John Pricci

HorseRaceInsider.com executive editor John Pricci has over three decades of experience as a thoroughbred racing public handicapper and was an award-winning journalist while at New York Newsday for 18 years.

John has covered 14 Kentucky Derbies and Preaknesses, all but three Breeders' Cups since its inception in 1984, and has seen all but two Belmont Stakes live since 1969.

Currently John is a contributing racing writer to MSNBC.com, an analyst on the Capital Off-Track Betting television network, and co-hosts numerous handicapping seminars. He resides in Saratoga Springs, New York.

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Friday, June 24, 2016


Belmont Park Late Pick 4 All-Entrants Analysis


Underwritten by Promotional Arrangement with http://www.123BET.com

Listed by Program Number with Morning Line Odds

***

RACE 7 ALLOWANCES 3 & UP 1-1/8 MILES INNER TURF

1-Yowl (5-1), troubled in last, is bred bottom side of pedigree for added ground, has been highly competitive at this level in last two starts, loses Ortiz but picks up Lezcano. Dynamics suit well.
2-Freifan (8-1), first-time reported gelding, is not especially fast on the Pricci Energy Scale, failed in lone start at this trip and lacks true route pedigree on both sides.
3-Lotta Gold (20-1) jumped up in first start on turf going 1-1/16 miles June 4 on this course, has route pedigree dam’s side, Tagg effective with recent maiden graduates and L Saez takes return call.
4-Verger (3-1) gets Rosario, 6-for-18 recently for Cannizzo, has not earned competitive PERs since winning turf debut at Spa last year and barn only 8% with new acquisitions, underlay on early line.
5-Tizacinch (15-1) has PERs that have been improving incrementally, coming into his own as gelded 5YO. Loses Saez to Lotta Gold but picks up hot-riding Alvarado and dam’s three winners all won on grass. Looms live price shot.
6-Cody’s News (12-1) is on a bounce-rebound pattern, earning excellent PER two starts back coming from last going shorter and bred bottom side for added trip, at which he’s 1-for-1. Barn profitable on grass but this is dam’s only winner of six on turf.
7-Rooftop View (20-1) jumped up to break maiden on Belmont lawn when dropped to this level last out, earning excellent PER, and gets strong finishing Arroyo for barn profitable with its turf horses. Certainly not impossible.
8-Gracious Plenty (6-1) showed improvement vs. open 40K claimers last out and is better placed with these going longer with appropriate pedigree; worked thrice since last and picks up leading rider Ortiz.
9-Captain Moss (2-1) showed much improvement after getting back on Belmont turf two back; earned superior PER beating allowance types last out but qualifies for return to starters’ claiming company; worthy favorite repeats with similar effort. Thoro-Graph figures lays over.
10-Sandy Strikes (5-2) MAIN TRACK ONLY


RACE 8 ALLOWANCES 3 & UP 1-1/8 MILES

1-Lost Iron (5-1) drops from G2 Peter Pan following maiden score at trip in Aqueduct two-turner. Lack of competitive PERs to date a concern; Alvarado takes re-ride for Mott.
2-Derby Glass (15-1) won first start for Jacobson following claim on this ground but steps up significantly in this spot and loses J Ortiz to another rival.
3-Conviction (6-1) comes up to this nicely after graduating distances following two-turn score at Monmouth last out. Uncoupled Pletcher runner attracts Saez, is bred topside for this trip. Tricky read for us.
4-Realm (6-5) has run well in all four starts, earning good figures including career best in last when chasing the pace, finishing second to highly regarded Chad runner Gift Box. Tagg’s horses running well this meet and Ortiz lands here. Worthy favorite.
5-Caderyn (5-1) was eliminated n first turn of Pimlico’s Sir Barton following maiden break on Aqueduct winner in February. Blinkers have helped and makes proper-level drop here; excellent PER two back.
6-Sea Raven (10-1) is winless at Belmont but is (6) 2-1-0 at this trip and (15) 1-4-3 at all others. Lifetime best PER came at today’s distance, was good figure third to Rally Cry last out and returns with profitable spacing for this outfit.
7-Mister Monolo (15-1) has generally disappointing profile but has run some good ones and now goes LAY-3 with switch to Lezcano; tough read, but interesting at early line odds.
8-Ready Dancer (8-1) is second off the layup for Pletcher returning at appropriately longer trip. Has been victimized by series of tough trips and gets switch to Rosario while getting weight as 3YO vs. elders; solid contender.


