Mystic Guide Should Romp on Return: Preview of Saturday's Suburban S. (G2) @Belmont Park

Mike Stidham's Mystic Guide returns to the track ... see what his chances look like in the Suburban S. on Saturday!
Mike Stidham's Mystic Guide returns to the track ... see what his chances look like in the Suburban S. on Saturday!

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1¼ (Dirt), Suburban Stakes, Purse $400k, 4+

Easy Goer … Skip Away … Lemon Drop Kid … Mineshaft … Flat Out … Mucho Macho Man … Keen Ice … and those are only some of the most prominent alums that notched wins in this celebrated race. The Suburban Stakes marks a significant turn of the calendar. Belmont becomes the focus before the scene shifts to Saratoga. It is one of those stepping stone contests where runners that do well here, can elevate to some of the upper echelons of Grade 1 competition. “Win and You’re In” Breeders’ Cup rights are on the line, and this year’s race is no exception. It should be a rousing good time!

Now, let’s find out about this field…


#1 Moretti (Jky: F. Prat/Trn: T. Pletcher):

Trainer Todd Pletcher sent the Repole Stable and Eclipse Thoroughbred-owned 5-yr-old into the 1½ Brooklyn (G2) over Belmont Stakes Week last out, and he ended up a distant 3rd … well-behind Lone Rock. An alum of this race—2nd last year to Tacitus—he is back to try and rectify that result. Out of Medaglia d’Oro, he certainly has some interesting lines, and there is Pletcher … the soon-to-be HOF conditioner is one of the best. With Flavien Prat intown, he can make a difference … and let’s face it, these connections are pretty potent. This might be a wise guy, especially as a bulwark against a pair of heavy favorites.

Grade: B


#2 Informative (Jky: M. Franco/Trn: U. St. Lewis):

The winner of Monmouth’s Salvator Mile (G3) is coming to the Suburban looking to make an impact. The 4-yr-old will probably end up being a massive price at post time, and trainer St. Lewis is going to give this a whirl. Everyone knows he doesn’t have the class to game with Pletcher and Stidham’s entries, but horse racing is always more fun when long shots are drawn in. This one out of Bodemeister will be one to watch as the rest of the year unfolds. My prediction … just getting in-the-money would be an accomplishment.

Grade: C


#3 Prioritize (Jky: J. Rosario/Trn: H. Bond):

Mr. Bond is hoping to see his seasoned 6-yr-old gelding live to fight another day … 007 reference, couldn’t resist. The Tizway offspring has only run once this year, in the Pimlico Special (G3). It did not go well. A 5th place finish was proof that he needed a race. However, he may need at least one more. I am not sure that even the power of Joel Rosario can make a difference. It is fortuitous that he ran against some of these last year in the Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1), and maybe that experience can be employed in this spot. It is going to be a tall order, just as it is for his gatemate to the left. Maybe a lesser “graded” race is in order? Sights lowered …

Grade: C


#4 Mystic Guide (Jky: L. Saez/Trn: M. Stidham):

The power of this 4-yr-old colt is undeniable. Ever since his “signature” win in the Dubai World Cup back in March, Mike Stidham had this race on the son of Ghostzapper’s calendar. Luis Saez is once again aboard to serve as … well, a guide. Some would say there wasn’t much in the way of competition, but the old saying of “a win, is a win,” seems to fit. He shipped into a challenging situation, especially on his way to the post parade, and came out victorious. Now, he is poised for a triumphal return on what should be a march to the Breeders’ Cup Classic at Del Mar. Stidham always seems to take a measured approach, and that serves … when the battle is on, he is cool, calm, and collected. This should be a score for Godolphin, who already has had another banner year.  

Grade: A


#5 Max Player (Jky: R. Santana/Trn: S. Asmussen):

Trainer Steve Asmussen tried to send this runner over to Saudi Arabia for their G1 back in February. It was an effort, but it did not pan out—11th, 24-lengths back of winner Misriff. The former Linda Rice charge attempted to score in both the September Derby and October Preakness, and that experience counts as experience, if you know what I mean. The HOF conditioner went back to the drawing board starting in March, and maybe some progress/maturity was made. If you like Ricardo Santana, then you are in luck, because he is at Belmont to join the fray. I am mildly interested in this Honor Code colt. He has the chance to hit the board.

Grade: B-


#6 Happy Saver (Jky: I. Ortiz/Trn: T. Pletcher):

The son of Super Saver is undefeated in 5 tries for Todd Pletcher, and that will make him the second choice behind Stidham’s ace. This is one of those runners that did not take part in the Triple Crown Trail, since the schedule was askew. But his conditioner was cagey about picking the right spots for him. This will be a true test, going up against a champion at this stage of the year. For the record, he did best him in the Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1) last year, but this is a different time. Irad Ortiz is back aboard, and we all know his riding prowess when pressed down the lane. Maybe the Suburban is a 2-horse race, and it will be interesting to see how Pletcher’s entry reacts. I think he will miss, but I would not be surprised by a tight finish.

Grade: B+


Join us Saturday for all of our selections! Should be a great set of races from beautiful Belmont Park!

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