Belmont, Race 2: Maiden Special Weight at 1 1/16 miles on the turf for two year-olds
There are some well bred first time starters in here along with a horse who has already run pretty well going long on the turf. I’ll take none of those and will instead go for the lone first time turfer in the race, Danaus (#3). Danaus did not do much running in his debut. He showed some brief speed chasing the leaders on the backstretch before dropping back on the turn and shying in greenly at the top of the stretch before tiring. Basically, it was a typical Albertrani debut. Just take a look down at Smooth Daddy to see the sort of turnaround an Albertrani two year-old can make in its second start, especially when switching to the right surface. We also made a nice score with Miss Frost early in the Saratoga meet off a similar move.
Danaus’s turf pedigree is not as obvious as some of the others in here, but it is certainly there. His sire, Ambassador, is by the great German sire Acatenango, who U.S. fans know best as the damsire of Animal Kingdom. Ambassador was a decent racehorse during his career, which began in the United States where he won an allowance race and was a close fourth in the Hall of Fame Stakes (G2) at Saratoga. The following season he was campaigned in Germany where he won a Group 2 stakes race before tailing off.
The female side of Danaus’s pedigree has not been as productive as the maternal families of some of his rivals today, but there is some quality to be found if you go back far enough. His great-granddam, Euphonic, is a half-sister to the great European sire Danehill, and she was bred to Seattle Slew to produce this horse’s granddam, who was in turn bred to Empire Maker.
Based on those bloodlines, you would think that Danaus’s dam should be able to produce a turf horse if she can produce anything and I’m willing to wager that this horse is okay. This owner/trainer combination is the same duo that campaigned Quinzieme Monarque last year to break his maiden on the turf at the Belmont fall meet before that one went on to finish a good fourth in the German Derby (G1). The extra distance today should only help and he will definitely be a much larger price than Chad Brown firster Shadow Banking or Albertrani’s other runner Smooth Daddy. I’ll put them over Danaus in the exacta for insurance.
$15 Win 3
$2 Exacta 5/7 with 3
Belmont, Race 5: Claiming $14,000 at six furlongs
I recognize that He’s So Chic is the best horse in this race and the most likely winner based on his recent form, but I’m not too excited about betting him today. This drop to the $14,000 level just does not sit right with me since it’s not as if he had been doing poorly facing much tougher foes earlier in the year. I also don’t think it’s a very good sign that he did not make a start at Saratoga given that he is owned by Mike Repole, who wants to win every race that he can upstate. There are not even any recent workouts to reassure that he’s in good condition as his last drill came on August 18th. I’m staying away on the win end.
Once you get past him this race is no longer that tough, which is why I’m going to end up on Real Estate (#9). The only horses with recent form that would indicate they are as good as Real Estate right now are Buckeye Heart and Chasing Moonlight and neither of them are really winning types. While Real Estate’s glory days are certainly behind him he’s really stepped up his performance level over his past four starts. His win on June 2nd would likely get the job done today and after that he was asked to face tougher fields, especially last time when he set quick fractions going seven furlongs before fading late.
Here he will have to deal with the speed of Luxury Appeal, but with his outside draw he may be able to sit just off that horse’s flank before taking over at the top of the stretch. I don’t trust anyone to come running late and Real Estate just might be able to hang on at a square price.
$10 Win 9
Belmont, Race 8: Optional Claiming $62,500/N2X at 1 1/16 miles on the turf
I was very impressed by Mia Poppy’s (#1A) most recent effort in which he battled for the lead through very swift fractions and stuck around until the end in a race that was dominated by horses who came from far back in the pack. He’s since been claimed by David Jacobson and is confidently stepped up in class to run for nearly twice the price they got him for. He is the main speed of this race so David Cohen needs to be aggressive early and clear horses like Hothersal and Film Shot. Mia Poppy seems to like Belmont and should be able to take advantage of firm turf conditions that can only help his cause.
That said, this is a competitive race and Mia Poppy should be every bit of his 8-1 morning line. I’ll bet him to win and use him under Border Song, Razorbill, Hothersal, and Film Shot in the exacta.
$15 Win 1
$2 Exacta 2/3/4/7 with 1