Tom Law of the Racing Post continues his previews of US Racing at Belmont Park with a look at the this Saturday’s racing.
Race 1 – 1.30PM EDT
Five first-time starters take on two that have already started in 5 ½-furlong maiden for 2-year-old fillies. Golden Mischief lost on debut at 2/5 after leading throughout and then slipped further, finishing fourth, in Astoria when stretched out to today’s distance the day before the Belmont Stakes. Daughter of Into Mischief might be overbet in this spot, although two from Rudy Rodriguez’s barn – Libby’s Tail and In It For The Gold – possess pedigree and work patterns to win early.
Coasted cost $210,000 at last year’s Keeneland September sale and is the second foal out of mare that won three graded stakes and her debut, albeit in July of her 3-year-old season.
Selections: Libby’s Tail, Coasted, Lunation.
Race 2 – 2.01PM EDT
Latigo Trail looks like logical contender despite a few significant warning signs – only a 1-for-8 record on Belmont turf and a 1-for-6 mark going the 6-furlong turf sprint trip. The positives outweigh the warning signs, however, as runners from Bruce Brown are firing off layoff this year, he makes first start since late October and New York-bred son of Freud might be alone on the lead.
Spearhead and Tashreeh ran in similar $50,000 claimer for non-winners of three lifetime, finishing second and fourth. The former came back and finished seventh in a starter allowance. Zoom threw in a puzzling effort for a offspring of City Zip in first start in turf sprint 12 days ago and makes first start for new connections.
Selections: Latigo Trail, Royal Saint, Zoom.
Race 3 – 2.32PM EDT
Field of seven for 6-furlong claiming race for older horses who haven’t won twice and every member of the exit similar races. Norm The Giant and Il Fratello were second and third, respectively, going 6 1/2 furlongs June 19 and look like the best of the group. Norm The Giant came from the clouds as the favorite in last start, losing by 1 3/4 lengths. He’s been second four times in six starts at Belmont so perhaps it’s wise to lean toward Il Fratello, who showed improvement in last start for John Toscano. Barn excels in spots like this and there’s not a lot of others to like in this spot.
Selections: Il Fratello, Norm The Giant, Thnxtomyuncle.
Race 4 – 3.04PM EDT
Back to the grass for another 6-furlong sprint and field of eight features seven 3-year-olds and one 4-year-old. The latter is the Tapit colt Kabang, who is winless in five starts and makes first start for Mike Trombetta. Pedigree – by the one of the world’s leading sires out of a Dynaformer mare – suggests grass will not be any issue. He also gets the meet’s leading rider in Jose Ortiz.
Claiborne Farm sends out a pair of War Front colts – Commend for Bill Mott and Seize for Christophe Clement. Commend shortens up after two starts earlier this spring on the grass going 1 mile, while Seize makes second start after finishing second in debut back in November. Clement excels in spots like this and Joel Rosario returns.
Selections: Seize, Kabang, Commend.
Race 5 – 3.36PM EDT
Another non-winners of two lifetime, this one going 7 furlongs on the grass for $40,000 claimers. Man Of Wiregrass was claimed two starts back out of similar spot and then ran a good second against better in state-bred allowance-optional. The rail is a bit of a concern but son of First Dude has enough early speed to stay out of trouble. Speaking of speed, there isn’t a lot of it with only Honorable Daniel and Dream Breaker showing early pace in past races.
Jose Ortiz and Linda Rice are clicking at this meet and team up with Completely Bonkers. He run well in three starts this year, including his last two on the grass and drops back in for a tag after runner-up in starter-allowance last time. Zartax handled Completely Bonkers rather easily May 6, but that race was an off-the-grass event going 7 furlongs.
Selections: Completely Bonkers, Man Of Wiregrass, Wild Man.
Race 6 – 4.09PM EDT
Eight fillies and mares line up to go 10 furlongs in this grassy allowance-optional, including last-out stakes competitors Taralena and Rock Me Again. Taralena chased the very capable Time And Motion in back-to-back stakes efforts, the Memories of Silver and Wonder Again. She figures to be on the lead and might be of assistance to stablemate Amnnicalola.
The one to beat is Galileo’s Song, daughter of Galileo who cost $475,000 as a weanling in 2013. She graduated at this distance for trainer Chad Brown two starts back then was second, with Dreaming As Always third, last time going 11 furlongs. The 10 furlongs looks more ideal.
Selections: Galileo’s Song, Rock Me Again, Bel Citron.
Race 7 – 4.41PM EDT
Proven Commodity clearly has his problems – only three starts over three seasons – but when son of Bernardini out of Grade 1 winner Sahara Gold is right he’s right. He rides two-race win streak into 6-furlong allowance-optional and takes on a capable yet not overly powerful group.
Hey Bro looks live stepping up the ladder for Danny Gargan but he’s 1-for-5 on the year with four seconds. John’s Island is proven at this level and ran well in a couple New York-bred stakes spots last year for Jimmy Jerkens. He didn’t show much in seasonal debut June 15 but figures to improve off that effort.
Selections: Proven Commodity, Hey Bro, Classic Salsa.
Race 8 – 5.13PM EDT
First of two stakes is the $100,000 Perfect Sting for older fillies and mares going 1 mile. Strong field of 11 lines up, led by Grade 3 winners Onus and Tammy The Torpedo and multiple Grade 2-placed Mississippi Delta. Onus blew away overmatched group in allowance-optional back in May for Shug McGaughey and looks to return to same form that landed her Grade 3 Commonwealth Oaks last September at Laurel. Daughter of Blame is 4-for-6 on the grass and leading rider Jose Ortiz returns.
Chad Brown sends out two in Tammy The Torpedo and Neck Of The Moon. Give the edge to the latter, who is always in the mix but still must overcome 1-for-10 mark on the grass at Belmont. New York-bred daughter of More Than Ready was third, making up ground in the lane, in the Mount Vernon. Miss Ella is a graded stakes winner on the grass who has run well in her three starts on the grass, going shorter for Graham Motion.
Selections: Onus, Mississippi Delta, Neck Of The Moon.
Race 9 – 5.45PM EDT
The Grade 1 Mother Goose is one of the most prestigious races in the country for 3-year-old fillies and it offers the opportunity for one member of the field of seven to at least put their name in the conversation for divisional honors. Rachel’s Valentina disappointed as the favorite in the Kentucky Oaks, finishing sixth, but a return to form that saw her win the Grade 1 Spinaway and finish second to champion Songbird in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies buries this group.
Another from the Oaks is Lewis Bay, who was third behind Cathryn Sophia and Land Over Sea without much of an excuse. Lightstream is 3-for-3, including a win in a Grade 3 sprint at Keeneland and a small stakes on the grass last time at Belmont. She’s certainly versatile and is primed for the upset.
Selections: Lightstream, Rachel’s Valentina, Lewis Bay.
Race 10 – 6.17PM EDT
Back to the grass for the finale, a 7-furlong maiden for state-bred $40,000 claimers. Plenty of proven losers in the group, with the likes of Risky Sour (0-for-23), El Genio (0-for-16) and Longisland Express (0-for-11) leading the way. We’ll draw a line through them and look for those yet to prove their complete ineptness.
Irish Prayer figures to be one of the major players off good second in similar spot last time for Mike Maker, who fares well with those going from a route to sprint. Catapult Jack lost all chance when bumped at the start in his debut and we’ll give son of Mizzen Mast another chance for barn that does well in these spots.
Selections: Catapult Jack, Posse’s Moonbeam, Irish Prayer.