October 3, 2009

Belmont’s Grade 1 Day

Now if we could just have Grade 1 weather. Yes, I wake up a little disappointed this morning as much like Travers Day, it looks like another big day for NYRA is going to be wet. You never know with the weather, but right now Belmont looks likely to have a sloppy day. This changes things of course for the horses, jockeys, fans, and from my standpoint on the handicapping front. The horses that would have won on a fast track and a firm turf, may very well not win in the wet conditions. It is not often that one racetrack has five Grade 1 races in succession, so let’s still enjoy the quality horses running in big races, but…was a nice sunny day too much to ask? Oh well, at least Woodward Day was a beauty.

The Grade 1 Beldame - Music Note on dirt. Music Note on mud. Music Note in the slop. No odds here, so let’s single her in the Pick-3 and if you are really feeling ambitious, the Pick-6. I do not see her losing this one.

The Grade 1 Vosburgh - I was all set to try to beat favorite Fabulous Strike with the Belmont loving Munnings, but I have lost confidence in his chances of running down the favorite on a wet track. Fabulous Strike is a monster at 6 furlongs and likes a wet track. He should be able to handle Go Go Shoot, who might not like the slop, pretty early and will be long gone. More chalk, so I am relying heavily on the exotics and getting off to a good start in the Pick-4.

The Grade 1 Flower Bowl - I think Pure Clan is the best horse in the race, but I think her advantage actually moves down on a soft turf. Her main rival Dynaforce certainly appreciates plenty of cut to the turf as evidenced by last year’s Flower Bowl and now becomes an even bigger threat. Because of this, I expect bettors to make Dynaforce the favorite and while I fear her, I am sticking with Pure Clan. She is all class, can handle a wet turf and is unlucky to not have an even better record on the grass. All she needs is a reasonable pace, which I think will happen today, to roll in the lane. Today is her day.

The Grade 1 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic - Gio Ponti is well on his way to being named the turf champion. He can run on any type of grass condition, is very consistent, and appears to like the Belmont turf course. Having said this, I do feel like he is vulnerable today. This is the farthest he has ever run and he has to face defending champ Grand Couturier, on a course condition and a distance that he absolutely loves. I will be rooting for Gio Ponti to continue his winning ways as a fan, but on my multi-race tickets, I will include both him and Grand Couturier.

The Grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup - I was really liking the chances of Quality Road on a fast track. A little more question is now in my mind as his top two rivals (Summer Bird and Macho Again) have more quality off-track form than he does. I still do see the race unfolding with Quality Road getting the perfect stalking trip and pouncing on the turn. Maybe the slop will spread out the horses even more and he will be even more likely to run away from them in the stretch. Today is his day to move to the head of the class of 3-year-old males. No matter the condition of the track, I am going to stick with Quality Road as the final horse on my all Grade 1 Pick-4.

Rain or no rain, I am going to enjoy Belmont’s Grade 1 day. I hope you do the same.


LDP said...

Not bad, still like SB, even though i can't stand his jock. Can't believe Goldi lost, or Gio. Music Note came through and so did CJ. Now it's onto tomorrow and the Arc, which i have a bad feeling STS will not win.

Celeste said...

Could not believe how sloppy/messy that track looked on my tv screen. Felt bad for all the people and horses, but thought the races were wild. Loved Summer Bird's win and Quality Road dug in and tried - great race in my book.