Friday, July 4, 2014

Belmont Oaks Horse-by-Horse Analysis

--Brian DiDonato

#1 Gold Espony (10-1) - Seems like a true 1 1/4-mile horse--has pretty much run exclusively at or close to the distance. Really liked her win three back in the Prix Rose de Mai (video), in which her final time was some :04 2/5 quicker than Belmont Derby contender Gailo Chop over the same course and distance on the same card. Not sure how much stock you can put in French final times, but it's certainly noteworthy. Was game to subsequently annex the G3 Prix Penelope (video), but didn't run a step in the G1 Prix Saint-Alary. Maybe she bled? Gets Lasix for strong connections--major chance, especially if she's sent right to the front in a field that isn't filled with true speed.

#2 Room Service (3-1) - Her last two races look good on paper, but she might be a little dressed up. The early pace of the GI Ashland S. (video) was off-the-charts fast, and the GI American Oaks featured a three-way pace battle up front that set the table for closers (video). Don't see her getting the same set-up here, and she won't be much of a price.

#3 My Conquestadory (12-1) - Was vastly overrated after her win in the GI Alcibiades S. last fall (video), but she ran better than I expected when fourth in the GI Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf. Resurfaced in Woodbine's GIII Selene S. in May, and was out-nosed despite setting glacial fractions (video). She'll have to run a whole lot better here to compete, and think she'll prove best as a late-running miler.

#4 Summer Solo (30-1) - She's a nice filly, but this is a very tall task.

#5 Flying Jib (5-1) - One of my favorite types of Euros to bet against--she's almost certainly going to find this trip too far. Sire Oasis Dream was an excellent sprinter who finished 10th in the 2003 BC Mile in his only route attempt; dam Jibboom was a nice Frankel runner, but she never won beyond 1 1/16 miles and was probably best at about seven furlongs.

#6 Rosalind (12-1) - Got the same set-up in the Ashland as Room Service. Can excuse her GI Kentucky Oaks fourth (though she didn't run terribly all things considered). Dropped her rider when ambitiously spotted in Royal Ascot's G1 Coronation S. June 20, so certainly doesn't come into this optimally. Always seems to have a following, and still not sure how good she is.

#7 Xcellence (5-2) - Morning-line favorite seems to be getting plenty of buzz on twitter off two thirds in Group 1 company. Handled more ground in the Prix de Diane last time (video), but she's done nothing to suggest she's some sort of world beater. For as profitable as it can be to bet Europeans in American grass races, the shorter-priced runners are rarely the ones you want. Doesn't get Lasix, and won't be getting much of my money--maybe just on some back-up tickets.

#8 Wonderfully (12-1) - It's impossible to know what to do with this horse. She's been a complete non-factor in two races this year. Maybe Lasix will help, but her 2013 form was decent enough that it doesn't seem particularly likely that bleeding is the issue. Using sparingly by default.

#9 Minorette (12-1) - Has run sneaky-well in both of her Stateside races. Was simply too far back in a front-end dominated one-mile allowance at Keeneland Apr. 6, but still flew home to be third. Runner-up A Little Bit Sassy returned to annex the Edgewood S. before getting DQ'd in the GIII Regret S. Chad Brown trainee made a wide, premature move in the Wonder Again S. (video) before getting reeled in by Sea Queen. Could be poised for another step forward, and more ground shouldn't be a problem if she gets a better trip.

#10 Recepta (20-1) - Don't expect her to find the improvement she needs with the added ground.

#11 Sea Queen (10-1) - First inclination was to take a negative view considering what a perfect trip she had in the Wonder Again, but it's not like the rest of her form isn't solid. Going to include, but again, sort of by default since I'm against the favorites.

Play: Win on #1 Gold Espony at 8-1+ or #9 Minorette at 12-1+. Chad Brown 1,9 exacta box. Additional exacta box 1,9,11; and smaller exacta box 1,8,9,11. Will likely cover Xcellence in some horizontal wagers.

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