Handicapping research from this point forward will be devoted to all Breeders’ Cup all the time, not because we’re a glutton for punishment but because, like looking into the eyes of the sun, that’s where the fun–and money–is.
But horseplayers still need to work on their bankrolls because there’s not enough money on the planet for the average player to attack the 14 races with a complete game plan.
Two-thousand dollar Dime Supers only come along when the conditions are right, namely highly competitive races with big fields. Even with layover favorites, verticals and horizontals can provide scores. If you’re right, you are likely to be rewarded accordingly.
There are three interesting stakes on Saturday’s Belmont Park program and that’s where we will take our swings: we’ll
The Zagora Stakes is at a mile and a half on the Widener course, ground which will have some cut and moisture in it.
Mutamakina is making her U. S. debut for Christophe Clement of a near three-month layup with Lasix and stable rider Joel Rosario in the boot. When last seen in the Group 1 Jean Romanet at Deauville he finished eighth beaten less than six lengths. She finished second in a Gr. 2 last year at 3.
Lemon Zip (15-1) is interesting even if she is winless this year. She’s been meeting consistently tougher and very likely has been pointed here after finishing third in this race last year. Dylan Davis sticks off a 17-length defeat and trainer Niall Saville re-adds blinkers.
Olympic Games is an uncoupled mate of Mutamakina also coming off a brief freshening and dropping out of the Grade 3 Waya. But her prior was a game placing over this course and at this trip. The presence of Irad Ortiz suggests she’s not in here just for an outing.
I wish that’s all there were, but not so. Cap De Creus, Lucky Stride, Luck Money and Cambeliza are all either fast enough or forward looking on figures. It’s a skull buster that will be, obviously, trip and odds dependent at the bottom line. The right mix would be a certain Breeders’ Cup bankroll maker.
The Awad Stakes for juveniles at a mile and a sixteenth on the inner has attracted a field of 12, excluding one also-eligible, and precisely half of them can win. From the rail out:
ShawdyshawdyShawdy (5-1) deserves another chance after being virtually eliminated at the start of the G2 Pilgrim at Saratoga. Catman won the Laurel Futurity last out for Mike Maker, who’s 18% effective with horses attempting to repeat.
Kidnapped was third to Catman in that event with an eventful journey, getting caught in tight when the running began after giving his handlers fits at the gate. Space Launch sat cozily off slow fractions as a perfect trip winner in debut, but did so running his final quarter-mile in 22.20–assuming the timing poles were correctly placed.
Finally, It Can Be Done did it, wire to wire taking Monmouth’s Nownownow with a very solid turf mile in in 1:37 2/5–but can he repeat with Lasix off?
Wooten Asset nearly won his U. S. debut despite a troubled beginning and laughably slow fractions, narrowly beaten by Catman but moved forward nicely, as did Step Dancer despite the rise to graded company off a lone maiden debut win.
The nominal feature is the Grade 3 Bold Ruler Handicap; that’s no typo, an actual handicap and not a stakes.
Share the Ride (5-2)is the main speed and could shake loose. He finished a competitive third in his lone Belmont start but never has gone 7 furlongs.
Arch Cat (10-1) lacks Belmont experience but has hit the board in 4 of 5 starts at this trip, including a win. Danny Velasquez and Kendrick Carmouche certainly had a lot of fun on Empire Showcase Day and reunite here. Velazquez is a worthy 28% with his beaten favorites and interestingly, profitable in his career with sprinters with a huge sample.
However, Phat Man is a deserving 2-1 early favorite as he gets major class relief, dropping from three consecutive stakes vs. tougher rivals. The rub is that he hasn’t started since February and this might be a get-started-for-winter outing.
Mitigating that is the fact this gelded six-year-old has a (2) 1-1-0 Belmont slate. He’s not gone 7 furlongs but he’s won twice at a mile, once at today’s one-turn configuration. Trainer Kent Sweeney caught the eye last winter at Tampa and of his runner’s five most recent workouts, four have been of the bullet variety.
Check back on Saturday morning for a betting template with suggested plays. Below, ICYMI, a reprint from last weekend’s Empire Showcase Day grid
“BELMONT PARK EMPIRE SHOWCASE DAY
Mohawk — Race 8
PROJECTED WINNER: Somelikeithotbrown (9-5)
VALUE BET: Cross Border (5-2) to win at early odds or greater
EXOTICA: Exacta box top two. Trifecta box top two with Therapist (5-1). Trifecta box top two with Rinaldi (3-1).
PROJECTED WINNER: Prairie Fire (8-1) 2nd at 12.80-1
VALUE BET: Prairie Fire to win at 6-1 or greater
EXOTICA: Exacta key-box Prairie Fire with newly Minted (5-2), Officer Hutchy (6-1) and Collegeville Girl (15-1).Dime Super Key Prairie Fire first and second with exacta horses, using them plus Spin A Yarn (8-1) and Timely Tradition (5-1) third and fourth.
PROJECTED WINNER: Mr. Buff (5-2)
VALUE BET: Mr. Buff to win at 2-1 or greater
EXOTICA: Exacta and Trifecta box Mr. Buff, Funny Guy (2-1) and Evaluator (10-1)”
$1 Exacta: $207.00
50-Cent Trifecta: $980.00
Dime Super: $2,081.95
BELMONT PARK: Saturday, OCT 31, 2020
MOST PROBABLE WINNER: Mutamakina (5-2)
VALUE BET: Luck Money (8-1) to win at 5-1 or greater
EXOTICA: Three horse exacta box Beau Belle (4-1), Mutamakina (5-2) and Luck Money (8-1). Dime Super wheel three exacta horses in top three slots, adding Lemon Zip (15-1) and Cambeliza (15-1) in third and fourth positions
MOST PROBABLE WINNER: Wootten Asset (4-1)
VALUE BET: Kidnapped (10-1) at 5-1 or greater
EXOTICA: Exacta box Wootten Asset and Kidnapped. Trifecta key wheel the exacta horses first and second and first and third, completing the play with Shawdyshawdyshawdy (5-1), Step Dancer (8-1) and It Can Be Done in second and third positions.
G3 BOLD RULER HANDICAP
MOST PROBABLE WINNER: Phat Man (2-1) to win at 8-5 or greater
VALUE BET: None
EXOTICA: Exacta box Phat Man and Share the Ride (5-2)
(Suggested Wagers always at minimums available; the rest is your call)
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