This is just a quick, unscheduled blog post to share some thoughts about the Sauper Saturday card at Belmont. It’s not official yet but it looks like I’ll be covering the Breeders’ Cup again (deets as I get them). But that means I’ll be popping up here again from time to time, and saturating right around BC time.
Life is going well post-SAR. I’ve picked up some cool freelance gigs and am kicking the tires on a couple of new book ideas. Susan is feeling well still and we’re both the appropriate mix of excited and terrified.
On to the races. . .
ROYAL DELTA is the most likely winner by my reckoning, but regular readers know I’m always going on about “Mott with a target,” and this ain’t the target. Still, an A level contender on figures and form, a true Grade 1 animal, and I was blown away by how she looked when I clapped eyes on her while schooling in Saratoga. Could easily win and still have plenty in the tank for the BC Distaff (yea, I know that’s not the name anymore but it’s my blog, humor me). IT’S TRICKY ran a blinder last time after falling on her face at the break. She might have another big one in her, but I could also see her being overbet off the trip. She’s the other A, but my gut tells me to prefer ROYAL DELTA, who has her on the book twice.
A well rested TAPIZAR, is a dangerous TAPIZAR, and he gets the nod from me. He should be out winging and is fast enough to win unless SHACKLEFORD or TO HONOR AND SERVE bring their A games. JERSEY TOWN is an intrguing possible price play after being in the hunt in the Forego. Is he still good enough? I don’t know. But anyhting above 8s I’d have to consider value.
Of the two ML faves mentioned above, THAS is a bit of an in-and-outer, with the goal being the next race. SHAQ makes more sense to me, if he’s still a horse. He was probably the lay of the meet in the Vandy, stuck on a tricky rail at an unsuitable distance. I don’t really have info as to how he’s done since, but maybe the topsheeters let you get a whiff of value. Don’t worry if he sweats up, that’s just him. I could use/save at 2-1 or above. I’ve always loved THAS but if he beats me today, he beats me.
Will SEAN AVERY be able to score in his second start off the bench? He’s got the races to run back to and I think it’s worth noting that the last might even be better than it looked given that he was close up on a closer’s track with a closer-favoring flow. He was also unruly at the gate before the race. 3s is probably the right price. Elisha Cuthbert won’t be backing, but I might.
Multirace players might want to include my old pal JUSTIN PHILLIP, a fast horse who loves it around here. Three of these have him on the book, but he has various excuses.
It’s not easy for me to pick against I’m A Dreamer after she delivered me my best wagering day of the summer, but looking objectively, I prefer NAHRAIN today. Dreamer did get an ideal set-up last time and NAHRAIN’s figures and form look just as good if not better and she projects to be a better price. Multirace players might want to use both.
I’ve given up doubting LITTLE MIKE’s ability to get the distance. I didn’t think he’d be still going strong at the end of the Million and yet he was, and that was a stronger race than the Sword Dancer, so I give him an edge (tactically and class wise) over Point of Entry. He’ll get his ground as well. In fact, if you want to get a little jiggy, you can toss the chalk at odds on and also back TREASURE BEACH. I was skeptical about him in the Million, but he ran really well, and might just be rounding back into form for ol’ AOB.
I am having trouble separating the runners coming out of the Whitney so I may let price help me decide. The Mott runners project to be the shorter of the two and as I’ve written elsewhere, they might be less than fully cranked. That leaves us with FORT LARNED, who I loved visually in the paddock at Saratoga (why I didn’t save on him I still have no earthly idea) and HYMN BOOK, who was my top one that day. Both are bred to excel with the extra distance and figure tough at fair prices.