Belmont Park 10/29/16
Grade III 3-year-olds and Up; 7 Furlongs Dirt
Post Time: 2:08 PM PST
Bold Ruler Handicap
Analysis by Michael Patricks
Just eight fateful days remain until the beginning of the Breeders’ Cup World Championships to be run on Friday, November 4th and Saturday, November 5th. Thirteen Breeders’ Cup races will be run over the two days, so check back next week for a free preview and analysis of racing’s biggest weekend as Santa Anita Park is sure to be set on its ear.
This weekend’s installment will preview the Bold Ruler Handicap. It’s a 7-furlong test for 3-year-olds and upwards and a baker’s dozen have passed the entry box for this one. With inclement weather always a factor at this time of year, please keep an eye on the weather forecast, as this analysis is written with a fast track in mind for all. Showers are predicted for Sunday at Belmont Park, but one never knows what the weather gods have in mind. By the way, did you know in Roman mythology and religion that Jupiter was the god of sky and thunder, serving as the king of the gods, equivalent to that of the Greek ruler, Zeus? Just figured with all the wet weather we’ve had locally and will continue to have leading up to the Breeders’ Cup that it bared mentioning.
1-Green Gratto 20/1 ML-Hand is undisputedly forced by drawing the inside slot today as his main speed nemesis is just two spots over and in plain view as they leave the starting gate. ‘Gratto is probably quicker than Gentrify and he should be in front early, but with such a large cast signed on, don’t expect him to be able to take a coffee break from the 5/8ths pole to the 3/8ths pole, where he would have plenty left in the tank to possibly hold off the barrage of quality horses who will be coming for him in earnest. The last time he tried Grade 3 types was here at Belmont Park where he hustled himself up to attend the pace and then gave up the ghost rather easily from there at a big number, and finished a nondescript fifth. Splitting this field appears to be a likely outcome, but last time I checked they don’t take wagers on who may run seventh; can’t live with him.
2-Threefiveindia 6/1 ML-Lightly raced sophomore from the potent Chad Brown barn shows up in here lesser fancied than his stable mate Economic Model who will likely be a small favorite at post time. ‘India broke his maiden from the fence (extra points awarded) in his debut and then was thrown to the wolves in the Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland, beaten by Brody’s Cause and Exaggerator, a couple horses you may recognize. Breaking from the rail in his 3 year-old debut, ‘India once again raised eyebrows at a price, powering away to a big score in a race that featured two next out winners right behind him. Off a brief freshener, this one was able to get the job done professionally against older runners in a Saratoga optional claimer, and then last time in his Grade 3 debut, he lunged/stumbled at the start, before rallying nicely up a dull rail at Parx, finishing a quality third to Noholdingback Bear. Castellano will stick around to ride and you get the better price in his corner compared to his stable mate. Third off the layoff is often a horse’s best performance and this one will sit right in behind early leaders with a perfect ground saving trip. He looks made for seven furlongs with the two 6.5 furlong scores on his resume; the pick.
3-Gentrify 30/1 ML- First the positives: This former claimer has never been better and shows up here looking for three in a row. Gentrify comes from a small claiming outfit but nevertheless hails from a barn that wins with 20 percent of its runners from a limited sample size. He’s three out of six at the distance and has made over $100,000 running at 7 furlongs. The negatives: This guy could have been had for $12,500 earlier this spring. He has shown an inability to pass horses and almost certainly will not have the lead in this one unless Green Gratto misses the break. Coming off his lifetime number, it’s reasonable to expect a large regression on Saturday with the step up into Grade 3 company. I can’t fault his connections for drinking the Kool-Aid and rolling the dice with him here on the one hand as the horse has shown that he deserves a chance to compete with better runners at this point. However, I would quibble with you if you think this guy will be lighting up the tote board with a gritty tooth and nail performance on the front end Saturday; would be a shocker.
