We head into Belmont Day with another chance at a Triple Crown and, if you believe all the racing scribes, the best chance in nearly four decades to get one. While I do think AP is the best horse in the race, he certainly isn’t the best value. I think you either take a stand against him or you pass the race and root for history.
For Hello Race Fans, the best new racing fan education site on the web, a group of us made some picks for the Grade I races on the card so I’m going to go into a little detail here on my selections.
UNTAPABLE the unbeatable, right? Well, nearly, but not entirely. She’s been off since her easy victory in the Apple Blossom and has been training nice and regularly. She’ll be zero value on the board and an improving WEDDING TOAST could be the one to go get her if she keeps on improving.
I got beat by the undefeated PROMISE ME SILVER in the Eight Belles on Derby weekend and it’s hard to not be impressed by SHOOK Ups runner up finish in the Oaks and Curalina’s cruising victory in a Churchill $75,000 optional, but I’m loving CONDO COMMANDO cutting back from a route to a mile. Her speed may very well be the key and I think that she can cut back better than PROMISE ME SILVER can stretch out.
JUST A GAME
This is a nice betting race and I could make a case for several in here. I went back and forth between BALL DANCING and COFFEE CLIQUE and decided to go with COFFEE CLIQUE. Should the other win I wouldn’t be surprised.
Easily the best race of the day, all due respect to the Triple Crown try. In a race where you have TONALIST, WICKED STRONG, BAYERN, PANTS ON FIRE, HONOR CODE and KOBE’S BACK – most of the best older horses in training – you really can’t do better. I’m not a big BAYERN fan and he was a disaster in his odds on seasonal debut but he’s been training well and if his occasional clunker was out of the way in the Churchill Downs, he could bounce back nicely. He likes the front and he has speed on his inside and that could make things tough on him on the front end. If TONALIST doesn’t bounce after his sparkling debut, he should get the right trip behind the early pace.
Some really nice turf routers in here for this one and one former Derby trailer trying grass for the first time. GENERAL A ROD doesn’t appear to have a turf pedigree and appears to have a tough trip laid out for him in his turf debut. To the inside you have TWILIGHT ECLIPSE, the West Pointer that broke through with his first Grade 1 victory last out in the Man O War, and the tough and steady FINNEGAN’S WAKE. The steadiest of all in here is BIG BLUE KITTEN. The Ramsey homebred knows how to win and is always in with a chance. His seasonal debut was stellar in taking the Ft Marcy and he should be flying at the end…if he can get there in time.
BIG BLUE KITTEN
Unless you want to toss the favorite and look for a boxcar payoff, this is not a particularly good betting race. By all indications and measures, AMERICAN PHAROAH is coming into the race perfectly. He’s the best horse in a small field and if he can navigate the distance, we should have a Triple Crown winner. In my opinion, this is a watch but don’t wager race since I’m not willing to toss the fave. I don’t know if any of the real long shots tend to figure at all and, if you’re tempted to try and beat him, the best options appear to be FROSTED, MUBTAAHIJ and MATERIALITY.