Slew's Races to Watch: The Belmont Turf
The turf at Belmont Park has been running fast. Very fast. But fast in a curious way, because it doesn't appear to be restricted
to only the better grade of race. I'm seeing rather fast times across the entire spectrum of races. And since it is the horse
that runs fast and not the turf, and with Christmas in August fast approaching (Saratoga), I pay attention.
For example, on July 5th, the fifth race on the turf for 3 yr. old's was a 60K Starter Optional Claiming won by Quantity in
1:40.70. The final quarter was run in 23.71 and the last 16th in a strong 5.96 seconds. One race prior, a high level Maiden
Claiming race was run on the inner turf course for 3 & up at the same distance. And while the shape was a bit different (slow
early) based on the inner course configuration, the resulting finishing times were curious when compared to each other.
The Maiden Claimer ran the final quarter in 22.54 and the final 16th in 5.81. Both faster then the more accomplished 3 yr. old horses one
race later. What raised my eyebrows even higher was a comparison to race 8 on the same day. Race 8 was another 1 1/16th turf affair
also run on the inner. That race was won by Street Game, who's been running against some nice foes. That race saw the final quarter
run in 22.64 and the last 16th run in 5.80 seconds.
So while the 8th is a race to watch, so then is the 4th. Dominguez rode Last Starter to a nice win while in for 45K in a 50K
claimer. If she goes to Saratoga, she will be facing some tough allowance company or claimers (and winners) worth much more.
The place horse, Wandering Kitten ridden my Rosie Napravnik had a trip true to her name and with a straighter course would
have made a better impression on the charts. She lost by 2 lengths as the slight favorite and may also show up at the Spa. But
she will be a maiden still and probably a favorite given the troubled trip. The next two were separated by less than a length.
Watch for Lion prince in a paceless race if he is the only front runner. He was five lengths behind the winner which won't look good in the PP's. But considering the swift closing fractions, and the general swiftness of the turf course, that might work out just fine if the company is the right kind next time out.
As for horses to watch, I would keep an eye on the winner of the 7th, Madame Giry. Winning her MSW in fine style after being
risked in a 65K MClm race, she has a pedigree that gives her license to be a good racehorse. By Castledale, she has the Nureyev
blood. Her grand sire Peintre Celebre, won the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe in which he broke the track record by more than 3
seconds. She had not shown precocity in her 3 prior MSW races but that may just be her taking a bit longer to learn the game.
She was a late (April) foal and may need a bit more time. But on the 6th she was spotted well, she got a field she could handle and more importantly,
stayed in easy striking position with little effort and understood what to do when it was time to do it.
So however you see it, good luck and good 'capping! - Slew
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