Saturday, June 5, 2010

Belmont Stakes Picks: Make Money with Make Music For Me

Belmont Park has an absolutely brilliant card of racing on offer this afternoon highlighted by the Belmont Stakes.

The fun begins in race six at 2:34PM EST with the running of the Woody Stephens Stakes where directionally challenged local prodigy 85ina50 takes on the very tough Discreetly Mine and D'Funnybone in a seven furlong sprint.

Race seven is the Just a Game Stakes, a one mile turf tilt for the ladies, which features Proviso and Fantasio. There are five betting interests in the race and the morning line ranges from 8/5 to 5-1.

Back to the dirt for race eight and the G2 True North Stakes where ten sprinters including Bribon and Snapshot will try to make Custom For Carlos work for the money. (Update - Custom for Carlos, the 5-2 morning-line favorite in today’s Grade 2 True North, has been scratched with a minor injury.)

The Triple Tiara chase begins in race nine with the Acorn Stakes in which thirteen three year-old fillies do battle over a mile on the dirt. Tidal Pool is the 4-1 morning line favourite who will expect a challenge from Amen Hallelujah, Quiet Temper and Streaker. The second leg of the Triple Tiara is the Coaching Club American Oaks run at a mile and an eighth and the third leg being the Alabama Stakes at the classic mile and a quarter - both races to be contested at Saratoga Race Course.

The tenth race is the G1 Woodford Reserve as the racing moves to the inner turf course and eleven battle-tested warriors scrap it out over a mile and a quarter. Gio Ponti is the 2-1 morning line favourite but will face fierce competition from Just as Well, Court Vision and Take The Points.

Finally, following that incredible string of races we reach our pinnacle event, the mile and a half Belmont Stakes at 6:32PM EST. Kentucky Derby winner Super Saver and Preakness winner Lookin At My New Jockey are not here which means we have a wide open field of twelve and a lukewarm favourite in Ice Box at 3-1.

Before we look at the field, here's a look at what the top bloggers from NYRA's Belmont Stakes website:

Writer, photographer, singer/songwriter, handicapper, poet, webmaster and dog walker (what did I miss?) extraordinaire Ernie Munick offers his Belmont Stakes selections including picks for the entire card and video of some big money winners of year's past. Required reading. For those of you trying to reach for a winner after the Belmont, Ernie offers the following late double:

11 - Fly Down, Ice Box, First Dude
12 - Remittance, Lt. John, Bold Vindication
13 - L.C. Bulgari, Mustang Island, Quick Money

Need the assistance of the local expert to find a winner? Check out Andy Serling's Stakes selections. Serling says:

While last year there were vulnerable favorites, this Belmont contains three horses, Ice Box and Fly Down for trainer Nick Zito, and First Dude for Dale Romans, that appear to tower over their competition, and while 1½ mile races often invite unanswerable questions prior to their running, it feels unlikely this grouping won’t provide the winner if not the exacta ( or even tri ).

The lovely and talented teacher/writer/blogger Teresa Genaro offers a profile of Stately Victor's local connections as she speaks with Bud Perrone. Genaro writes:

One of the Perrone boys, Victor, was best friends with Jack Conway, currently a candidate for attorney general of Kentucky. Younger than Bud, Victor was killed in a car crash in Louisville in 1992. The Conway family has long owned racehorses, and Jack and his father Tom have, according to Bud, always wanted to name a horse after Victor, but they wanted to wait until they found the right one.

The witty Jenny Kellner supports Brooklyn's Nick Zito as the local hero that leads the pack in a post entitled Right or Wrong. Kellner states:

There is only one Belmont Stakes. And there is only one Nick Zito. And they go together like, well, pizza and New York. As Zito himself said when asked why he wanted Super Saver to win the Preakness: “Well, No. 1, Todd is from Dallas and I don’t think he knows much about pizza.”

It's worth taking a peek at Kellner's previous posts which include a look up at the imposing First Dude. Kellner concludes:

What sealed the deal was his personality. For a horse who bears a striking resemblance to a brontosaurus, he has a completely endearing way about him, as evidenced by the no less than 15 times he stopped on his way to the track this morning to strike a pose for all the photographers and videographers who were trailing along in his wake.

