PAUL'S ANALYSIS FROM Belmont Park races 3 to 8
Wednesday 19 October 2016
Belmont Park Race 3 (7.01pm)
Maiden Special Weight - New York bred 3 year olds and upwards - 7 Furlongs - Turf
Whatstotalkabout (10) has raced four times. His two starts on turf make him a big player here. In the first, he lost by a nose over six furlongs. Then over course and distance in June, he ran third, beaten half a length. He keeps jockey Irad Ortiz Jr.
Only a head separated Uncle Chester (5) and D' Eloquent (3) when the filled the minor places when both last tried the turf in July. They have claims off that form. So has Bushmill Giant (2) if the cut back from an extended mile suits.
Captain Kitt (1) had been away since May 2015 when a fading fifth on his return last month. He is a possible improver. So too is Bull (7) who now tries turf after shaping well on dirt on his career debut.
Belmont Park Race 4 (7.34pm)
Claiming $14,000 - 3 year olds and upwards - Non winners of 3 races lifetime - 6 Furlongs - Dirt
Grey Glory (7) was given some time off after a three length victory over one time career winners in July. He returned last month at this claiming level and ran a fine second. He's the standard setter off that run under Javier Castellano.
Tree Shaker (8) had Papa Tom (2), Zoo Yorker (4) and Il Fratello (6) just behind him when runner up in a similar event last month. He's since struggled in a better race at Parx. He and Zoo Yorker who had a wide trip may be the pair to take out of that event but there is a new face who looks dangerous. Zen Papa (5) made his return for almost three times today's claiming price at Saratoga. He faded badly in what was a swiftly run event. The three year old has fine back races and goes for red hot trainer Rudy Rodriguez. He could make the most of the big class drop.
Too Wild To Repent (1) went to the sidelines after back to back victories in June. He was vanned off on his latest start but has been worked well recently over five furlongs.
Grey Glory (7)
Reversed Exacta (2 bets): Zen Papa (5) and Grey Glory (7)
Belmont Park Race 5 (8.07pm)
Claiming $40,000 - 3 year olds and upwards - Non winners of 2 races lifetime - 1 1/16 Miles - Turf
Many of these such as Steamboat Bill (9) are dropping in class after below par efforts. He did have an excuse last time as he had to be checked. Prior to that, he ran second in a starter allowance event at Saratoga. Yowl (7) finished three lengths behind him and Market Strength (5) another five further back. The last named runner went to fast on the lead. He looked much better when ridden more patiently prior to that. His former barn mate Araqeel (6) seemed the find the cut back to seven furlongs against him when running first time for trainer Steve Asmussen.
Veya (8) is in fine form but has had a few chances. It's 15 months since The Catmancan (4) gained his one and only victory. In his defence, he's took on better competition during that time and looks a player now dropping back into claiming company. By contrast, Otto (2) was a winner three weeks ago. He's only had four starts and may have improvement in him.
Market Strength (5)
Combination Exacta (6 bets): The Catmancan (4), Market Strength (5) and Steamboat Bill (9)
Belmont Park Race 6 (8.40pm)
Maiden Special Weight - 3 year olds and upwards - 7 Furlongs - Turf
As with race eight, Chad Brown is double-handed. On best speed figures, there is little to choose between War Of Ideas (6) and Butler Field (9). Both have been running over further but the cut back to seven furlongs is not guaranteed to suit the latter. That said, America's top turf trainer doesn't win a ton of races by running them over the wrong distance. His barn mate War Of Ideas made a fine 2016 return when third over a mile last month. He is likely to improve on that now making only his third career start. L'ange Bleu (12) finished over three lengths behind him after being away a little longer. He has claims at a price.
Dark As Midnight (10) should improve now back on turf and getting more ground. Schott (8) may do better now running first time as a gelding. Astute Warrior (1) has fine back form and a barn change could see him run to that.
Delta Prince (3) ran green on debut. Although his talented siblings excelled on the dirt, his stakes winning dam was best on turf. The switch in surface and second time improvement may see him improve. Newcomer Freedom Tower (4) was an expensive sales purchase whose dam was stakes placed.
War Of Ideas (6)
Belmont Park Race 7 (9.13pm)
Allowance Optional Claiming - 3 year olds and upwards - 6 ½ Furlongs - Dirt
This is a stakes quality event. In fact, a few of these have stakes form. Annual Report (1) won a Grade 2 as a juvenile. He didn't build on a decent, belated three year old debut last month. He now runs in blinkers. He's part of a Godolphin owned entry with Proven Commodity (1A). He's a lightly raced four year old who has run well in defeat in both starts midsummer. He finished behind Mewannarose (7) in the latest but got pressure on the front end. With an outside draw here, Luis Saez has the option to stalk if the likes of Bond Vigilante (5) are gunned for the lead.
Mewannarose (7) was claimed off a victory in a very swiftly run event here. The one time stakes runner looks to be capable of cycling back up the class ladder. So too may Great Stuff (2). He had Los Borrachos (4) behind him when second in July before going one better a month later. He was well thought of at one time and new trainer David Jacobson now gives him a try under allowance conditions.
Second City (6) is a 10 time career winner and regular at this level. He has claims in an event with few throw outs.
Proven Commodity (1A)
Combination Exacta (6 bets): Proven Commodity (1A), Great Stuff (2) and Mewannarose (7)
Belmont Park Race 8 (9.46pm)
Allowance Optional Claiming - 3 year olds and upwards - 1 1/16 Miles - Turf
Almanaar (8) won a couple of graded stakes in France before his three year old season was cut short in August. Over a year later, he reappeared making his Stateside debut for new trainer Chad Brown here last month. He faded late on after setting the early pace, finishing less than two lengths behind in form runner up Weekend Express (4). He is very likely to improve off that comeback and may be hard to beat as the favourite.
Night Prowler (3) is a barn mate of Almanaar. His sophomore year was very similar but in America. He too won a pair of Grade 3's but didn't race again after late summer. His four year old debut came at Saratoga in August. He stayed on strongly despite being parked behind slow fractions to be beaten two lengths. He's likely to be a bigger price of Chad's pair and may be worth siding with.
There are a few in here who could spoil The Brown exacta or even beat them both. The much improved Weekend Express (4) is one along with Ice Cutter (7) whose victory last month was a career best.
It is hard to know what to do with Bay Of Plenty (2). He was a winner twice including a stake in between running in The Grade 1 Met Mile and Woodward. He has over a year's lay off too defy and unless the weather intervenes, will be making his turf debut. From a class point of view, he has to be a danger.
Mikelino (1) makes his US debut. He wasn't running in the best company in France. Maybe he'll improve now running in blinkers and with lasix.
Night Prowler (3)
Reversed Exacta (2 bets): Night Prowler (3) and Almanaar (8)