Sunday TimeformUS Highlight Horse: Byself has a class edge over her rivals

Belmont Park | Race 7 | Post Time 4:46 p.m. (ET) | Go to the TimeformUS PPs
Not already a TimeformUS member? Sign up 

Byself and Fair Regis figure to vie for favoritism in this spot. At first glance, it appears that Fair Regis is faster, but I actually prefer Byself in this race if they are indeed similar prices.

BYSELF (#1) ran deceptively well last time. She broke with the field but Jose Ortiz did not ride her for position and she ended up getting shuffled back to last in the first quarter mile. Considering that she had never run from that position before, I thought she actually ran well to make a mid-race move and reach contention at the top of the stretch. From there she just couldn’t quite get to Satisfy, who had worked out a perfect trip, but she nevertheless gamely chased her all the way to the wire while creating plenty of separation behind her.

Byself

This time Byself figures to slot into a better trip just in behind Noble Freud, as there is less speed in this field. She’s been unfortunately to face horses as talented as Hay Field and Satsify in her two prior starts at this level and I think she’s ready to break through here.

Fair Regis (#2) is as consistent as they come, but she’s been facing slightly weaker company in her recent starts. Her last race earned a fast speed figure, but horses like Out of Orbit and Starlite Mission would not be very formidable in this race. Noble Freud is also a danger on the front end, but I worry about her getting the 7-furlong distance.

THE PLAY

 Win: 1
Exacta: 1 with 2,3,5
Trifecta: 1 with 2 with 3,4,5,7

Posted in Race Previews | Leave a comment

Belmont Park Horses in Focus for Sunday, October 14th

Race 1: American Rule (#6)

Seemed to improve last time for Gary Contessa, who has been enjoying a fantastic Belmont meet.

The Pace Projector is predicting that he will be forwardly placed in a race that doesn’t feature much quality speed.

Is a half-brother to talented turf horse Markitoff and his dam is a half-sister to 4 turf stakes winners.

6-1 on ML

Race 7: Byself (#1)

Did not get an ideal trip last time as she got shuffled back early and raced out of position through the first quarter mile.

Projects to sit a good stalking trip just in behind likely speed Noble Freud.

Is getting some subtle class relief after facing tougher rivals in her last two starts at this level.

2-1 on ML

Race 8: Just Howard (#8)

Handles wet turf courses very well.

Possesses the tactical speed to work out the right trip sitting just off Hello Don Julio.

Proved that he belongs here when finishing a close fifth in the Arlington Handicap earlier this year.

6-1 on ML​

Posted in Race Previews | Leave a comment

Saturday TimeformUS Highlight Horse: Fear No Evil benefits from scratches and rain in the Floral Park

Belmont Park | Race 8 | Post Time 4:43 p.m. (ET) | Go to the TimeformUS PPs
Not already a TimeformUS member? Sign up

This race was significantly affected by scratches. Lady Alexandra is scheduled to run at Woodbine instead, and Lull is not participating on yielding turf. With both of these favorites out, this race becomes totally wide-open, and I think it’s wise to go shopping for a price.

Tillie’s Lily (#6) probably will inherit the role of public choice as she seeks to get back on track after a disappointing stakes debut in the Smart N Fancy. She did not handle the hubbub of Saratoga prior to that start and may have expended too much energy prior to the race. I think she’s a contender, but she has yet to prove that she’s actually faster than a number of rivals who will go off at better prices.

Out of that Smart N Fancy, I’m actually more interested in Battle Joined (#8), who had to alter her preferred style when she did break sharply. She got a decent trip thereafter, but I thought she was closing well late in a race where few horses changed position. She’s definitely a part of my play, but I want to focus on a horse exiting the Sensible Lady Turf Dash at Laurel.

Fire Key (#5) finally got back to her winning ways with a nose victory, but she did so with the benefit of a perfect trip. That race featured a fast pace that totally fell apart and was dominated by horses making outside runs.

Of the closers, I thought FEAR NO EVIL (#11) actually ran the best race. She was racing closer to the pace than Fire Key, and her rider appeared to be caught off guard when that one made the first move. Fear No Evil had to wait and duck inside to make her run in the final eighth of a mile. She was actually moving best of all at the end and may have won under different circumstances. This filly improved significantly throughout the spring and summer, and I appreciate that she’s shown improved early speed in many of those starts. She handles some give in the ground, and she’s going to be a square price once again.

THE PLAY

Win: 11
Exacta Key Box: 11 with 2,5,6,8
Trifecta: 11 with 6,8 with 2,5,6,8,12​

Posted in Race Previews | Leave a comment

Belmont Park Horses in Focus for Saturday, October 13

Race 3: Bernardino (#6)

  • Had worked well prior to his debut and ran better than his final finishing position suggests.
  • Despite being up against a slow pace, he ran the fastest final quarter mile of all in his debut after getting held up early.
  • Is bred to be a decent turf horse as a half-brother to turf winners Manofffire and Given Fire.