4-Economic Model 3/1 ML- Other Chad Brown trainee and likely post time favorite made a name for himself in the Belmont Stakes undercard where he galloped home by daylight, and handed the Bob Baffert trainee Cupid his head in the process. Last time out, ‘Model fought on bravely in the Grade 1 King’s Bishop, finishing second to Drefong, who will be supported in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint at Santa Anita, and deserves credit for making up ground on a track that was lightning fast that day (See Arrogate). Brown has put five works into the morning line favorite and appears to have worked this one in company with Threefiveindia last time. As it’s my proven style, I’m always looking to find holes in the favorite and value elsewhere. A couple things are worrisome about this guy: His regular rider has decided to defect to Stallwalkin’ Dude, and he picks up Joel Rosario. Certainly Rosario may be an upgrade to some, but one would think Ortiz made the call to get off him. Secondly, as mentioned, he was second to one of the chief contenders in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint. If he was doing as well as he appears to look on paper, wouldn’t they give him a shot at Santa Anita for $1,500,000, instead of showing up here for a mere $200,000 where he loses his jock? The talent is there–no one doubts that whatsoever. But, when it comes to backing the favorite, I need more to hang my hat on, and especially in such a big field. The economic model of backing him at the odds does not work for me.
5-Mylute 20/1 ML- Six-year-old Grey adds blinkers today for first time in a long time in an effort to get him into the race earlier than usual. This guy has been handled with relative ease by the outside charge and that one figures to be a decent price in this affair. Picks up yet another new rider today and this barn is 0 for 15 with graded stakes entrants and the barn has had little success with adding blinkers for the first time. Can’t fault this outfit for trying to shake things up a bit, but I respectfully submit you’ll see this morning line price better than double at post time, and for good reason to boot; difficult to embrace—Pasadena.
6-Stallwalkin’ Dude 7/2 ML- Definition of a race horse in that he runs on anything and everything and does so all day long. As mentioned above, Ortiz sticks around to ride this guy and gets off the favorite to do it, which is a statement in itself. Trainer David Jacobson always has them ready to go and this guy is no exception. Last time out he ran huge in the Grade 1 Vosburgh before getting collared late at 7/1. Logically, the drop from Grade 1 to Grade 3 would make him a heavy hitter in this one and you know he’s tough as nails at the top of the stretch. Each time ‘Dude has had a triple digit Beyer he’s regressed in his follow up start. He’ll have to follow up his co-lifetime number with another big effort again on Saturday, which he’s certainly more than capable of doing. Understanding that this guy is honest as a day is long, you’d be a fool not to include him in your plans, however, his value is a bit in question insofar as a win bet is concerned. Believe he hits the board but will have to settle for a silver or bronze medal on Saturday.
7-Liberty Holiday 30/1ML- Team Valor hopeful quite ambitiously placed for this. Took him five starts to break through first level allowance types and had to ship to a softer circuit to get the job done. At least his rider arrives with him here from his victory last time out so it’s maybe not quite the Hail Mary play it would seem at first blush, but make no mistake about that he’s got his work cut out for him in this affair. His lifetime Beyer of an 85 would not be enough to make most of these sweat, and he returns to the circuit where he gained his battle scars after having been blitzkrieged; can’t recommend.
8-Ami’s Flatter 5/1 ML- Well-traveled colt is very game and can fire a big number when it’s not entirely expected of him. This son of Flatter rallied nicely last time in the Phoenix at Keeneland and fired a live number in the process. A closer look into his past performances reveals that he relishes 7 furlongs, as evidenced by his unblemished record at the distance in three starts. On the downside, you don’t always get his best effort when he runs and the last time he raced without the standard amount of time he normally takes between races he flopped as the chalk at Gulfstream in a Grade 3. Jekyll and Hyde types typically get you in trouble when you’re trying to guess how they’re feeling on a given day, and with yet another new rider signed on for this event, I’m going to make him prove it to me again. Is he capable? Absolutely. Yet, you simply can’t wager on them all and I will try to get around him on Saturday.
