MAY 24, 2012
by John Mucciolo
There were no graded races this weekend at Belmont Park.
A total of 47 races were held over the Elmont, New York, venue, with favorites winning at a 45 percent rate and the top two betting choices combining for 66 percent of the wins during the week. From 26 races on the main oval, eight animals won in wire-to-wire fashion (31 percent), while two of the 21 races on the lawn were taken all the way on the front (10 percent).
Both of the wire jobs on the lawn this week came in the form of sprints on the inner oval. While we see all types of winners on both grass ovals, horses breaking from the inside or with early zip are ones we prefer on the inner, both routing and sprinting.
Statistically for the week, early leaders did well on the dirt. But, six of the eight wire-to-wire winners this past week were on Thursday and Friday. The inner six post positions won 22 of the 26 races on the dirt for the week.
|FAVORITES:||64 (37 percent)|
|2ND CHOICES:||41 (24 percent)|
|TURF WIRE:||10 (17 percent)|
|DIRT WIRE:||30 (27 percent)|
HORSES TO WATCH
2ND -- W. W.'S LADY'S MAN took the lead soon after the start and wired a decent field in this one for conditioner Edward Barker. The gelding came home in a solid time and should be live right back in this good form cycle.
2ND -- The Gary Contessa-trained SIBERIAN WILDCAT nearly ran down the prohibitive favorite in this one in a brave showing. The three-year-old filly should be a graduate in the near future.
3RD -- Even though the favorite needed one off the shelf, the winning TRICKMEISTER still impressed by leading all the way in this one for trainer Richard Dutrow. The five-year-old nearly set a track record in this win, and his tally should not be diminished in any way.
8TH -- CLEAR ATTEMPT did everything right but win this race, taking the lead only to be nabbed in the final yards of this turf run. The Bill Mott trainee could have needed this race in his first start since January, and should be fitter for his next run.
2ND -- RELOAD returns to the list after pulling out a victory in this run after finishing a solid second last time. The sophomore colt is bred to endure more ground and could turn into a solid one with natural progression.
4TH -- STREET BRAWL set solid splits and came home in a good time en route to a fine allowance victory in this one. The three-year-old colt is on the upswing and should be stakes bound before long.
6TH -- The Barclay Tagg-trained SKY BLAZER dominated what we thought was a solid cast in a stakes-like performance in this win. The four-year-old gelding will be a very tough customer wherever he ends up next time with improvement off of this as he was just two ticks off of the track mark.
6TH -- BOOK REVIEW put in a fine closing run from midpack to graduate in style today for Chad Brown, drawing off late in a smart tally. This filly didn't show any signs of stopping and should surely be able to handle more ground as she progresses through her sophomore campaign.
A Look Ahead
A huge weekend of racing will be held at Belmont Park over the Memorial Day holiday. Monday plays host to a quartet of graded races -- the Grade 1, $750,000 Metropolitan Handicap; Grade 1, $400,000 Ogden Phipps Handicap; Grade 1, $300,000 Acorn Stakes; and Grade 2, $200,000 Sands Point Stakes.
The Saturday feature is the Grade 2, $200,000 Sheepshead Bay Stakes on the lawn for fillies and mares.