4-1 on ML

———

Race 8: Fear No Evil (#11)

  • Is in the best form of her career right now after showing improvement through the summer months.
  • May have been best last time after racing closer to the pace than the top two and getting surprised by the winner’s early move.
  • Handles give in the ground and has run well at Belmont in the past.

12-1 on ML

———

Race 9: Victorine (#8)

  • The TimeformUS Pace Projector is predicting that she will get a fast pace to close into.
  • Ran better than it appears in the Sands Point after making a wide, uncovered move into contention on the far turn.
  • Switches into the hot Christophe Clement barn and adds Lasix for the first time.

6-1 on ML​

Posted in Race Previews | Leave a comment

Friday TimeformUS Highlight Horse: Regalian is in the best form of his career

Belmont Park | Race 5 | Post Time 3:41 p.m. (ET) | Go to the TimeformUS PPs 
Not already a TimeformUS member? Sign up 

This race is totally wide-open, as you have several horses with solid résumés converging from a multitude of directions. You’re Killin Me (#2) may go off as the slight favorite after beating allowance company at Laurel last time out. He was pretty game to win that race after squeezing through a tight spot in mid-stretch. This horse was unsuccessful in two starts in New York, but both of those efforts came against slightly tougher company than this. He’s generally been a consistent sort, and any residual moisture in the surface should only enhance his chances of victory. I’m using him, but there are many others to consider.

California Night (#1) faced tougher company when last seen this spring, but the prospect of a wet track could be troublesome for him. Reed Kan (#4) may be fastest of all in the early stages, and the Pace Projector is predicting that he will encounter a favorable pace scenario on the front end. However, he beat a pretty weak field at Monmouth on Aug. 16, and he’s going to take money in here merely due to the fact that Jason Servis is his trainer.

Regalian

I want to bet REGALIAN (#5). He actually ran on the same day at Laurel as You’re Killin Me in another division of that N1X allowance race. It’s pretty clear that Regalian participated in the tougher division, as winner Mesotherm is a pretty talented sprinter. Regalian broke sharply that day but got shuffled back through the opening furlongs, eventually finding himself at the back of the pack heading into the far turn. Considering the overall race flow, he actually did well to rally for second. His overall form on wet tracks is somewhat spotty, but he handled it well in the Jerome earlier this year and put in a career-best effort to win by six lengths in the mud at Saratoga two back. If he holds his current form for Tom Morley, I think he’s a top win candidate in this race.

THE PLAY 

Win: 5
Exacta Key Box: 5 with 1,2,3,4

Posted in Race Previews | Leave a comment

Belmont Park Horses in Focus for Friday, October 12

Race 2: Okeamo (#8)

  • Is getting serious class relief as he drops in for a tag for the first time.
  • The pair of 97 TimeformUS Speed Figures that he has earned in his last two starts tower over this field.
  • Has been losing ground late in his last two races, so he should appreciate the turnback in distance.

7-5 on ML

———

Race 5: Regalian (#5)

  • Ran well to be second behind a superior rival at Laurel last time after getting shuffled back in the early going.
  • Handles moisture in the surface, which is likely following expected Thursday night rain.
  • Four Freedoms, who he beat two back, returned to win next time out while improving his TimeformUS Speed Figure by 13 points.

3-1 on ML​

Posted in Race Previews | Leave a comment

Thursday TimeformUS Highlight Horse: Well-bred Dearly Declared looks primed for her debut

Belmont Park | Race 6 | Post Time 4:14 p.m. (ET) | Go to the TimeformUS PPs 
Not already a TimeformUS member? Sign up 

Midnitesalright (#5) can certainly win here, but she’s going to be the favorite after already having had a few chances. Horses that are as precocious as her usually don’t continue progressing into the fall of their juvenile seasons, so I think it’s unwise to lean on her in this spot.

Call It a Truce (#6) ran well within the context of her Sep. 15 debut, as she made a wide move around the far turn and into the lane on a day when you wanted to be on the rail. She clearly has some ability, but I have doubts about the overall quality of the race she exits.

I’m using both of these fillies, but there are some interesting first time starters in this field. Saratoga Style goes out for Todd Pletcher and sports a stellar pedigree in the second generation of her female family. However, Pletcher has been on a bad run with his firsters and I have not liked what I’ve seen of her morning drills.

Dearly-Declared-breeding

The one that interests me most is DEARLY DECLARED (#2) for Barclay Tagg. She, too, is bred to be a runner as a half-sister to the popular New York-bred stakes performer Saratoga Snacks, who earned nearly $700,000 during his career. This filly has shown some ability in her morning drills. She has outworked all of the stablemates with whom she’s been paired, usually while under a strong hold by her exercise rider. Barclay Tagg can certainly have one ready to fire first time out, and the barn has been in the midst of a strong run since mid-summer.

THE PLAY

Win: 2
Exacta Key Box: 2 with 3,5,6,7

Posted in Race Previews | Leave a comment