JULY 12, 2012
by John Mucciolo
A trio of graded tilts headlined the penultimate week of racing at Belmont Park.
Suburban H. (G2): Reeves Thoroughbred Racing's MUCHO MACHO MAN (Macho Uno) tracked the pace to the top of the lane, took over readily, and strode home a superb 2 1/2-length winner in this one for conditioner Kathy Ritvo. The four-year-old colt went 1 1/8 miles on the fast main oval in a superb 1:46 2/5 under the guidance of Mike Smith.
Victory Ride S. (G3): Mercer and Berglar's EMMA'S ENCORE (Congrats) capitalized on a fast pace to upset this field with a fine closing kick for conditioner Allen Jerkens. The sophomore filly, who was guided by Junior Alvarado, won going away by 2 3/4 lengths at 39-1, finishing off six panels in 1:08 4/5.
Poker H. (G3): Pam and Marty Wygod's CLEAR ATTEMPT (A.P. Indy) tracked the leader to the top of the lane, took a short lead nearing midstretch and stayed on well to post a 1 1/2-length win beneath Jose Lezcano. The well-bred colt sped one mile on the firm lawn 1:34 for conditioner bill Mott.
A total of 48 races were held over Elmont, New York venue, with favorites winning at a 38 percent rate and the top two betting choices combining for 54 percent of the wins during the week. From 22 races on the main oval, six animals won in wire-to-wire fashion (27 percent), while four of the 26 races on the lawn were taken all the way on the front (15 percent).
It remains a difficult thing to lead at every call on both of these turf ovals, but the inner is logically slightly easier to do so. Of the four winners to lead all the way on the green this week, three came in sprint races, while two took place each at a sprint and route distance.
We thought the main oval favored closers quite a bit on the Holiday, and speed is far from dominant on a whole as of late on this main oval. We'll be looking for stalkers and closers during the final week of action here.
|FAVORITES:||184 (38 percent)|
|2ND CHOICES:||109 (22 percent)|
|TURF WIRE:||36 (18 percent)|
|DIRT WIRE:||89 (31 percent)|
HORSES TO WATCH
3RD -- ROYAL SIGHTING (Rahy) made a big run from last in this one and almost ran down the winner in a solid second-place showing under Corey Nakatani. The four-year-old filly will surely be a threat next time with even slight improvement.
5TH -- NATIVE ONE (Indian Charlie) dominated this race by blowing past the favorite en route to a facile score. The Christophe Clement-trained filly looked very professional and could have a very bright future ahead of her.
3RD -- DOCTOR CHIT (War Front) shipped down from Woodbine and dominated this field in a fast time in posting a stakes win for trainer Todd Pletcher. This sophomore could develop into a very nice sprinter with continued improvement.
6TH -- Much was made of the winner in this race, but PALACE MALICE (Curlin) ran huge while clear in second and could be a nice one with some seasoning for Pletcher. The debuting colt was more than six lengths ahead of his nearest foe and might jump straight into stakes company next time.
6TH -- The Alan Goldberg-trained SPECIAL SKILLS (Bernstein) was well placed early and came home well in what we thought was a very nice debut win in this dash. This juvenile colt got his final quarter-mile in a snappy :23 3/5 and should stretch out when needed to.
9TH -- HYMN BOOK (Arch) broke poorly and had a lot of ground to make up in this one, but put in a spirited late run to be a clear second over a top field in this one. The Shug McGaughey trainee will surely be a horse to watch in all of the big handicap races at Saratoga, and beyond.
STAY THIRSTY (Bernardini) didn't show much in this one, but the four-year-old was making just his second start of 2012 and has tons of room for improvement this season. The top colt loves Saratoga, so don't hold this race against him too hard.
3RD -- ROMAN TREASURE (Roman Ruler) carved out blazing splits and never stopped in posting a fine wire-to-wire victory in this one. The Michael Hushion trainee is among the quickest horses out of the gate in her division and should always be given a look, no matter who the filly goes up against.
9TH -- The Jimmy Toner-trained LA CLOCHE (Ghostzapper) showed nice improvement in her second start of this campaign, and got more pace to run at today which surely helped the cause. The talented and consistent mare could have her best ahead of her and should move forward once again in her next outing.
A Look Ahead
The closing weekend feature is the Grade 1, $600,000 Man o' War Stakes on Saturday.