With 13 races to cover for Belmont’s big Saturday, 10 of the races will be analyzed here, saving Belmont Stakes for a separate post. I will be wagering actual $ on these.
Please bear in mind that I will edit and change the posts during the hours before the races to compensate for early scratches. Anything breaking may be tracked in my Twitter feed at @radiocblue. I will always tweet my final selections once there’s sufficient time to wager, usually 5-10 minutes before post time.
As I mentioned in my previous post, I had done an experiment that draws from examining top paying exactas. It would seem like seeing lightning strike twice, but this is just about what I am doing. I am building a smaller second-guess system that incorporates a top longshot along with favorites, plus key horses that match up with my original selections.
Race 1 is 8.5 furlongs on the widener turf, a race for fillies/mares, nonwinners of 2, 3YO+. 25k claimer. World Premier (longshot) has the fastest pace numbers of the field with a pair of 2nd call numbers in the 80s. I Dreamt I Was (fave) has won at 8.5 furlongs and had won a 41k maiden race. She has the best jockey/trainer combo in the race with RA Dominguez (26% wins) and Steve Assmussen (32%). St. Lucy (longshot) has the fastest Brisnet numbers on this track in the field, with an 82 numbers scored last year.
Those are the top 3 here: World Premier, I Dreamt I Was, St. Lucy (8-4-9).
Second guess: Here’s where I’m introducing my newer system to bring in longshots outside of the top 3 and to use under and over top 2 favorites at post time.
Luck In The City, Forever Vow and Silent Joy ( are fitting the profile, tho morning-line suggests Silent Joy at just 10-1 and Forever Vow at 6-1. Luck In The City has both exploding and recovering form in her cycle….3 runs in the 70s in her last 3. After a layoff 2 starts into her 4YO campaign, she did explode past her 3YO best and has since forged a new top in her last race at Belmont 5/26. She owns 2 clusters of form that make her attractive. So does Forever Vow: Has the same pattern forging and exploding after making initial runs in her own 4YO year, and forged lifetime best of 80 3 races back. Silent Joy could bound from her last effort, where she ran 2nd in a 20k claimer, scoring a 76. This was beyond her previous to that, a 24. Luck In The City gets top preference of the best of the rest. Ton of value in this one!
Race 2 is a Maiden Special Weight, 75k, 1 mile on the dirt.
Escape Artist has the pace numbers: Triple digit figures for this dead closer’s stretch runs in his 2 lifetime races, finishing 2nd and 3rd. Also has the best jockey/trainer combo of RA Dominguez and Chad Brown (29%). Track bias for milers on dirt this meet have been sprinters (46%, with week totals 67%). This gives weight to Tiz Yankee, Mr. Beer Goggles, and Last Cat. These types of races have also favored the rail horse, so give some love to Wild Target.
Selections are 6-5-3: Escape Artist (fave) , Tiz Yankee, Last Cat (longshot).
Second guess: Tiz Yankee appears best of the key factors that may suggest a high price exacta despite his 4/1 price. Also in the mix here are Mr. Beer Goggles and Last Cat, who are longshots according to morning-line that I may use with the lower value types. Tiz Yankee is strongest in both sets of analyses.
Race 3 is an optional claimer of 14k for statebreds, 3YO+.
Overextended has the best pace numbers….this dead closer always seems to run Brisnet numbers in the 90s+ in the stretch. No works since his last race from 5/27. Diamond District is improving in form also, forging a new lifetime best of 97 in his most recent race, a win on 5/27. In the process he’s got the recovery angle going on: Since his 7YO debut, scoring a 92, he dropped into the 80, then only went past 92 with his last race. Best track performance of these is Ruffino, who won with a 103 score, his lifetime best, several years ago.
Track bias for this race, also for milers on dirt, gives credence to sprinters (Six Flings, Good Law) and the rail horse Diamond District.
Selections are Overextended, Diamond District, Ruffino (6-1-8)
Second guess: Track bias comes into play for 3 horses as mentioned. Of these 3, Six Flings is the one longshot (10-1 at morning line) that may get used for extra wagering. In both cases, Diamond District may prove to be best.
