for 62 (16%, $3.43 ROI) in stakes at NYRA over the past 5 years. 

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