Most Likely Winner: (Race 3: Partner’s Hope #6, 2/1):
Linda Rice’s outfit continues on … waiting for a fateful decision. In the meantime, she sends this colt who is well-bred out of More Than Ready. He should win in this spot, especially with Javier Castellano back aboard. The connections missed celebrating in the Saratoga winner’s circle last time … losing by a nose in the end. Maybe that bump at the outset knocked him off-kilter? Whatever the case, his turf lines look solid, and under Rice’s supervision, he should be a solid Sunday wager.
Wagering Recommendation: $100 Win, #6
Off-the-Pace Play of the Day: (Race 5: Kressie #12, 6/1):
A survey of this field might make one conclude that there is no “deserving favorite.” Looking for value is a must in a situation like this … so, for those reasons, I landed on a little longer shot in Tom Morley’s Kressie #12. The mare out of Cosmonaut is fit, but she has meandered through the claiming ranks. When Morley finally got ahold of her, he sent her into the tough Yaddo150k at Saratoga. Dropping out of that contest makes sense, and I think she will like the class relief for sure. This conditioner, a mainstay within the NYRA system, is smart when it comes to spotting the proper races to enter. I am hoping her price heads north of 6/1 … if it happens, then that only sweetens the deal!
Spotlight Race of the Day: (Race 9: Dirt, 6½F, Gallant Bloom S. (G2), $250k, F&M 3+):
With only 5 runners entered in the Sunday Grade 2, money will most assuredly point towards Rudy Rodriguez’s Bella Sofia #1. She is classy, especially after winning convincingly in the Test S. (G1). She has 3 wins in 4 tries over the course of her short career, which is impressive. There is no doubting her ability in this division, but she is taking on some older competition at Belmont, and it is going to give her a run for her money. The Godolphin homebred, Lake Avenue #4, for instance, has major NYRA “graded” experience after a number of important races under her saddle. In the past 3 contests (Bed ‘O Roses/Honorable Miss/Ballerina) were all close shaves. They could have gone her way if she just was in a different location on the track. She might be able to turn the tables in this salty little affair, and get this one home for HOF trainer Bill Mott. As for one other to take a shot with, how about the budding star quality of Todd Pletcher’s Don’t Call Me Mary #5? I realize that the filly out of El Padrino tried the Honorable Miss (G2), and she was not a factor whatsoever. Still, with John Velazquez taking over the controls, that could bode well for a horse that knows how to win in “Non-G” company. Pletcher is looking for her to have that breakthrough moment … she could be on the cusp …
Wagering Recommendation: $2 Trifecta Cold, 5 w 1 w 4