RACE 9: G3 BED O’ROSES HANDICAP F & M 4 & UP 7 FURLONGS


1-By the Moon (6-1) makes second start following lengthy layoff and just missed in G1 Acorn going a mile on this strip last season. Toughened in G1s, she appeared in need of recent G3 Distaff now reunites with J Ortiz. Gets six pounds from ML fave and has been working purposefully for two months; value on early line for live filly.
2-Wavell Avenue (6-5) is the obvious fave as winner of the BC Filly and Mare upsetter last year and raced evenly late at G1 level in both starts this year. Chad winning everything in sight but gives weight to all and looms underlay given early line quote.
3-Bar of Gold (4-1) gained conditioning beating state-breds in recent 8F Critical Eye but has been highly competitive in open G2 previously. Alvarado fits her very well and turns back to what should be optimum trip; upset prospects.
4-West Coast Chick (3-1) placed gamely in G3 Vagrancy prepping for this following key race allowance score at KEE in prior. Unknown quantity at added sixteenth and barn 0-for-31 this meet. Underlay on early line.
5-Mayla (15-1) will be tested for class big time here seeking her fourth straight score but has promising record for this: (2) 1-1-0 @ BEL and (4) 2-1-0 at trip; surprise package?
6-Pangburn (15-1) has not been competitive at the graded level since G3 Iowa Derby going two turns last year. T. Dutrow 21% off the layup but 4YO lacks experience at BEL of the trip.


RACE 10: Maiden Claiming 3 & UP 7 FURLONGS WIDENER TURF


1-Freedom Seven (12-1) raced well without threatening in turf/racing debut, finishing well too late, and hasn’t been back in a turf sprint since. Lifetime best at this trip on wet track two back now picks up Franco; wakeup potential here.
2-Bluff Harbor (30-1) goes first-time Contessa, profitable with new acquisitions and gelding is working well. But he hasn’t come close and dam’s had no turf winners from 7 winning sibs.
3-Brett the Jet (4-1) goes second-time for Gary Gullo, having profitable 23% year and similarly 24% profitable with second-time runners and profitable overall in LAY-2 scenarios. Has mile figure on this course that’s plenty good enough to win this.
4-Take Me Away (12-1) showed improved speed in second start after adding blinkers, his turf debut going longer last out and barn is profitable with its turnbacks but this still requires leap of faith.
5-The Undersheriff (3-1) chased very hot pace on very fast ground last out going 6F now drops into claimer for the first time on the stretchout and eligible to shake very loose. Potential bounce-rebounder goes for J Englehart, 26% dropping into MCL and profitable in third start off the layup and Saez sticks
6-Cuckoo’s Saloon (8-1) was a good second in ordinary time in only turf start at this level two back, showed much improved speed vs. MSWs in second start without blinkers in BEL debut. Returns to proper level switching to Alvarado for barn 18% profitable in LAY-3 scenarios. Dam’s had two offspring sib winners and is excellent value on early line.
7-Majority (6-1) was a good third after opening long lead going a route last out behind recent repeat winner. Barn having solid meet but this is a tricky read.
8-Colonel Andy (20-1), first time vs. maiden claimers, trailed throughout in turf/racing debut at 95-1 June 4 but Sciacca, having strong meet, is profitable with turf and second-out runners.
9-Lucky Town (20-1) showed improvement in third lifetime start after dropping to this level and getting first Lasix. Ubilio profitable with in LAY-2 scenario and switches to promising 7-pound bug boy Torres (winner yesterday).
10-Let It Go Phil (15-1) NY home-bred is working steadily for open claiming debut. Topside pedigree slightly better than average but dam’s two winners winless on turf.
11-Without Fear (50-1) hasn’t come close at long odds for a very long time.
12-Southern Union (5-1) showed improvement when turned back to this distance despite having heels clipped by trailing rival early last out. Brown barn profitable with its maiden claimers and J Ortiz takes return call.
13AE-Vino Blanco (5-1) is a reported first-time gelding and drops into claimer for the first time for Bush, more than capable with layups. Dam’s lone winner won on turf; attracts L Saez. Live if in.
14AE-Street Fightin Man (6-1) earned a winning PER going long on BEL turf last fall. Obviously hasn’t won but is a tryer attracting Rosario for Esler, 22% effective in LAY-2 scenarios and trip might suit perfectly.
15AE-Space Ranger (15-1), adding blinkers, had tough trip to this level after being beaten by weaker in Florida this winter. Dam’s had two turf winners from three sibs that have run.
16AE-Slapstick (5-2) comes off series of excellent PERs for this level and drops in with maiden claimers for the first time with scheduled switch to Rosario. Turns back to most effective distance which earned lifetime best figure; worthy favorite if draws in.

