The Grade I races are over and here are some initial observations:
1.) Todd Pletcher’s Grade I losing streak will end soon. I promise.
2.) Summer Bird is a very, very nice horse and is a deserving winner of the Eclipse for champion 3YO. Let’s hope he stays on one piece next year and then the handicap ranks will have a real titan.
3.) Quality Road is fully back on the road to stardom as he ran a terrific race today. He is probably not a 10 furlong animal but certainly has a future at or around a mile on the dirt and maybe even the turf.
4.) Gio Ponti is going to be tough if he takes to the Pro-Ride as he ran huge in the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic at a distance that was too far on a course that was almost unmanageable.
5.) Pure Clan is a gem of consistency and deserves a look in five weeks at SA. How about Criticism though as an off the wall longshot that prefers firm turf?
I’ll be back later with more thoughts but it has certainly been an interesting Super Saturday full of terrific performances and some huge surprises.
The skies have opened up at Belmont Park and that made viewing the Vosburgh a tad more difficult as the field was somewhat invisible going into the turn. Kodiak Kowboy, now back in the barn of trainer Steve Asmussen, surged late and was up just in time. He had developed a history of hanging in the waning stages of his bigger efforts but is now a Grade I winner two times over.
Our Pick 4 is toast as Fabulous Strike was caught in the last jump by Kodiak Kowboy for the second time this year.
Music Note won the Beldame about as easily as a racehorse can and she’s headed to the Breeders’ Cup according to trainer Saeed bin Suroor, who was in from Europe to see the daughter of A.P. Indy win her fourth Grade I stakes race at Belmont Park.
Well, it’s time for the Pick 4, let’s single Fabulous Strike, who for all intents and purposes is supposed to win the Vosburgh. He may have to deal with Go Go Shoot late but I think he’s just simply better than that runner. In the Flower Bowl let’s go 5 deep with the remaining half of the Christophe Clement entry, #3 PURE CLAN, #4 DYNAFORCE, #5 CRITICISM, and #7 MONEYCAN’TBUYMELOVE. In the Hirsch we’ll use #1 GIO PONTI, #3 AL KHALI, #4 TELLING, and #8 GRAND COUTURIER and then close things out with #2 MACHO AGAIN, #3 SUMMER BIRD, and #7 QUALITY ROAD. That’s good for a total of $60 in this $500,000 Guaranteed All-Grade I Pick 4.
Raise your hand if you didn’t see a wire-to-wire win coming in the 5th? I certainly didn’t and even if I did it wasn’t from Krypton. So goes our Pick 3 and we basically reset headed into the stakes portion of the Super Saturday card. #2 MUSIC NOTE has opened with over 12k bet to place on her and is currently 1/9 on the board. The daily double from her to #5 FABULOUS STRIKE in Race 8, the Vosburgh is currently paying about 1/5.
Let’s hang onto our $71.50 and play the Pick 4 as the Beldame doesn’t exactly look like a good betting race.
You could definitely chalk the 4th up as an exciting race as a blanket finish had four noses within a neck of one another. Sangre Frio with a perfect rail-skimming ride was just up under Alan Garcia at 15.5-1 and got us through the first leg of the Pick 3 with a nifty start.
Note in Race 5 that first-time starter #5 FORMULAFORSUCCESS is bet heavily in the win pool as he’s currently 5-1 but the $2 double from Sangre Frio is paying better than $450. For comparison’s sake, #8 ROMANS REWARD is currently 4-1 and the $2 double from Sangre Frio is paying just over $141. It’s always worth noting when a firster is hit hard in the win pool.
#3 EXTRAEXTRAORDINARY ran a truly remarkable race at first asking as he was away poorly, hurried into contention down the backstretch, was shuffled back heading around the turn then angled out and rallied well to grab the place dough narrowly. What was even more impressive is that he hails from a barn that rarely has success with firsters and had only had one firster finish in the money when debuting on the weeds in the last five years. Look for this guy to be very tough to beat in this spot. We’ll roll with the Pick 3 and try to bank on the early money on Formulaforsuccess being the right money. Let’s play $5 Win/Place on #5 and $1 Exactas 5/1,2,3,4,6,7,8,10 and $1,2,3,4,6,7,8,10/5 for a total of $26 which brings our bankroll to $71.50 with the Pick 3 one for one.
Pretty strong effort from Sky’s the Limit who was hurried to the lead by Kent Desormeaux, set solid fractions and had plenty left to fend off the favorite at the top of the stretch. Our mythical bankroll now stands at $145.50.
In the fourth race, I really liked #1 B Z WARRIOR, who had a bit of a tough trip last time out and was set to make his third start off a layoff. Is #1A SCHNEERSON capable of getting the job done? Sure, but 7/2 is not very exciting. #5 CAPTAIN RIO is a solid favorite but considering how poorly Tom Albertrani’s barn went at Saratoga and that this guy’s big runner-up finish came on opening day, why didn’t he come back at all upstate? He’s now been working a bit spotty and looks a little bit like a horse who’s held together with glue and sticks.
Let’s launch a Pick 3 that treats this race like the wide-open event I see it being: 1,2,4,5,7,9 with 1,3,5,8 with 1,2 TOTAL: $48
Please note the following scratches in the stakes races later today. In the 7th race, the Vosburgh, #2 PEACE CHANT is scratched. In Race 8, the Flower Bowl, #1 CARIBBEAN SUNSET is scratched and in Race 9, the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Invitational, so far #1A WINCHESTER and #6 READY’S ECHO are scratched. At this point in time #7 PRESIOUS PASSION is still in the field, but the first sign of rain could send him to the sidelines.
We’re two races into Super Saturday and it’s been chalky thus far. Independence War gave the Jayaramans and trainer Tim Ice what they’re hoping will be their first of two wins today in taking the first as the 13-10 favorite. Crazy Charlie completed a $9.10 double by wearing down a very soft group of maiden sellers in Race 2 as the 4/5 favorite.
The wagering for the third opened with what I found to be a bit of a surprise. #8 JAYDEN’S HOPE was a solid early favorite and is currently still the most backed by the public at 9/5. I’ll stick with #3 SKY’S THE LIMIT, who hasn’t been out since last winter at Calder but starts for a barn that has been on an absolute tear in the last four days. With our mythical $100 bankroll for Super Saturday let’s play $10 Win/Place on #3.