We are counting down the days until the Jockey Club Gold Cup Stakes (G1) here at Belmont Park. Officially 10 days away, the premier event of the Belmont Park fall meet is almost upon us. It’ll give us the opportunity to preview some of the Breeders’ Cup contenders one more time, as Saratoga Slim wrote. Before that, we have three maiden special weight (MSW) races to preview on Thursday’s action-packed eight-race card.
Belmont Meet Statistics (9/6 through 9/15):
|Races||Top 4 Wins||Top 4 Exactas||Top 4 Trifectas||Top 4 Supers|
Race 4: $90,000 MSW for fillies and mares, 3-year-olds and upward going 1 1/4 miles (10 furlongs) on the inner turf
At 25/1 in her last start, #6 Lady Rosalie (2/1) outran her odds and put in a winner’s performance at Saratoga. The winner, Dabinett, is a nice filly out of the Chad Brown barn and was able to run down the pacesetters. Coming out of a competitive field at Saratoga, she is the horse to beat as she makes her Belmont Park debut.
The last time that we saw #5 Andi’s Kitten (9/2), it was back in November of 2018 when she made her debut. Since then, she switched barns from Chad Brown to Danny Gargan, who has had a lot of success bringing horses back after extremely long layoffs. In 2019, Gargan is winning at 78% with layoffs of 180+ days and is also winning at 18% with runners at this distance in a turf route in 2019. It also helps that she’s a full sister to Voting Control, who finished third in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1).
Jimmy Toner will look to continue his winning ways with #2 Whatdoesasharksay (3/1). Toner is two-for-two so far at the meet, winning with both Fortune’s Fool and Coffee Crush at the allowance level. This filly has a lot of talent but was in much tougher fields against many more runners. Beau Belle, who beat Whatdoesasharksay in her last race, won at the allowance level next time out. This field will give her every opportunity to win.
#4 Pallas Athene (8/1) provides a lot of intrigue in this spot for a couple of different reasons. She makes her first start since June for a John Terranova barn that has been known to do well with horses coming off of similar layoffs (17%). She also will get blinkers for the first time, indicating that she had been training with them in recent weeks. Against a short field, she has to be given consideration.
Ricky’s Picks: 6-5-2-4
Race 5: $75,000 MSW for 2-year-old fillies going 6 furlongs on the Widener turf
The Elkstone Group brings two talented fillies into this field with #1 Logic N Reason (2/1) and #1A Boston Beauties (2/1). Luis Saez, one of the most aggressive riders on the circuit, will send Todd Pletcher’s Boston Beauties to the lead. On the other hand, Logic N Reason has shown the ability to close from well off the pack for Christophe Clement. These different running styles should complement each other well.
#3 One Mississippi (6/1) has been training unbelievably well in the mornings lately. With Chad Brown having so many impressive 2-year-olds, he waited to debut this one, and getting Irad Ortiz, Jr., aboard doesn’t hurt her chances. Look for this filly to be strong out of the gate in an effort to live up to her $360,000 price tag.
The other Chad Brown entry here is #9 Moral Reasoning (7/2). Like One Mississippi, she is by More than Ready, who has produced amazing turf runners like Uni and Rushing Fall. Living up to those turf runners would be some accomplishment, but she has all of the tools on paper to begin her career on a winning note.
Jorge Abreu comes into this race on a tear, finishing in the money in all five of his starts this meet. #8 Myfirstexwife (8/1) is by The Factor, a very talented sprinter in his own right who was sired by War Front. That, plus several recent workouts, indicate that she should enjoy turf. There’s no reason not to have this horse on all tickets, especially considering the way that Abreu’s horses have looked.
Ricky’s Picks: 1/1A-3-9-8
Race 8: $62,000 MSW for 2-year-old fillies going 1 mile on the Widener turf
Brian Lynch won his lone fall meet start when he brought home Ratajkowski last week and will look to do the same with #8 Ella Brilla (7/2). She’s by Kitten’s Joy, one of the best turf runners in recent memory who has become an even better turf sire. Ella Brilla’s last morning work at Churchill Downs (4 furlongs in :47.60) indicates that she will be full of run and is raring to go.
#7 Morality Clause (3/1) makes her way back to the track after being bumped at the start in her last race, at Saratoga on August 28. She had shown consistent improvement up until that point, but her porous start completely threw her off her game. This outer post should help her establish position and give her a tactical advantage as she stretches out for the first time.
#1 Lady Kaza (9/2) debuted over a fast Saratoga dirt track on August 7 and showed absolutely no desire to run. Chad Brown worked her on the turf on August 30, going 4 furlongs in :49.60 while in company with older maiden Katama Moonlight. Brown’s numbers are fantastic across the board, so expect this filly to react well to the surface switch.
#9 La Negrita (12/1) is one of the best longshots on the card. She had no chance in her debut against the likes of Voting Agreement, Boston Beauties, and Indochine. Her last start was taken off of the turf, but she stayed in the field before finishing fourth. Rudy Rodriguez wins at 20% when his horses stretch out, so at double-digit odds, she is a must on all tickets who could be a majoy player in this spot.
Ricky’s Picks: 8-7-1-9