***

Comments from June 18 P4; winners and notable money finishers

RACE 7: 3-Tiz Twice (5-2) showed marked improvement with early speed when dropped to this level and stretched to route last out. Bred for distance both sides, dam’s five winners include three on turf, and Alvarado on the re-ride. Sharp blowout, very solid contender. (won @ $8.80)
4-Say Cin Cin (12-1) drops into claimer for first time since November 2015 and raced competitively despite rough trip in lone grass try; switch to Luis Saez. (2nd 7-1, 149.60 ex)

RACE 8: 6-Zennor (6-1) showed marked improvement switching to grass and adding Lasix for last two as Spa 2YO. Reported first-gelding makes season’s debut for McLaughlin, 23% profitable with 90 days + layups, Irad sticks and strong upstate works. Could prove key.
9-Ice Cutter (10-1) earned competitive PER for Clement, 21% effective going dirt to turf. Makes season’s debut off very solid and steady workline.

RACE 9:

5-The Imposter (5-1) remains at proper level after just missing in 6F Belmont return. Reunites with winning rider Saez and is good value at early line odds. Bullet in holster for this. (won 11.60)
11-U S Citizen (5-2) drops to winning level and suitable, slightly longer trip after gamely third chasing pace throughout rapidly run 6F Belmont turf debut. Gelded 7YO switches to leading rider Ortiz for Jacobson, 27% effective with beaten favorites. Formidable favorite. (2nd exacta 56.00)

RACE 10:

2-Stormin Saratoga (4-1) had some gate issues in off-turf debut going 7F, chasing the pace then stopping late. Todd 26% with second-time starters and gets Javier. More mixed signals. (won 13.80)
10-Alyssa and a Lisa (8-1) drops into maiden claimer for first time in season’s debut, returning for Contessa, profitable with 90-days + layups. Purposeful workouts returning for barn having a solid meet. (2nd exacta 149.00)

***

See Saturday's Feature Race Analysis for On-the-Record Selections



Written by John Pricci

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Friday, June 17, 2016


BELMONT PARK LATE PICK 4 ALL-ENTRANT ANALYSIS


Analysis Via Promotional Arrangement with http://www.123BET.com


RACE 7 MAIDEN CLAIMING F & M 3 & UP 1 MILE WIDENER TURF

1-Fired Up Sensation (3-1) owns highly competitive Pricci Energy Ratings, drops into maiden claimer for first time (Clement 29%, profitable) with switch to Leading rider Ortiz and first-Lasix (28%, profitable. Obvious strong contender.
2-Truly Bound (12-1) drops into claimer first time for Tony Dutrow (24%, profitable). Outrun lone turf start and one of dam’s two winners have won on grass. Switches to Irad.
3-Tiz Twice (5-2) showed marked improvement with early speed when dropped to this level and stretched to route last out. Bred for distance both sides, dam’s five winners include three on turf, and Alvarado on the re-ride. Sharp blowout, very solid contender.
4-Say Cin Cin (12-1) drops into claimer for first time since November 2015and raced competitively despite rough trip in lone grass try; switch to Luis Saez
5-French Dressing (15-1) placed twice in four turf starts, two on this course; last raced in claimer October 2015; goes first-time for Gyarmati (20%, profitable) and gets switch to Lezcano; viable price shot on early line.
6-Mo’s Ginny (6-1) was a good second in lone start under similar conditions at two now returns to that level in a LAY-2 situation for Albertrani, profitable when dropping in with maiden claimers; switch to Javier augurs well.
7-Charlotte’s Hope (30-1), the other Albertrani, makes second with serviceable pedigree and takes confident class rise after being non-threat in turf/racing debut; interesting.
8-More Than a Legend (8-1) drops into maiden claimer for first time but deep closer compromised with late run style and wide draw. Nevertheless, Kimmel 25% profitable on this type of drop.
9-Laquesta (4-1) had wide trip from wide post going 6F now drops into maiden claimer for the first time getting second Lasix (Ribaudo profitable) with distance pedigree on top side; obvious solid contender must overcome wide post.