Race 4 is on the inner turf, 75k maiden races for 3YOs.
Giving high marks here to dead closer Lure Of The South, one of the outright longshots, who has garnered quick stretch runs in his 3YO campaign. No works since his last run 5/24. Forged a new best Brisnet of 85 2 races back. Current Design sports the big jockey/trainer combo of Dominguez and Brown. Could bounce from his 88 score garnered in a 4/14 maiden race, 2nd straight gain within 3 lifetime starts. Longwood Lane was a beaten favorite in his last race, 9/18/11 on this track, scoring an 86, best Brisnet # at Belmont. Then got claimed away from Todd Pletcher and should prevail.
Track bias for 8.5 furlongs on turf give the edge to late-pace horses (Longwood Lane, Ur) as well as posts 1 through 3 (Current Design, Dervish Prince, Lure Of The South)
Selections are Lure Of The South, Current Design, Longwood Lane (3-2-11).
Second guess: No change here. Each of my top 3 selections past muster. Lure Of The South might be the one used with favorites outside of my selections.
Race 5 is one mile on the turf,62k allowance for statebred 3YOs+.
Heading To The City is one of 6 horses here woh have already won past 1 mile. Won a 30k claiming race on 3/10, his 5YO debut. This early-pace horse is fastest of the field, a pair of 1st and 2nd call numbers in the 90s. He might bounce, going from a 75 to an 84 in his last 2 races. No works since his last race 5/26. Adjournment is one of 4 horses who must overcome the sprint-to-route adjustment at Belmont, a big negative. To make up for this, he has the best winning speed on this track, a 90 in his most recent race 5/18. He looks to best in form too. Along with forging a new top at 90, he also is completing a recovery pattern. His 4YO debut saw him at 81, then ran 2 lower races, then broke through with the 90 score. Still under influence of the 81 race run 3/18. Along with this is an ROI angle: Jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. has run 3 races with trainer Robert Barbara in the last 60 days. One win, 3 in the money, resulting in a return of +7.13. In My Eyes also has proven worthy of the mile distance. He has the best jockey/trainer combo of the field (Anna Napravnik/Michael Matz). Improved from his 2YO best with an 89 last time out, and will bounce from that number or forge ahead.
Track bias gives edge to Mr. Vantastic and Powerful Instinct, both who are late-running types.
Initial selections are 2-4-5: Heading To The City, Adjournment (longshot) and In My Eyes.
Second guess: Further study doesn’t reveal much more, as Heading To The City, and In My Eyes look even stronger apart from the others. For another live longshot I look to the 1 horse, Quiet Power. He also won a 30k claimer and was reclaimed late into his 3YO campaign by present trainre Thomas Bush. This horse contended and led in his last race, same distance on dirt, here on 4/27, tiring out in the stretch. Also has an ROI angle: Jockey Eddie Castro has worked with Bush on 8 races in the last 60 days, winning 1 and 4 times in the money, returning +6.69. Forged a lifetime best score of 95 2 races back on 3/22.
Powerful Instinct, thanks to track bias, may emerge as another live longshot, tho Quiet Power trumps this one.
Great value in this race.
Race 6: Easy Goer Stakes.
Skyring looks great here. Winner of a 100k ungraded stakes last time out 5/19 at Pimlico, forging a new lifetime best. Fastest pace numbers of this field. Good positive ROI numbers for jockey Corey Nakatani. Working for D. Wayne Lukas, Nakatani has run 7 races, winning 2, for a return of +3.88. No other horse seems to have a cluster of good form. Invasion Target has run scores of 97 in three of his last 4 races, one of those at Belmont, fastest Brisnet number in the field for the track. Bridge Loan has the top jockey/trainer combo of RA Dominguez and Todd Pletcher; he forged a new lifetime best of 92 2 races back on 4/14. Track bias favors Bridge Loan as he’s the rail horse.
Selections are 4-9-1: Skyring, Invasion Target, Bridge Loan (longshot)
Second guess: Brimstone Island and Fast Falcon each have gained by 10 in their Brisnet scores, and could bounce or otherwise move upward still in this race. Bridge Loan trumps here as the best live longshot, tho I might use Fast Falcon as 2nd live longshot with favorites.