“He’s a ham,” explained Fox.

Yeah – a big one.

Alright, on with the show, this is it! A quick run through the field for the 2010 Belmont Stakes followed by my selections. For FREE Belmont Stakes past performances CLICK HERE and to get a weather update (it's looking good) CLICK HERE.

Here's the field for the 2010 Belmont Stakes

PP Horse Jockey Wgt Trainer M/L
1 Dave in Dixie (KY) 3/C L C H Borel 126 J W Sadler 20/1
2 Spangled Star (KY) 3/C L G K Gomez 126 R E Dutrow, Jr. 30/1
3 Uptowncharlybrown (KY) 3/C L R Maragh 126 K P McLaughlin 10/1
4 Make Music for Me (KY) 3/C L* J Rosario 126 A Barba 10/1
5 Fly Down (KY) 3/C L J R Velazquez 126 N P Zito 9/2
6 Ice Box (KY) 3/C L* J Lezcano 126 N P Zito 3/1
7 Drosselmeyer (KY) 3/C L M E Smith 126 W I Mott 12/1
8 Game On Dude (KY) 3/G L M Garcia 126 B Baffert 10/1
9 Stately Victor (KY) 3/C L* A Garcia 126 M J Maker 15/1
10 Stay Put (KY) 3/C L* J Theriot 126 S Margolis 20/1
11 First Dude (FL) 3/C L* R A Dominguez 126 D L Romans 7/2
12 Interactif (KY) 3/C L* J Castellano 126 T A Pletcher 12/1

1 Dave in Dixie - Borel - 20/1

This Dixie Union colt broke his maiden at first asking in August of 2009. Four graded races later see Dave in Dixie still searching for his second score. Given his comparatively slower Beyer figures and a very poor showing in his lone dirt try in the Illinois Derby when sixteen lengths behind American Lion, I am comfortable looking elsewhere.

2 Spangled Star - Gomez - 30/1
This speedy fellow broke his maiden on his sixth attempt. Not an encouraging beginning, but wait, it gets better. Some horses seem to improve after finding that first win - it's as if the light goes on or maybe just that they've finally matured as a racehorse. Spangled Star finished third at Laurel in an allowance event with a tough trip after that maiden win and then moved to Aqueduct under the care of new trainer Rick Dutrow. In his first New York start, Spangled Star jumped thirteen Beyer points earning an 87 for his effort in the G3 Withers won by Afleet Again. This horse is out of a Kris S. mare which suggests stamina. Can he pass the class test? At 30-1, there seems to be room for improvement, and I'd consider him for pieces of the exotics.

3 Uptowncharlybrown - Maragh - 10/1
Romped his first two starts before a third place finish in the Davis at Tampa which was won by Rule. Uptowncharlybrown had a tough trip in the Tampa Bay Derby finishing fifth, but less than three lengths behind winner Odysseus and a length behind eventual Derby winner Super Saver. The Limehouse colt moved to the synthetic surface at Keeneland where he finished third after a brutal beginning to the talented Exhi. Like many in this field, you have to wonder how they'll handle the mile and a half distance.

4 Make Music for Me - Rosario - 10/1
This one grew tired of Lookin At Lucky after three defeats to the Preakness winner as a two year-old. In his three year-0ld debut, the Alexis Barba conditioned colt captured the Pasadena Stakes and then failed to fire in the Bluegrass Stakes at Lexington where Stately Victor and First Dude made good impressions. Make Music For Me was 20th - some 28 lengths behind - at the first call in the Kentucky Derby and rallied to finish fourth beaten just four and three quarter lengths. It's not that he was flying at the end, but it's a lot of ground to make up through traffic and sloppy conditions. Respect.