RACE 8 ALLOWANCES 3 & UP 1-1/6 MILES INNER TURF


1-Eucalyptus (5-1) earned excellent PER winning turf/racing debut going 7 furlongs, gamely withstanding late stretch battle. Ortiz re-rides and nicely drawn for Hushion, profitable with both recent maiden winners (25%) and first-time long (28%).
2-Mark My Style (20-1) raced one-paced vs. open rivals last out earning field’s top PER winning New York-bred NW 2 allowances previously; 3-for-11 on turf and 1-for-7 doing anything else. Drawn inside with strong-finishing Arroyo; live price shot.
3- Security Risk (12-1) has disappointing profile given pedigree and connections but goes first-time 4YO for Shug, 23% efficient with 90-days+ layups.
4-Brother O’Connell (10-1)earned field's best Thoro-Graph figure last out, a lifetime best, is 3-for-8 on grass and goes for barn that’s profitable with its allowance types, but PERs lacking vs. this group. Mixed Signals.
5-Liberty Holiday (6-1) was Group 1 placed in native Argentina and should benefit from both U.S. starts this spring. Mott adds blinkers, Lezcano sticks; improvement expected here.
6-Zennor (6-1) showed marked improvement switching to grass and adding Lasix for last two as Spa 2YO. Reported first-gelding makes season’s debut for McLaughlin, 23% profitable with 90 days + layups, Irad sticks and strong upstate works. Could prove key.
7-Lost Iron (7-2) MAIN TRACK ONLY
8-Araquel (3-1) has been rallying too late for Chad going longer and could benefit greatly from turnback to shorter route; purposeful recent works and Castellano sticks.
9-Ice Cutter (10-1) earned competitive PER for Clement, 21% effective going dirt to turf. Makes season’s debut off very solid and steady workline.
10-Big Rock (10-1) was used hard in pace battle after brushed start in last over yielding ground following two excellent tries for Clement on firmer ground this winter. Switch to aggressive Carmouche suits Rock’s style.
11-Circus Performer (8-1) beat half the field after roughed start and wide trip in last for Todd, earning lifetime best PER, co-second fastest among today’s rivals.
12-Cadeyrn (4-1) MAIN TRACK ONLY
13-Mister Monolo (6-1) MAIN TRACK ONLY


RACE 9 CLAIMING 3 & UP 7 FURLONGS WIDENER TURF


1-Special Selections (12-1)
was a willing third in season’s debut despite wide trip and should benefit in return at winning level;c4-for-32 on turf, 1-for-25 on dirt. Reunites with Irad and Bruce Brown has small profit with LAY-2 runners; viable price shot.
2-City Steel (20-1) one third in three life starts on turf and dam’s three foals yet to produce turf winner. Popular at claim box; haltered four times in last six starts.
3-Street Shark (8-1) has shown affinity earning highly competitive and strong PERs in last two on turf. Takes significant drop for capable Chatterpaul and Arroyo sticks. Early line quote is fair.
4-Liberal Spin (4-1) drops to suitable level after beating half the field following stumbling start in recent Monmouth route. Highly likely to improve cutting back into sprint but looms underlay on early line.
5-The Imposter (5-1) remains at proper level after just missing in 6F Belmont return. Reunites with winning rider Saez and is good value at early line odds. Bullet in holster for this.
6-Regulus (6-1) MAIN TRACK ONLY
7-Dendrite (15-1) reunites with Carmouche who won two straight on gelded 7YO last fall, including one on this course. Lacks winning profile but is properly spotted with this group with sharp recent works and rates price shot chance here.
8-Frazil (20-1) venerable 10YO gelding hung late in rapidly run 6F My 21 now makes the mini-stretch to trip at which he’s 1-for-1 and is 1-for-2 on Belmont lawn. Switch to Franco augurs well and another likely price shot here.
9-Rapscallion (20-1) showed improvement despite trouble with re-addition of blinkers and return to turf last out for low profile barn profitable with its turf runners and in LAY-2 scenarios. Switch to Rosario augurs well; live price shot.
10-Midnight Notes (10-1) earned highly competitive PERs in last three starts, beaten 3/4s with belated, very wide rally. Drops a notch, switches to Lezcano for barn profitable with turfers and turnbacks; yet another viable price player here.
11-U S Citizen (5-2) drops to winning level and suitable, slightly longer trip after gamely third chasing pace throughout rapidly run 6F Belmont turf debut. Gelded 7YO switches to leading rider Ortiz for Jacobson, 27% effective with beaten favorites. Formidable favorite.
12-Thomas Hill (6-1) showed returned to best form last October on Belmont turf but has been away since. Contessa 13% but profitable with 90-days + layups and attracts Javier with sharp 5F work for this.
13-Tairneach (3-1) MAIN TRACK ONLY
14-Inca Saint (4-1) MAIN TRACK ONLY


