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Another fantastic Saturday of thoroughbred racing is upon us. Parx has its premier day of racing, including a pair of Grade 1s with $1 million purses: the Cotillion Stakes and the Pennsylvania Derby. On the NYRA circuit, the Nobel Damsel Stakes (G3) and the Kelso Handicap (G2) are back! As we get closer to the Breeders’ Cup, these special Saturdays mean more and more. There also three maiden special weight (MSW) races to preview on the Saturday card.
Belmont Meet Statistics (9/6 through 9/19):
Race 4: $75,000 MSW for 2-year-olds going 1 1/16 miles (8.5 furlongs) on the Widener turf
Todd Pletcher brings #4 Eagerly (7/5) back to the track after an eventful debut over the Saratoga turf, where he was forced to the back of the pack after being bumped out of the gate. John Velazquez was able to close into a :24.61 first 1/4 and a :49.83 first 1/2 before finishing third, beaten just 3/4 of a length. This colt by American Pharoah is certainly the horse to beat at a very short price.
Bill Mott has been off to a slow start at the Belmont Park fall meet, with just one winner among 16 starters (through 9/19). He gets the opportunity to improve on those stats today with #8 Tiesto (6/1), Promises Fulfilled’s baby brother. He also is by Tiznow, who has produced the likes of recent Iroquois Stakes (G3) winner Dennis’ Moment. Tiesto’s back-to-back workouts on September 5 and September 13 indicate that he is ready for his debut.
The Allen Stable has two entries in here with the #1 Plan of Attack (3/1) and the #1A U S Delta Force (3/1). I prefer the #1 Plan of Attack in this spot for a couple of reasons. While both entries are sired by War Front, Plan of Attack’s morning works have impressed me. He was put in 6 furlongs on the training track on September 12, then fired a 3-furlong bullet on September 18 to tighten the screws. Look for Jersey Joe Bravo to get this horse out of the gate quickly.
Jimmy Toner has won all three starts so far this meet after Whatdoesasharksay won for him (and for us) on Thursday. Toner has the opportunity to improve on that stat with #7 Glynn County (4/1), who was wide the entire time in his debut before finishing fourth behind Decorated Invader. Last week, that colt won the Summer Stakes (G1) at Woodbine in his next start. That field was tough, but Glynn County will have to run just as well to beat this talented group of 2-year-olds.
Ricky’s Picks: 4-8-1/1A-7
Race 6: $75,000 MSW for 2-year-olds going 6 furlongs on the dirt
#4 Candy Tycoon (4/5) forced himself out of the race on August 17 after breaking slowly and being bumped. He was 4/5 at post-time but didn’t show anything of the kind, but with Jose Ortiz riding at Parx, John Velazquez will get the call for Todd Pletcher. This colt by Twirling Candy has the pedigree to become a very talented runner. A better start should see him in the winner’s circle in this spot.
Chad Brown’s runner, #2 Aasr (3/1), is a son of Into Mischief, who’s my favorite sire of the 2019 calendar year. Aasr posted an average 4-furlong work going :48.45, but it included breaking from the gate, which should give him an advantage. I see this uncommon move as a big positive for this up-and-coming 2-year-old.
Brad Cox has been in the money at the Belmont Park fall meet with five of his six runners through 9/19. Today, he puts #6 Sixteen Tons (6/1) on the track to debut for Anstu Stables. His last workout went 3 furlongs in :38.06 on September 14. When an unraced 2-year-old posts a workout of 3 furlongs, it most likely means that it will show early speed, and Kendrick Carmouche does his best riding on the front end.
#5 Bourbon Rising (10/1) gives me cause to pause for a couple of reasons. Mark Hennig doesn’t have the best stats with first timers (13%) and Rajiv Maragh isn’t the winningest jockey on the circuit (10%), but in saying all of this, Bourbon Rising’s morning works indicate that he has a lot of early speed. Hennig has also won two of nine starts so far this meet and would not put this horse into this spot if he didn’t think he would run well.
Ricky’s Picks: 4-2-6-5
Race 7: $75,000 MSW for fillies and mares, 3-year-olds and upward going 1 1/16 miles (8.5 furlongs) on the inner turf
#6 Balon Rose (5/2) was purchased as a yearling for $1.6 million back in 2017. She hasn’t lived up to the price tag, but there have been encouraging signs. In her first two turf races, she lost to Xanthique (third in the Riskaverse Stakes) and Beau Belle (an allowance winner after breaking her maiden). Balon Rose has talent, pedigree (by War Front out of a Galileo mare), and is the horse to beat for Chad Brown.
Speaking of Brown, his other runner in here is #8 Shelter Island (9/2) for Peter Brant. Le Havre’s highest-earning American foal is the four-time graded stakes winner Rymska, who also ran for Brown. Shelter Island has the turf pedigree and the connections to win a turf route in her debut. She doesn’t have any turf workouts to speak of, but Le Havre is 37% with first-timers who debut stateside.
Jose Lezcano, my favorite turf rider at Belmont Park, gets a chance to improve on his fantastic start to the fall meet (11 for 57) with #2 Kelleycanrun (7/2). Her best effort in three career starts came last out on the turf at Saratoga. At 37/1, she held a brief lead before Magic Star stormed home in the stretch. An improvement on that race could see Kelleycanrun cross the wire first.
Danny Gargan has waited almost three months to bring #1 Silver Kitten (8/1) back to the track. All of her efforts have included 12 or more runners, so this field of nine should seem like a breeze comparatively. At this distance, Belmont Park has a very quick half-turn and provides inside runners with an advantage. Danny Gargan has won at 18% with runners on the turf at this distance and trusts that the light layoff will have done this filly a lot of good.
Ricky’s Picks: 6-8-2-1
Good luck to everyone playing and be sure to follow me on Twitter @RickyP_15 for more NYRA race previews as we take a look at Belmont Park!
If you want further information on the other races for each card at Belmont Park and beyond, you can check the Racing Dudes’ Free Picks page or subscribe to their Premium Selections and get detailed analyses for every race, every card, every track around the country.
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