9-Dannie’s Deceiver 20/1ML- Came home quite bedraggled and resoundingly defeated in the Vosburgh, beating only one home in the slop and making no impact on the race in any regard. Morning line odds are doubled for the drop into Grade 3 company here and will have to make up at least seven lengths on Stallwalkin’ Dude to make an imprint. His races going back to the summertime here at Belmont make him a fringe player, but the most hardened handicapper would be hard pressed to recognize any of the horses from his company lines in the races he won. Would like to tell you that he should move up if the race comes up sloppy, but he was flat as a Coors Lite sitting in the September sun when he ran in the mud last time out. You’ll be handsomely rewarded if you bet on him and he brings his “A game” on Saturday, but I’m telling you now not to be deceived if he doesn’t; he’ll have to prove he can pour the cold water down my back.
10-Cadeyrn 15/1 ML- Sophomore really seems to enjoy a good street fight and he’ll have all that and more waiting for him in this spot. Love that his Beyer numbers continue to climb and that he’s tenacious when headed. Expect this guy to be prominent early, and up and on the early gallop, within shouting range of Green Gratto and Gentrify, looking to get his licks in on them. The truth is you’ve got a hot horse here who could be getting better and better with each race, but the inevitability when you look and hard at his form is that he hasn’t shown that he can stalk and pounce the way he will need to in order to make it three straight victories. He’s not the worst stab in the dark in this spot but I’m going to need to see him do it against this quality before you call me a believer; may be pace compromised.
11- Farhaan 20/1 ML- Meaning merry or happy in Arabic, this guy most assuredly has provided that type elation and optimism to his connections after red tagging him for a scant $40,000 in a claiming race this summer at Saratoga. From there, Farhaan missed by a mere length in the Bernard Baruch (Grade 2) and ran on nicely in the Commonwealth from Laurel last out, beaten just over two lengths. Today, the hood will be added in order to keep him close in tow and avoid falling too far backwards. Farhaan isn’t really a sprinter and prefers a mile or more in terms of distance, so this placement for him is a bit auspicious to be sure. While it’s understandable his connections may want to take a home run cut with him feeling they got themselves a bargain at the claim box, it’s just as understandable that as a handicapper my concern is that he’s tackling too many new obstacles at once on Saturday; home run or strike out coming from this guy, but I’ll be shading the latter.
12-Face of Winner 30/1 ML- Yet another who wants to stalk and press and will have to do so from an outside trip. He’s been well handled this year and his connections probably feel they owe him an opportunity to strut his stuff against some of the best on the circuit. The problem with that thinking is that he’s essentially a poor man’s version to the balance of his competition in terms of speed and running style. He’s not fast enough to be prominent early and his turn of foot rates well below others that he will be facing in here on Saturday. Equally discouraging is the irrefutable reality that his rider that won with him last time bails on him for another horse with very little chance to win this race himself. Up goes a rider who has never seen him before and the six wide in a six horse field thing that worked for him last time will result in a back end trifecta performance in this spot. He has a better chance than the Libertarian party does in the upcoming election, but having said that, I’ll be stupefied if the face of this guy emerges to victory on Saturday; thanks, but no thanks, I’m not buying the knock off brand.
13-Touchofstarquality 5/1 ML- Tenacious son of Mineshaft has been working a hole in the wind for his trainer, Michelle Nevin. This guy loves the Belmont main, six out of seven in the exacta and never missed hitting the board. Coming off the layoff, he should be fresh and should also break sharp enough to get him in the race early and keep him out of an extremely wide trip. It’s possible that this guy could overrace early and he likes to take horses head on, so it’s fair to wonder whether he and Cadeyrn might get to know each other pretty well up the Belmont backstretch. Hanging over his head is the fact he’s a six year-old who had never tested graded stakes company before and this will be a whole new kettle of fish for him in terms of a competition standpoint. Understandably, Rosario goes to Economic Model, but Jose Ortiz has plenty of experience with him, including having defeated Breeders’ Cup Classic bound and Woodward Stakes winner Shaman Ghost on May 21st. Believe he will make his presence felt throughout in this one but will likely have to work out a trip and avoid losing precious ground if he’s to get there on Saturday; must use in your verticals.