The end of June. The Triple Crown season came to a merciful end and Northern United States and Ontario racing really kicks up a big notch. Kicking it down a notch is the beautiful filly pictured to the left, Devil May Care. Lost in the shuffle at the Kentucky Derby was the fact she was well placed nearing the top of the stretch and she ran out of steam like many of the runners that day. I didn't think she belonged but my name isn't Todd Pletcher and I do my best to not second guess the horsemen. Freshened after that race, training nicely at Belmont since late May, it's time for her to get back to work and I think she deserves some chalk, all be it light chalk, in today's Mother Goose Stakes, the middle leg of the Belmont Late Pick Three. In keeping with my method of not reading about the races before I handicap them, I was floored by the quality of the five horse field. While I would have loved to have seen 8 runners, this is a nice collection and it should be interesting. Let's go!
Belmont Park Race 8-9-10; The Pick Three including The Mother Goose Grade I
As always, start with the weather, the scratches and changes and the course condition. You have to know what you're working with before you make the doughnuts. It looks like a perfect day and conditions for racing.
Todd Pletcher brings three quality ladies into this race, all of them looking like they belong in the deep Grade I waters. Putting Devil May Care on top may not be the brave thing to do but I reckon she deserves it; A Grade I and II winner, a solid Derby effort and Pletecher's 25% winning off 31-60 day layoff. taking her means you don't believe the Derby effort took too much out of her. make that decision yourself but I think she downshifted enough to not be spent.
My brave handicapper side would prefer to have placed Biofuel on top. Trainer Baker puts the synth runner on dirt for the first time and ships down from the safe and race casino fueled big purses of Woodbine for owner/breeder Brereton Jones. A 5f 1:00 4/5 bullet shows shes ready to roll. Two wins in a row in ungraded stakes. For a bit of value I included her as an alternate in the Pick Three.
Ailalea is a two time Grade III winner that Pletcher gives back to E. Prado. 2 wins on fast dirt, including a win at Belmont. The daughter of Pulpit has serious expectations and a nice last race win to build off of. My gamble is she's close but doesn't win.
The other two runners, Katy Now and Connie and Michael are more then capable: Connie and Michael may be ready to post a surprise after a nice 92 BSF in an N1X at CD in mid May. Katy Now is a daughter of Tiznow and is 2 of 2 on fast dirt.
Race 8 is an inner turf Maiden race for fillies and mares at the $16,000 class level and 11 horses are entered for the grass. Officer Flirt in the four hole and Hear Me Roar in the five both drop in from the $25K level and they seem to be the most serious of the bunch, with Mystical Code also in the mix. Race 10 is an interesting affair, an N1X at the $39,000 level for NYS bred 3 YOs. Trainer Tagg brings a Sakatoga Stable runner in, Seattle Mission. Should be comfortable with the course and the distance. Trainer Pletcher has J. Velazquez up on Adam Rides Again. A in on Belmont turf at 1 1/8 the last time out for the gelded son of Cozzene. Cops Fever doesn't seem to know how to win, winless in 9 efforts at Belmont, but there are signs and the price will be nice, and the Empire Maker son, the Duke of Naples rounds out my possibles. Trainer Levine, with Prado up, puts blinkers on, something Levine wins with 24% of the time.
I'm keeping it light an easy with a $24 gamble on the pick three and a conservative Trifecta worth $4 bucks on the Mother Goose. Have fun with it.