5 Fly Down - Velazquez - 9/2
This is the wise guy selection for the Belmont Stakes. The Mineshaft fellow has tried a mile and an eighth in three consecutive races counting two wins including a six length romp of the Dwyer last out with Drosselmeyer in his rearview. A disappointing Lousiana Derby fouls his form but I can forgive that race where he was poised to run sitting eleventh, some fourteen lengths back, only to be steadied but fought to finish ninth nearly seven lengths behind Mission Impazible. That the horse fought back from traffic trouble and cut his losses (14 lengths to 7 seven lengths) in half was a good sign going into the Dwyer where his backers were rewarded. Can he repeat that Dwyer performance? I sure do like seeing a win over the course and trainer Nick Zito on his sheet.

6 Ice Box - Lezcano - 3/1
With a better trip he might have won the Derby...and if my Aunt had bollocks she'd be my Uncle. Still, this Nick Zito trainee has put in five solid starts in a row starting with a maiden breaker at a mile and seventy yards to end his two year-old season. Ice Box defeated Pleasant Prince at a mile and an eighth in his three year-old debut; lost his race at the gate in the Fountain of Youth but still did well finishing fifth to Eskendereya; proved his class in the Florida Derby rallying from last to first, making up eleven lengths, to nip Pleasant Prince at the wire with Rule third; and then after spotting the field a ridiculous 24 lengths in the Kentucky Derby, zigged and zagged through the stretch to finish second less than three lengths behind rail-riding winner Super Saver. The trip notes for Ice Box in the Derby read as follows, "Steadied, blckd, stead." He skipped the Preakness and has been preparing at Saratoga where he notched a nifty four furlong bullet.

7 Drosselmeyer - Smith - 12/1
The WinStar colt had his chance to win the Risen Star and Louisiana Derby at the Fairgrounds earlier this year and hung when needing a surge. A troubled trip from the gate in the Dwyer meant he couldn't catch Fly Down. A recent five furlong bullet over the Belmont course is nice but I'm not sure he has the stamina or the surge to beat this field.

8 Game On Dude - M. Garcia - 10/1
Arrives off a win in a weak G3 field for the LoneStar Derby. He has been soundly defeated by Ice Box in the Florida Derby and couldn't keep up in the Derby Trial in the mud. Pass.

9 Stately Victor - A. Garcia - 15/1
Following a pair of turf tries, Stately Victor won the Bluegrass on the poly at odds of 40-1. The Ghostzapper colt regressed somewhat in the Derby finishing a respectable eighth. I'm not sure what to make of this horse. Is he a turf horse? Is he a synthetic specialist who found his calling at Keeneland? I'll let someone else find out if he'll like the w i i i i i d e turns on offer at Belmont Park.

10 Stay Put - J Theriot - 20/1
Had his two-race win streak snapped in the Risen Star where he finished a close fifth. Next out he finished fifth again in the Louisiana Derby suffering through a wide second turn. At 20-1, his form looks just as promising as 12-1 Drosselmeyer.

11 First Dude - Dominguez - 7/2
Dude, check out the trio of consecutive G1 tries that top his form that start with a respectable fifth, when steadied at the eighth pole, in the Florida Derby; a third place finish in the Bluegrass following a bobbled start; and then a front-running tour de force in the Preakness when a game second to Lookin At Lucky. Ramon Dominguez gets the call on a track he owns on a daily basis.

12 Interactif - J Castellano - 12/1
If only this was a turf race. Interactif demonstrated remarkable class as a two year-old winning two G3 events on the turf and then a third place finish at the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf to end his campaign. The Broken Vow colt lost by the slimmest of margins in his three year-old debut and then was an impressive second to the speedy Sidney's Candy in the G2 San Felipe on Santa Anita synthetic. His next race would be a pivotal test. If he wins the mile and an eighth Bluegrass he must go to the Derby and with some clout. But he failed in the Bluegrass finishing an unresponsive fourth. This is a classy horse, but I don't like the fit of this race.


1. Make Music For Me - I like the Derby effort and his Belmont works.
2. Ice Box - On paper, the likely winner.
3. First Dude - He's huuuuuge.
4. Spangled Star - Makes for a SUPERfecta payout.

* * *

Local readers looking for Woodbine news should check out yesterday's post entitled Woodbine Weekend Preview and the Top 10 Queen's Plate Contenders and then scroll through my Woodbine News page for the latest horse racing news.

Have a great day good readers on this great day for horse racing!

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