Initial Belmont Day observations

Belmont day has come and gone and we were treated to a number of awesome performances with the day capped by Summer Bird’s victory.  Here are some idle thoughts:

1. Does Just Ben’s smashing victory go another step towards validating the Gulfstream track maintenance staff despite all of the flak they received after Florida Derby day?  Just Ben got a 95 Beyer in breaking his maiden at Gulfstream and after a poor race on a sealed track at Churchill he’s run two big races again.

2. The Desormeaux Pick 3 of Convocation-Pennington-Sette E Mezzo was most impressive because only the first of the trio really stood out as a strong favorite.  Pennington was given a masterful ride as KD took the initiative right from the gate and found his way into a perfect pacesetting trip.  3

3. Is there a horse in the country that’s more fun to watch than Fabulous Strike when he’s on his game?  After a heart-breaking defeat in the Carter he was given some time to re-group and he rewarded Todd Beattie for his patience.  Fabulous Strike has all-time great speed when he does his thing.  It’s also great to have Benny the Bull back as there was no shame in his runner-up effort.  Now if only we could have a dirt surface for them to run on in November…

4. Overbet/Overrated horse Part 1: Desert Key- After a good summer in 2008 Desert Key was considered an upper tier sprinter as the calendar turned to 2009.  He is now winless in two starts and ran today like he will never contend with Grade I sprinters.

5. If you’ve been following Belmont for the last five weeks you know this quite clearly: Angel Penna, Jr. is the best trainer no one knows or talks about.  He has been winning with all types of horses of late and Diamondrella NEVER looked like a miler to me.  He just missed last week with Warm Shower (coming off a MSW win) in the Sands Point, won an optional seller on Sunday with Baletti and now won the Just A Game with Diamondrella.  Quite a week.

6. Forever Together doesn’t like heavy turf.  That seems clear as she’s never had the same kick on wet turf, so it’s a good thing when it counts this year the turf will be firm.  That is unless you think some weather pattern will descend on Santa Anita in early November.

7. My day would have been a complete disaster if not for Munnings.  I had a bit of win money and singled him in a Pick 3 but didn’t have the courage to play the Pick 4.  Not a bad thing all in all because Summer Bird was one I planned to let get by me in the multi-race plays.

8. Is This Ones for Phil a good horse?  I just can’t seem to decide as he’s now had two troubled trips in a row with ground-saving runs, so perhaps he’s a horse who prefers being outside.  He’s going to be the best price he’s been in a while the next time he goes to the post so I’m keeping the faith for now.

9. Overbet/Overrated Horse Part 2: Hello Broadway- This Barclay Tagg trainee needs the turf, a rest, or something else because he is woefully off form and really seems nothing like the horse who finished 2008 in good form.  He has been quite bad since running 2nd to Capt. Candyman Can in the Hutcheson.

10.  Are you already excited about the King’s Bishop if the field includes (with more to come):

Capt. Candyman Can
Cash Refund
Everyday Heroes

11. Sunland Park’s march towards consideration as a serious winter/spring racetrack picked up even more steam with Gabby’s Golden Gal scoring in the Acorn.  Granted, her win may have been aided by the track condition but a 1:34 and change mile is awfully strong.

12. Dear Bob Baffert,

Please ditch California and come to the east coast.  You really, really, really need a dirt course to run your horses on.  Your win rate on dirt over the last two years is 32%.  Pack up Jill and the youngster and trek eastward. 

13. Gio Ponti and Better Talk Now are two of my favorite horses of the last ten years, so the finish of the Manhattan was quite exciting.  Of course, if the latter had gotten going a bit sooner my Pick 3 would have been pretty solid.

14. Overbet/Overrated Horse Part 3: Zambezi Sun- Has this guy been a dud or what? 

15. Summer Bird is a good horse.  I had been among his biggest detractors for quite some time and can admit that he proved me wrong.  It’s nice to see horses from unknown backgrounds win big races and in that vein, the Triple Crown series has been satisfying. 

16. Isn’t the summer and fall looking exciting with the 3YOs proving to be a deep lot whether on turf, dirt, sprinting, or going long?  I’d say so.

Here’s the Belmont replay, in case you’ve somehow missed it.


2 Responses to “Initial Belmont Day observations”

  1. Pat Cummings Says:

    Great blog recapping the day’s events. When does Saratoga begin?

  2. Fred Elliston Says:

    Is this the same Pat Cummings from

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