RACE 10 MAIDEN CLAIMING F & M 3 & UP 6 FURLONGS INNER TURF


1-Great Lady (10-1) finished with a bit of interest at wire in debut at 2 and away since. Barn profitable with turf debut types but both of dam’s winners winless on grass. Solid steady workline, drops into maiden claimer and Alvarado sticks. Tricky read.
2-Stormin Saratoga (4-1) had some gate issues in off-turf debut going 7F, chasing the pace then stopping late. Todd 26% with second-time starters and gets Javier. More mixed signals.
3-Midaswellswings (20-1) showed some improved speed going 6F at huge odds in latest but is up against despite talent-challenged group.
4-Champagne Therapy (10-1) is uncoupled mate of ‘Lady’ also making turf debut for Schosberg. Dam’s four winners all winless on turf but gets switch to Ortiz; another guessing game.
5-U Do That (20-1) has shown improved early lick in both starts at 3 but hasn’t hit the board in five career turf starts.
6-Mary’s in Utopia (15-1) 5YO maiden has several races on his card that can win this, takes confident class ride with Arroyo on the re-ride. Zero for 19 but takes confident rise here.
7-Irish Actor (5-1) made promising season’s debut in 4th career start, had sharp blowout since and mare has produced four turf winners from five to win. Rice having profitable 2016 and switches to stable rider, Belmont leading J Ortiz. Good value on early line.
8-Rescue Cat (6-1) showed improvement in second lifetime start in course debut as 2015 juvenile now makes 3YO debut dropping into maiden claimer and getting Lasix for the first time. Weaver effective in LAY-2 scenarios.
9-Maybry’s Conquest (3-1) improved sharply in second start, her first on Belmont turf while making class rise. Uncoupled Weaver favorite earned field’s top PER on 3YO debut, showing good development. Saez tapped for the re-re-ride and looms worthy favorite.
10-Alyssa and a Lisa (8-1) drops into maiden claimer for first time in season’s debut, returning for Contessa, profitable with 90-days + layups. Purposeful workouts returning for barn having a solid meet.
11-Mind That Diamond (30-1) had tough trip but still tired badly late, lacking pedigree for barn winless at current meet.
12-Night Night Kitty (50-1) dam's produced a turf winner among three offspring to win and low-profile barn is 1-for-1 at meet and beaten off in four lifetime runs.
13AE-Double Mane (30-1) raced wide in turf debut two back then trailed following troubled start in last at big odds; extremely unlikely.

See Saturday's FRA for On-the-Record Selections

Handicapping sketches of last week’s Pick 4 winners/notable money finishers

JUST A GAME
8-Celestine (12-1) earned excellent Pricci Energy Rating winning G2 Honey Fox last out, showing good development at 4, is 2-for-2 on Belmont lawn and 3-for-4 at trip; value on early line.
MET MILE:
5-Frosted (7-2) was classy runnerup in last year’s Belmont and 1-for-1 at the trip. Given plenty of recovery after Dubai, working strongly at Greentree upstate, pace scenario and distance should suit and reunites with Rosario.
*12-Anchor Down (12-1) showed a new dimension winning G3 Westchester, confirming affinity for Belmont (5) 2-1-0 and earning excellent T-G and PER figures. Leading rider Ortiz sticks; value on early line quote.
MANHATTAN
10-Flintshire (8-5) was headed to United Nations but June 4 BEL work convinced Chad to stay home for this G1. Extremely high-class 6YO Euro world traveler has banked $7.3 million. Goes first-time Chad (30% profitable) with first Lasix and Javier; worthy favorite.
BELMONT
13-CREATOR (10-1) Rebel third and Arkansas Derby winner was completely eliminated by horrendous trip in the Derby. Also owns good turn of foot when called upon and all the pedigree that’s needed but as a deep closer, his style works against the grain of Belmont Stakes dynamics. Wide draw most likely will not hurt this deep rallier.
*2nd at 12-1

Written by John Pricci

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Friday, June 10, 2016


All Stakes/All Entrants Pick 4 Profiles; HRI Staff Picks Belmont 148


All Grade 1 Pick 4 Belmont Stakes Day
Exclusively for http://www.123BET.com via promotional consideration



RACE 8 Grade 1 JUST A GAME F & M 1 MILE WIDENER TURF

1-Strike Charmer (8-1)
won only start on Belmont turf but mile record is soft. Comes off career run with Joel and pole position. Need 8-1 or greater.

