One Horse to Watch entered today as Indy Scent goes in the first race:
Belmont Park, Race 1: Starter Handicap $20,000 at 1 1/16 miles on turf
This is a very interesting six horse field with a lot going on and much to discuss. Starting from the rail, Tawaared looms as the lone speed in the race, but I have my questions. This a much tougher field than he faced last time when he went down to defeat at 3-4 odds. You also must consider that he was claimed out of that last race by Robert Barbara, leaving the barn of Rick Dutrow, Jr. I’m banking on a regression from him. Bad Debt is remarkable consistent gelding. He was not out of the exacta in 11 starts last year and represented himself quite well to start this year in the Sunshine Millions Turf, in which he finished just 2 1/4 lengths behind Little Mike. He comes here after an easy win at Atlantic Racecourse and his typical figure in the mid to high 80s can certainly get it done.
I expect those two above horse to take most of the play, but I’m picking Indy Scent (#4). He is a deep closer and I do worry about the pace scenario, but I’m picking him because he overcame a slow pace to just miss in an overnight stakes last time and he may just be on the upswing. Two back, racing on dirt, Indy Scent completely overwhelmed two decent horses in Mine Over Matter and Itsagoodtendollars. I believe he is just as good on dirt and turf and if he can get back to that race, he will be very tough to hold off. I’m hoping to get those 7-2 morning line odds.
$10 Win 4
Belmont Park, Race 4: NY-bred Optional claiming $25,000/N2X allowance at 1 1/16 miles on turf
I don’t have much argument with the logical contenders in here, Fourseventeen, Fox Rules, and Deciphering Dreams, however I’m going elsewhere. Majestic Raffy (#8) is much better routing on turf than sprinting and now after a six furlong prep earlier this month, he gets some added ground to work with. He ran a couple of races last year as a three-year-old that can certainly win this and if he is possibly better now as a four-year-old, he’ll be tough to hold off late. I also think that Majestic Raffy had some excuses in his one route try at this level at the end of last year when he was herded down towards the rail at the top of the stretch and lost some of his momentum. I get that the trainer and jockey stats don’t give you confidence, but that is only going to help the price.
I’m also just a bit interested in Tug of War (#5), who has some decent turf pedigree and gets in very light here under the seven-pound bug. He may not be good enough and may not want 1 1/16 miles, but I can’t ignore that Smarty Jones-War Chant blood in his pedigree. I’ll make a small bet:
$10 Win 8
$4 Win 5
Belmont Park, Race 7: Allowance N1X at 1 1/16 miles on turf
Peace Preserver’s (#7) last race is worth watching. She was so much more the best than her 1 1/2 length win margin suggests. Coming into the stretch, she had spurted away from the field impressively to lead by five lengths, but just as she was coming to the eighth pole where the inner chute meets the main turf course, she shied into the gap, losing her balance and most of her momentum. The rest of the field closed in to get within about a length of her at which point she regained her stride and held them off to win. Without that incident she would have been a runaway winner and now she goes to Todd Pletcher, all of which could spell a much faster effort today. She will need to be better because this field is much classier than the one she faced last time, but I think she could be up to the task if she runs back to her last race. The bet:
$6 Win 7