Belmont opens Friday


After a short three day break following the end of the 40 day Saratoga Meet, New York racing returns downstate as Belmont Park opens their 38 day Fall Championship Meet with 4 somewhat short field but competitive stakes races this Friday through Sunday

Opening weekend has four stakes on the menu, starting with a brand new offering as the $100,000 Left Bank Stakes will be run at a mile on the main track on Friday. On Saturday the feature will change conditions dramatically as 3-year olds and up will travel a mile and a half on the Widener Turf in the Yankee Affair Stakes. Then the weekend wraps up Sunday with a double header, the $100,000 Sky Beauty Stakes for fillies and mares to be run at a mile on the main track and the $100,000 Real Courage Stakes for 3-year olds and up at seven furlongs on the Widener turf.

While these four stakes races are the figurative highlights of opening weekend there are a number of large fields that will provide significant overlay opportunity to in-the-know bettors.

For instance, take a look at the 3rd race on Friday. A casual bettor is going to be completely lost in this mile MSW test for 3-year old and up contenders. Just a quick glance at the last race each of the 8 entrants ran shows the difficulty in breaking it down.

Asian (3-1) – Finished second going a mile and an eight at Saratoga in the slop and has improved slightly in his last two. Today he adds blinkers with hope of reversing 5 failed tries to begin his career. Is it significant that in his career the colt shows no public works over the Belmont main track? And what does a player make of a horse going slop to fast track and two turns to one?

Point Hope (10-1) – Also finished second in the slop at 9 furlongs in his last at Saratoga, but did so in a 65K maiden claimer and like the rival to his inside will be making his 6th career start. He now steps back up to MSW ranks and the question is how much stock you put into a last out claim for that high amount by sharp (18%) claiming trainer Linda Rice.

Throwback (20-1) – The lone start to his career was at a mile and a sixteenth on turf at the Spa. The Bernardini colt raced greenly and showed nothing in an 18 lengths beaten effort. On its face the dull effort and rather late beginning to his career would indicate bettors should probably move right by him. But he is regally bred and trainer Bill Mott almost never, such as 4% never, has them ready at first asking and is 15% with second time starters and take the blinkers “off,” a move he is successful at 28% of the time.

Tout (6-1) – This is another Bill Mott trainee (uncoupled) and this one will be making his third career start. To support the contention above about Mott’s regimen, this son of Medaglia D’Oro (another regally bred colt) was a no show in his debut back in December at Gulfstream but made his return 5 weeks ago in an MSW two turn test at Monmouth and was a solid second after being steadied and in tight on the first turn.

Cee No More (15-1) – The Tiznow colt was up the track in a two turn MSW try on the grass at the Spa 19 days ago in career start number two and first since being haltered for 35K by current conditioner Joseph Mazza in his debut in April on the Aqueduct main track. The colt finished third in a one turn mile in that debut and returns to the same setup in here as a longshot for a conditioner who is 22% second off a layoff.

Cosmo Blue (5-1) – One of the few MSW colts that trainer Todd Pletcher didn’t debut at Saratoga, running him in a 6 furlong MSW sprint at Monmouth 19 days ago instead. Another Bernardini colt, he ran evenly and finished  4th of 11 in that event and figures to improve stretching out to a distance he is more favorably bred for by a conditioner who is 26% first time routing and 31% second career start. Figures to improve but why did Pletcher relegate him to Monmouth?

March Too (5-2) – Like Mott’s uncoupled entry this second time starter by War Pass completes a Pletcher uncoupled entry. And like his stable mate to the inside of him the colt stretches out from 6 furlongs to a mile so carries the same lofty percentages on the maneuver. He also figures, as the apparent lone speed who carved out rapid fractions in his debut at Saratoga 5 weeks back to set the pace clear of his competition. This factor however means you’ll have to find out if he can get the distance and find out at a considerably shorter price than his 5-2 morning line.

Rare Eagle (4-1) – Interestingly this is the third set of uncoupled stable mates in the race as the son of Birdstone is sent out by trainer Tom Albertrani, who will also saddle the rail horse. At this point in his career the maiden has become the quintessential “underneath” play in the exotics as he has collected a second and 5 third place finishes from 9 winless tries with two thirds from two mile attempts.

Maidens running over different surfaces from different race tracks and at different distances that have yet to prove they can win. Yet even in races like this, and there are a number of them on Friday’s opening day card, there are standards that can eliminate the underlay question marks and hopeless longshots and focus on the live value runners.

As I said, this is one race on a day that presents a handful, and one day in thirty-eight from which there will be more than fair shares of opportunity to take profit out of this race meet; if you can sift through all the factors and take advantage of the significant ones. I plan on doing it so stay with me. 


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