2-Recepta (6-1) comes off the roughest trip of the meet in Strike Charmer’s Beaugay, making remarkable finish for third. Strong contender with smoother journey.

3-Tapitry (15-1) has come into her own at 4 but is winless on Belmont ground after three tries and this is saltier than she’s used to.

4-La Berma (30-1) Group placed Euro battled on lead through U.S. debut at Santa before tiring in G2 Royal Heroine. Worked purposefully since but not sure what to expect here.

5-My Miss Sophia (8-1) ran off rankly setting the Beaugay pace in 2016 debut. One-for-two on BEL ground and third to Tepin in KEE G1 last fall. Switch to Smith augurs well.

6-Prize Exhibit (30-1) never had a stretch chance in Royal Heroine season’s debut has been competitive in long line G1s and G2s. Has won at trip thrice and gets switch to Prat. Interesting at early line odds.

7-Mrs. McDougal (4-1) blew the recent overnight stakes open with mid-move in Big A season’s debut, showing good Thoro Graph development at 4. She’s 2-for-2 at the trip, 3-for-4 with Ortiz, Chad 27% with repeaters and a 29% profit with this type of spacing.

8-Celestine (12-1) earned excellent Pricci Energy Rating winning G2 Honey Fox last out, showing good development at 4, is 2-for-2 on Belmont lawn and 3-for-4 at trip; value on early line.

9-Irish Rookie (10-1) Euro miler was Group 1 placed in Britain at 3 now makes U.S. debut in third start off the layup. Trainer Meade an unknown quantity in this scenario and looms legitimate dark horse. Not easily dismissible.

10-Faufiler (5-1) came from last with very wide rally for place in aforementioned Royal Heroine with Van Dyke, re-riding here. Owns worthy (8) 3-2-2 slate at trip, appears well pointed to this for Motion, profitable in graded events.

11-Lexie Lou (15-1) gave gritty stretch performance to win Canadian G2 last out and 2-for-3 at this trip. This is a completely different ballgame and returns on short rest.

12-Rainha Da Bateria (5-1) gained ground during fast mid-race fractions in G2 CD mile before altering course wide at headstretch, finishing gamely for place. Goes second time for Brown/Castellano.

13-Lady Lara (15-1) in-and-our mare is capable on her best day and lost all chance with wide trip in G2 Honey Fox and Lezcano sticks. Tricky read here.

RACE 9 Grade 1 METROPOLITAN MILE 3 & UP

1-El Kabeir (30-1) front-running gambit in G2 Dixie an apparent prep for return to dirt. Terranova 23% profitable in LAY-2 scenario and attracts Franco but this is ambitious spot.

2-Blofeld (10-1) apparently regressed in Oaklawn ‘Cap at inappropriately longer trip after game score in G2 GP ‘Cap at today’s flat-mile; 2-for-3 at trip, 1-for-2 at BEL. Tactical speed and kick with Johnny and inside position.

3-Donworth (20-1) broke maiden in one-turn 7F and hasn’t had that dynamic since. Has conditioning from recent routes and this a salty spot to prove affinity for the dynamics. Intriguingly placed by crafty outfit.

4-Noble Bird (9-2) blew the doors off taking G3 Pimlico Special by 11, owns fast figures on anybody’s scale and is (4) 2-1-0 at the trip. Regression candidate given short rest.

5-Frosted (7-2) was runnerup in last year’s Belmont and 1-for-1 at the trip. Given plenty of recovery after Dubai, working strongly at Greentree upstate, pace scenario and distance should suit and reunites with Rosario.

6-Upstart (20-1) has somewhat underachieved after promising early winter at 3 but has come back well at 4 and Oaklawn ‘Cap effort better than appears on paper. Had strong work in blinkers, added here, and reunites with Irad. Live price shot.

7-Stanford (5-1) did all the dirty work and just missed given these dynamics in G2 GP ‘Cap—probably best. Dynamics-aided in CT Classic. Tough spot but good spacing and suited to the task.

8-Ami’s Flatter (6-1) was super-sharp taking 7F G3 Commonwealth at KEE. Has good spacing into this, strong works at WO base for toughest test of career. Dynamics, draw suits.

9-Sloane Avenue (15-1) Group placed Euro has preferred dirt pedigree and Noseda alive live shipping to U.S. and attracts Geroux. Money prospects if the price is right--early line +

10-Tamarkuz (20-1) had tough trip when 4th in 2015 Met Mile. Proven classy and McLaughlin 23% profitable with 90 days+ returnees. Dynamics, post suits; early line money prospects.

