Race of the Day: 4th at Belmont Park

Last Day Results (7-8-18) @ Ellis Park0-1-1
2018 Overall 958357-358-422
Win % of Top Pick37.30%
Payoff % of Top 3 Picks Overall39.50%

After the conclusion of the Churchill Downs’ Spring/Summer meet, we are now taking a few days off of full-card handicapping. But we are looking at some individual races around the country that may peak some interest. Today’s top event, at least for us, is the 4th at Belmont Park.

If you love turf races — and we find them both exciting to handicap and more thrilling to watch and wager — then you will love today’s card at Belmont Park. Five of the nine races carded today at “The Big Sandy” will be featured over “The Big Green.”

Our most favorite is the 4th, a 6-furlong event on the grass for Maiden fillies 3YOs & Up. Here is a closer look:

  1. Her Latest Film (8): This is a classy-bred, 3YO filly by the great grass sire War Front (Claiborne Farm) and out of the Stakes-winning Dynaformer mare Film Maker. There really isn’t many better grass influences in the pedigree world than Dnyaformer, and this mare has already tossed three turf winners from 6 starters — who have won four races to date. Pedigree is firm today. Her Latest Film will be making her fourth career start today, and the first sprint since she began racing back in March when she went just 5 furlongs on debut. Closed well enough in that one, but had to be steadied hard at the 3/8ths pole, and was extremely wide, as well. Came back on May 11 at Belmont and stretched out to 11/16-miles, and she quickly made the lead that day. Tired late and finished third to a horse that has already come back to win. Last time out, going a mile, she was back to her late-running tactics. Now, she shows up for one of the hottest trainers on the grounds over the past two weeks (3-0-3 in the last 8 starts), and is coming off a really nice work. Trainer scores with .17% of those going from a route to a sprint, as well. My pick at could drift up from the ML 5-2 odds line.
  2. Wise Strike (6): This is another one who is expertly bred for the grass. Job well done on the breeding analysis. A 4YO filly by Smart Strike (we have one of those, by the way) is out of a Bernstein mare. I love Bernstein mares, just for the record. And, this one, Mimi’s Bling, was a Stakes winner, too. She has one turf winner from three starters who has one win and one Stakes win. Take note of that. This one has run three times in her career, as well, but the last race she was entered in was last August. Away from the races since then. She has a nice work down at Monmouth Park, and does goes for a trainer who has hit with .28% this year in 380 starters, and with .29% of those coming off this type of a layup (in 466 starters). Ran second, tiring late in the second career start and did the same going 7/8ths in the August race. But this will be the grass debut, and she should relish the surface switch with this breeding. Trainer hits with .23% of those kind, as well.
  3. No Deal (3): This one, a NY-bred facing open company, could be the one to provide a tremendous value to the mix. She has run 9 previous races — all against open company — and she has 3 seconds and 2 thirds to show in her resume to date. Ran second in the last when it was moved off the turf, and that was her third start off a layup. Lost to My Miss Lily (who ran in the KY Oaks) at Aqueduct in December, over the slop; and ran third to Quick Quick Quick, a filly trained by Ian Wilkes at Saratoga last August. Doesn’t figure to beat them all to the wire, but could be a “favorites splitter” in the exacta, and trifecta.
  4. Majestic Won (5): A Majestic Warrior filly that cost $47,000 at Keeneland September 2016, comes from a Tactical Cat mare. Doesn’t scream turf to me, but the mare has three turf winners from five starts and they have combined to win 4 times — including a Stakes winner. This one ran a decent third on debut back in December at Gulfstream Park on the dirt. Was the favorite in the debut effort, and the runner-up in that race has already come back to win, as well. But has been idle since. Has tuned up nicely for the return with a bullet move at Saratoga on June 17. Has worked over that grass course up North, too. This one should be a contender in this spot, but the trainer dampens the enthusiasm a bit. He has hit on only .07% winners with first time on the grass. Top rider gets up, so some mixed signals — yet, mostly positive.

I bet the 8 to win/place/show and then key the 8 over/under all the numbers listed in the exactas. 

Good Luck & All the Best/Gene

The horse broke well today,” Gaffalione said. “I had the horse inside, Dunph, going to the lead and then (Gun It) showed a little bit of speed. When I saw they were intent on going I just tried to get him back and got him to relax. He came back to me nicely and settled well down the backside. Got a little keen going into the far turn and wanted to move a little early. But I didn’t want to take too much away from him so I tried to sit as long as I could. He was waiting on horses down the lane but I kept him at task and there was plenty of horse there.”

“Mark (Casse, the trainer) and his team have done a great job,” Gaffalione said. “They’ve had a ton of confidence in this horse the whole way. It’s just an honor to be able to ride the horse. He’s just so professional, trains great and he’s a pleasure to be around.”

Tyler Gaffalione, Rode of War of Will to victory in the G2 Risen Star Stakes at the Fair Grounds
  • Gene McLean

    Gene McLean

    Gene McLean began his professional career in 1977 as a sportswriter and columnist for the Lexington Herald-Leader in Lexington, Ky., and was recognized as one of the state’s best writers, winning the prestigious “Sportswriter of the Year” honor in 1985. Now the President and Publisher of The Pressbox, McLean sets ...

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