The holiday is here and before we fire up the grill we have a really good ten race card at Belmont Park this afternoon, with the feature being the $150,000 Poker Handicap (G3) at one mile on the grass.
I have a little added incentive to cash a few tickets over the next couple of weeks, as my central air conditioning went kaput yesterday afternoon, and the technician charged me $79 to let me know I am going to have to fork over about five grand for a new unit.
Yeah, it looks like I may pay special attention to the Pick 4 this week.
The Poker Handicap drew a field of ten, although four in the field are cross entered in today’s $100,000 Red Bank (G3) at Monmouth Park so the field figures to be lighter.
The Christophe Clement trained Right One is the pick. The gelding stretches out from a game runner up finish in the Jaipur (G3) going seven furlongs.
The gelding will vie for favoritism with Compliance Officer, who has won seven of his last eight starts and had turned out to be a fantastic claim by Bruce Brown, who took the gelding at the claim box for $25,000 back in May of 2011.
Also on today’s card is the $90,000 Endear, which goes off as the fourth race on the card.
The race is restricted to fillies and mares that have not won an open stake in 2012, with the Rick Dutrow entry of Acting Happy and Tiz the Argument the 8-5 morning line favorites.
I hope everyone has a very enjoyable 4th of July!
To purchase my full card report for Belmont Park click here
Here is today’s opening from Belmont Park to get the day off to a good start:
BEL Race 1 Clm $20,000B (12:50 ET)
1 Bedarra 7-2
5 Bay Head Beauty 5-2
6 To the Point 6-1
3 Another Please 5-1
Analysis: Bedarra came up the inside with a good late rally and as no match for the winner in a runner up finish versus open $20K claimers at Monmouth Park. The winner Cavallo Murano came back to finish third and sixth against Alw-1 foes in her next two starts. The mare was claimed for just $6.5K three back by the Servis barn that has been sending out live runners at the meet, landing 10 of 19 in the exacta. She looks well spotted here dropping from an open claimer in to face non-winners of three or a race on turf in six months.
Bay Head Beauty makes her first start off a 3 1/2 month break and her first go for the Dutrow barn that is 33% winners (with a +ROI) first off the claim. Last out the filly tracked the early pace and came up empty in the stretch in a seventh place finish against $30K non-winners of three for the Servis barn. She beat $20K non-winners of two in her previous start by a head. She comes back fresh for a barn that is solid with layoff types, hitting at a 31% clip (with a +ROI) with horses coming back off a 61-180 day break. She figures to bounce back with a better effort in this spot.
WIN: #1 to win at 5-2 or better.
EX: 1,5 / 1,3,5,6
TRI: 1,5 / 1,3,5,6 / 1,3,5,6,7
Today's Featured Race of the Day from Belmont Park:
BEL Race 9 The Poker Hcp G3 (5:06 ET)
9 Right One 3-1
1 Compliance Officer 5-2
3 Queen'splatekitten 6-1
6 Clear Attempt 6-1
Analysis: Right One stretches out from the seven furlong Jaipur (G3) on June 8 where the gelding came with a good five wide rally to close for the runner up spot, beaten ¾ of a length to Upgrade. The gelding makes his third start since coming back off a five month layoff and the extra furlong here should suit. He is a two time winner over the grass here and checked in third in this race last year after winning the Island Sun at today’s distance. The Clement barn has been on a roll on turf at this meeting, winning with 17 of 59 starters over the lawn including the New York Stakes (G2) last weekend with Mystical Star. It looks as if there will be enough pace to set things up for him, but four of these are cross entered in the Red Bank (G3) at Monmouth Park, so we need to keep an eye on where those four runners end up.
Compliance Officer has won seven of eight starts since the Bruce Brown barn claimed this guy for just $25,000 last May where the gelding ran fourth in a state bred second level optional claimer. He reeled off five straight for the new connections including three New York bred stakes. The streak ended when he was over matched in the Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1). He came back in the Claiming Crown and took the Emerald at Fair Grounds, and then got a 5 ½ month vacation. His return race on May 27 winning the state bred Kingston was impressive, and he has now won half of his 14 starts over the Belmont Park turf.
Queen’splatekitten is one of four in this race that are cross-entered in the Red Bank at Monmouth Park. The Todd Pletcher trainee is coming off a fourth place finish over the polytrack at Woodbine in the Eclipse (G3). The colt pressed the early pace, was taken back to stalk and then finished evenly, beaten 6 ½ lengths. The winner Hunter’s Bay came back to win the Dominion Day Stakes (G3) in his next outing at Woodbine on July 1. The colt makes his third start off the bench and while he is just 1 for 5 on turf he has landed in the exacta in all five trips including runner up finishes in the Saranac (G2) and Palm Beach (G3). The barn is 35% winners (with a +ROI) moving runners from the fake stuff to turf. He fits here with his best if he sticks in New York and does not make the trip to Jersey.
WIN: #9 to win at 2-1 or better.
EX: 1,9 / 1,3,6,9
TRI: 1,9 / 1,3,6,9 / 1,3,4,6,9
These are price plays for exotic players looking to find a couple of extra contenders to use in their trifecta and superfecta wagers. Or for those with smaller bankrolls, you might want to get in a small win-place wager.
R3: #3 Catalonia 10-1
R5: #3 Form Fitting 8-1
R7: #10 Court of Dreams 20-1
R7: #7 She’s Always Hot 10-1
R10: #3 Easy Street 12-1
Good luck today!