11-Calculator (10-1) just missed in G1 Carter then returned with dogged-finish placing in CD G2, also at 7F, earning excellent PER. Won only start at this trip, dynamics suit and Alvarado sticks.

12-Anchor Down (12-1) showed a new dimension winning G3 Westchester, confirming affinity for Belmont (5) 2-1-0 and earning excellent T-G and PER figures. Leading rider Ortiz sticks; value on early line quote.

13-Marking (8-1) is back home after being unsuited by dynamics in Godolphin Mile. Has won here, at the trip and was second to Runhappy in 7F G1 Malibu in 3YO finale; player here reuniting with Lezcano.


RACE 10 Grade 1 MANHATTAN 4 & UP 1-1/4 MILES INNER TURF

1-World Appeal (12-1) 10 furlongs may be a stretch but does have bottom side to do it, handles any ground, has tactical speed, pole position and dynamics and goes for en fuego Casse/Leparoux team. Eligible to trip out in this spot.

2-Slumber (10-1) Grade 1 tough and world class grinder sometimes gets there, sometimes not. Goes LAY-2 for Chad/Irad team but likely to be pace compromised.

3-Wake Forest (10-1) flashed extreme turn of foot, getting up in time to win G1 Man o’ War on this course going away late under masterful handling from Johnny; second of Chad’s quartet appears suited to added ground but back a little quickly here.

4-Take the Stand (15-1) has shown more maturity at 5 and was good visually taking G2 Muniz at FG this winter. Mott pointing here but loses Prado to Divisidero and no trip experience.

5-Big Blue Kitten (6-1) was pace and trip compromised when beaten 4 lengths as the favorite in G1 season’s debut in CD Turf Classic; gained conditioning and sharpness for today’s stretch to 10F and will relish return to BEL lawn (7) 4-2-0.

6-Ironicus (4-1) began to show his true talents and 4 and did nothing to dissuade that opinion taking G3 Ft Marcy prep for this beneath today’s rider, Irad. Obviously likes course (3) 2-0-1 and bred both sides for 10F G1 debut.

7-Oathkeeper (30-1) is a Euro ship-in lacking big time resume but goes as a reported first gelding and French horse attracts Florent. Unknown quantity but appears overmatched.

8-Triple Threat (30-1) is Canadian G1 placed and was unlucky when he had to leap over a fallen rival at CD, losing his rider. Not the ideal way to enter this spot.

9-Grand Tito (20-1) was favored and stalked Pan Am 12F pace from close range, mid-moved to lead, but weakened late. Sheds five pounds and shorter trip helps but may be GP specialist.

10-Flintshire (8-5) was headed to United Nations but June 4 BEL work convinced Chad to stay home for this G1. Extremely high-class 6YO Euro world traveler has banked $7.3 million. Goes first-time Chad (30% profitable) with first Lasix and Javier; worthy favorite.

11-Divisidero (8-1) has continued his development at 4, especially given game score despite being trip and dynamics compromised in G1 CD Turf Classic. Pedigree and connections [Buff profitable in graded stakes] say yes to LAY-3 10F stretchout.


RACE 11 THE BELMONT STAKES 3YO 1-1/2 MILES


1-GOVERNOR MALIBU (12-1) won Tesio prep but bypassed the Preakness for this, a spot in which Christophe Clement scored with Tonalist in 2014. Peter Pan winner Unified was either feeling the effects of early exertions, pedigree challenged or lost focus. All that doesn’t obscure New York bred’s strong finish placing. Blinkers have helped big time, so does pedigree and his chemistry with Joel Rosario. Money prospects.

2-DESTIN (6-1)
, was trip compromised in the Derby but ironically bore into the sometimes obstreperous Lani, instead of the other way around. Like ‘Brody’, comes in five weeks fresh and figures to be a pace factor from close range, especially given his inside draw. More than a grinder, he can kick strongly but appears pedigree challenged on dam’s side. Javier and inside aids.

3-CHERRY WINE (8-1)
, uncoupled mate of Brody, had his freshening before his excellent Preakness placing. Generally underrated, he owns the best turn of foot in this field and given that could blow this race open with a strong mid-race move from the inside, a la Summing in ’81. Corey Lanerie saves ground. Solid 1:00 breeze over ‘Big Sandy’ June 4. Upset potential.

