Saturday, September 6
Race 1: Claiming $20,000N3L at 6 1/2 furlongs for fillies and mares
6 – Marcy
I probably would have been a little interested in MARCY (#6) here even without this trainer change, since she actually has run some decent races against tougher competition on occasion. However, now that she’s going out for Rudy Rodriguez and getting a significant rider upgrade to Manny Franco, this is a runner that cannot be ignored. I think that she can handle this distance and I expect that she’ll get some pace to run into with Island Candy and South Sound in here. If Rudy gets her to run as well as she did on January 9th at Aqueduct, or even gets her to improve on that form, she will win this race. She should also be a halfway decent price in what is a pretty salty field for a conditioned $20,000 claimer.
$15 Win 6 [scratched]
Race 3: Optional Claiming $40,000/N2X at 6 1/2 furlongs for NY-breds
1 – Station Chief
This race centers are two favorites that I don’t trust. Obviously, if The Big Deluxe runs his race two back he’ll be unbeatable, but if he repeats his last race he’ll be nowhere. With the speed of Flying Zealous on his inside and an extra half-furlong to deal with, I’m a little against him. Ground Force is dressed up off a perfect trip win last time when the pace completely fell apart and he was able to take advantage in his preferred wet going.
I’m picking STATION CHIEF (#1). I know that last time was the best time to have him, but I’m of the opinion that they’ve just finally figured out what this horse wants to do. We’ve always known that he has a bit of ability, as he indicated in his very first race when second behind Captain Serious, but he’s disappointed more often than not since then. However, a seemingly foolish change of tactics two back—planned or unplanned—has turned this guy around. He actually finished up decently into a slow pace behind Sioux, and then stepped up to beat a solid N1X allowance field while chasing wide from off the pace. That was a legitimately good effort, and if he repeats it, I think he can win right back here.
$10 Win 1 [scratched]
Race 5: Allowance N1X at 1 1/16 miles on the turf
3 – Peaceful Talk
When I first went through this race, I quickly arrived at the opinion that Candir (#6) was probably going to win right back at a short price, and I barely gave my eventual selection a second glance. After all, you’re supposed to be against horses like PEACEFUL TALK (#3). He was allowed to walk on the lead against an overmatched field last time and sprinted home to an easy victory. He’s dressed up, right? Well, I’m not so sure.
After watching back Peaceful Talk’s maiden win again, and then taking a closer look at all of the turf races that were run that day, I wonder if this horse might actually be better than he looks on paper. Yes, he took advantage of a soft pace against a weak field and was helped by dynamics within the context of the race, but what he did in the final quarter of a mile needs to also be evaluated in the context of the other races run on the card.
The turf course was quite legitimately “good” and not playing at all fast on the day that Peaceful Talk broke his maiden. Three races later, Golden Rifle, a decent allowance horse, set a slow pace going seven furlongs and still only came home his final three-eighths in a fairly ordinary 35 3/5 seconds. Compare that closing fraction to what Peaceful Talk did in the stretch of his race. According to Trakus, he ran the quarter mile from the 5/16ths-pole to the 1/16th-pole in 22.65 seconds, accelerating to hit an average speed above 40 miles her hour—that’s really moving. The visual impression is just as striking, as he came bounding through the stretch with giant strides, clear just loving the turf. While he probably won’t get to go as slowly as he did last time through the early stages today, there still is no other speed to keep him honest. If he can summon something close to the late burst that we saw in his maiden win, even Candir may have trouble catching him. At anything close to his morning line price, I think Peaceful Talk is a great bet.
$15 Win 3
$5 Exacta Box 3,6
Race 8: Optional Claiming $62,500/N2X at 1 1/4 miles on the turf
6 – Star Channel
4 – Artic North
9 – Shock Leader
It’s not typical for me to give three picks in a race, but I wanted to stress that I am way against Red Vine. This horse always seems to take money, usually gets a very good trip, and has just failed to deliver a winning performance. Sure, he can win this race, but I want no part of him at a short price.
STAR CHANNEL (#6) should be tough to beat. This is his favorite distance and he’s run some of his best races at Belmont Park. After appearing to go slightly off form earlier this year, it was encouraging to see him run an improved race last time, and it’s reasonable to expect him to do better today as he gets an extra furlong to work with. I will use him with ARTIC NORTH (#4), who probably could have won last time had he found a clear path earlier, and SHOCK LEADER (#9), who was hindered by a wide trip last time. I feel that both of these runners ran significantly better races than Red Vine.
$10 Exacta 6 with 4,9
$5 Exacta 4,9 with 6
Race 9: The Yankee Affair at 1 1/2 miles on the turf
1 – Reflecting
Only one horse in this race has proven that he wants to contest turf marathons, and that’s REFLECTING (#1). Distance aside, he’s probably just the best turf horse in this race anyway. In my opinion he should go off at odds of around 4-5, yet it’s possible that he may not even be favored with Red Rifle in the race. That’s value.
$25 Win 1
Race 10: Maiden Claiming $40,000 at 1 1/16 miles on the turf for NY-bred fillies and mares
10 – Lupicaia
8 – Jacey’s Revenge
I’ve had enough of the horses who have been contesting the races at this level. Fire Ship had no excuse to lose last time, and Lil’ Zilla took advantage of a very fast pace that collapsed in her best turf effort. I want the new faces.
LUPICAIA (#10) makes a lot of sense as she gets on turf for the first time. Her dam only raced four times, but one of those was an eight-length victory going nine furlongs on the grass. This is her first foal, but there’s more turf pedigree to be found in the second family, as Facetious’s dam won both the Yaddo and Ticonderoga on grass during her racing career. Raffie’s Majesty is a decent enough turf sire, and I expect this one to move up with the surface switch.
I also want to use first time starter JACEY’S REVENGE (#8), who has enough turf pedigree to make her worthy of consideration. Her dam is a half-sister to Magical Fantasy, who earned over a million dollars during a career that saw her take down four Grade 1 turf races. Henrythenavigator has been off to a slow start as a turf sire, but at least this one will be a big price.
$15 Win 10
$10 Win 8