Race 7: True North Handicap (G2)
Pacific Ocean may be best here, owning top pace numbers. Scored a 105 in a G3 race after posting a 92, so this is a bounce candidate.
Giant Ryan should contend also. Winner of the Vosburg Invitation last year and 5th in the Dubai Golden Shaheen last time out. Best Brisnet at Belmont came in the Vosburgh, a winning score of 108. Crossbow has the best jockey/trainer combog in Dominguez and McLaughlin.
Track bias favors both pure sprinters (Crossbow) and posts 4 through 7.
Selections are 1-6-2: Pacific Ocean, Giant Ryan, Crossbow.
Second guess: Hamazing Destiny and Royal Currier best of the rest of these, with the latter a live longshot factor thus far. Royal Currier gets the track bias benefit. Also has small ROI angle: jockey Maragh and trainer Patricia Ferro have worked in one race in the last 60 days and won. This stat actually reflects the horse’s last race, a 85k stakes win on this track 5/10. ROI return was +14.20.
Race 8: Longines Just A Game Stakes.
Winter Memories has a strong edge in this race, and it’s no surprise she’s the morning-line favorite. A winner at 9 furlongs, she’s also a G1 winner, and has the best Brisnet number at Belmont of this field, a 103 winning score in the G3 Beaugay last time out 5/5. This dead closer has the fastest pace numbers in the field. Might bounce from the 103 score tho. Tapitsfly is the very likely 2nd choice, who has best form of this field. She broke through her lifetime best just slightly with a 105 Brisnet number in her most recent, a 2nd place finish in a G2 race, also on 5/5 at Belmont. She had lost the race by a length after briefly leading in the stretch. Also has the recovery angle in play, matching a level she established right after a layoff in March. Only other horse to win at 9 furlongs is Hungry Island, who also is prone to bounce from her last effort, a 105, defeating Tapitsfly in the aforementioned race.
Selections are 4-1-5: Winter Memories, Tapitsfly, Hungry Island.
Second guess: Sylvestris might be the longshot to key with favorites. Major obstacle is to overcome transitioning from sprint to route. Reached a lifetime best for US races with a 97 last time out, leaving her open to a bounce down. Trainer Robert Barbara has run 14 horses in graded stakes this year, winning just 1 for an ROI of +4.40.
Race 9: Woody Stephens Stakes
Hardened Wildcat is my top choice here. Dead closer wtih huge stretch runs every time out, and is fastest of the horses here. Never out of the money in all but his maiden debut, totalling 6 races. Best jockey/trainer combo of JJ Castellano and Chad Brown. Best in form currently is Il Villano. He recorded a 106 winning Brisnet at Pimlico in a 100k stakes race last month. Could bounce down from that. Jockey and trainer JL Flors and Susan Crowell haven’t raced at Belmont this meet yet, tho they have run 3 races in the last 60 days, winning for an ROI of +4.80. Best Brisnet on the track is from Power World, winning with a 100 in an allowance race here last month.
All three horses are at good value per morning-line. Selections: 2-3-7.
Second guess: I could actually bring in Hierro here, who happens to be one of the prime favorites to use with my high-price selections. Winner of the Derby Trial, he recorded a 107 lifetime best, a sharp increase from 94 before that, so might bounce from this.
Race 10: Woodford Reserve Manhattan Handicap. 10 furlongs on the inner turf.
Top Surprize has the best pace numbers…he’s a dead closer with at least 10 straight races in the top 4. Al Khali has the best Brisnet score at Belmont, 100. Desert Blanc has the best makes his 2nd US start, and has the best jockey/trainer combo in RA Dominguez and Chad Brown. He dueled and lost in his US debut, last month’s Fort Marcy (G3). Selections: 8-3-4.
Second guess: Boisterous, Hudson Steele and Brilliant Speed, all morning-line choices seem to be the best of the rest. Not likely I’ll use them with my selections as I’m calling for big value to upset.
Races 12 and 13 have a bunch of also-eligibles and main-track-only runners. I’ll hold off on analysing these until the early scratches are reported.
Belmont Stakes analysis, horse-for-horse, in the next post.