4-SUDDENBREAKINGNEWS (10-1)
is, given Belmont Stakes dynamics, up against it as a deep closer. But like trainer Von Hemel said, he will be closer to the leaders at a steady comfortable pace given marathon fractions. This is not ideal for a horse that loves to come from the clouds but he never fails to fire and is very stoutly bred. Like two other major contenders, he comes in here five weeks fresh. Live price shot.

5-STRADAVARI (5-1)
chased a strong wet-track Preakness pace while racing wide throughout in only his fourth lifetime start and was beaten only four lengths, an excellent try. Returning on short rest is not exactly in Pletcher’s wheelhouse but these are special circumstances. The colt’s route-challenged genes in this young talent’s major concern; looms underlay.

6-GETTYSBURG (30-1)
has been recruited by his owners likely to serve as a rabbit for strong finishing stablemate Creator. Encouraging is a stout pedigree and a nine-furlong, two-turn maiden breaker, but that’s it in seven starts. As for the barn transfer prior to a classic, old school racing officials are spinning in their chairs. Nice colt; not today.

7-SEEKING THE SOUL (30-1)
like most Fipke home-breds, he owns a classy and stout pedigree and comes up to the added ground perfectly, stretching out incrementally in three straight starts. But here he jumps from eight furlongs to 12 and from maiden company into a Grade 1. Stewart has had longshot classics success and Geroux is an elite rider. But the Belmont, really? Underlay on early line.

8-FOREVER D’ORO (30-1)
turned his fortunes around when he got to Long Island, breaking maiden in his first start over Big Sandy. Royally bred by Medaglia d’Oro from a Kentucky Oaks winning mare, he has all the DNA needed for the grueling 12 furlongs. Obviously, this is an ambitious spot.

9-TROJAN NATION (30-1)
was absolutely and unequivocally eliminated when sloughed from the #1 slip in the Derby. While still winless in seven starts, he was the runnerup in the G1 Wood and trainer Patrick Gallagher is capable and is no shot-taker. Obviously, he thinks he can get the distance and his pedigree says he can. Still, this poor horse…

10-1 LANI (20-1)
it’s not often when connections use the Derby and Preakness as preps for the Belmont, but this is the race they have pointed for. This sometimes insensible colt has been getting his act together little by little. The thing about him is that he likes Belmont Park, always finishes his races, and is bred to run from here to, well, Japan. Another live price shot.

11-EXAGGERATOR (9-5)
the Recuperater. The image that the Santa Anita Derby winner made after winning the Preakness was the energy he showed after the race, nudging against the pony while his jockey was being interviewed. He’s done nothing to dissuade since that gas remains in the tank and is more tactical then generally acknowledged. Desormeaux likes Exaggerator’s post: “It lets him get comfortable with no dirt in his face My dream run would be to be forwardly placed.” If not, there’s plenty of racetrack to work with later on. Strong favorite.

12-BRODY’S CAUSE (20-1)
had sneaky good run when seventh in the Derby and comes into this five weeks fresh. Excellent work pattern, including a strong gallop-out following strong mile breeze at CD in 1:42, followed by subsequent solid five-eighths. Among stoutest bred in here; live upsetter. Post draw most likely neutral but did him no favors. Great value on early line.

13-CREATOR (10-1) Rebel third and Arkansas Derby winner was completely eliminated by horrendous trip in the Derby. Also owns good turn of foot when called upon and all the pedigree that’s needed but as a deep closer, his style works against the grain of Belmont Stakes dynamics. Wide draw most likely will not hurt this deep rallier.


STAFF PICKS


TOM JICHA

1. Lani
--Settled Down, Upsetter
2. Exaggerator--Horse to Beat
3. Cherry Wine--Belmont Perfect Fit
4. Destin--The "Other" Pletcher.

MARK BERNER

1. Exaggerator - Loaded and ready.
2. Creator - Closer with rabbit.
3. Governor Malibu - Belongs with these.
4. Brody's Cause - Best value.

INDULTO

1) Exaggerator - Most Deserving Favorite
2) Suddenbreakingnews - Trouble-Free Jockey Upgrade?
3) Creator - Rabbit Reveals Intentions
4) Brody's Cause - Morning Line Overlay

JOHN PRICCI

1-Exaggerator – Top Class, Fastest
2-Brody’s Cause – 2 Grade 1s, Fresh
3-Lani – Relentless, Loves Belmont
4-Governor Malibu – Perfect Pan Prep

See Saturday's Feature Race Analysis for On-the-Record Selections, courtesy of 123GAMING.com

Written by John Pricci

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