OCTOBER 24, 2012
by John Mucciolo
There were no graded races during the week of racing at Belmont Park.
A total of 47 races were held at the Elmont, New York venue, with favorites winning at a 34 percent rate and the top two betting choices combining for 57 percent of the wins during the week. From 35 races on the main oval, six animals won in wire-to-wire fashion (17 percent), while one of the 12 races on the lawn were taken all the way on the front (8 percent).
Speed was good on the main strip on Wednesday, but we thought closers and horses racing a few lengths off the rail had an edge for most of the week. Just three runners led at every call on the dirt over Thursday to Sunday from 29 races on the dirt course.
Horses breaking from the inner six post positions accounted for 17 of the 20 winners from the first three days of the week, but horses breaking wider won six races over the weekend, with five coming on Saturday.
The lone wire job on the green this week came in a sprint race on the inner turf.
HORSES TO WATCH
2ND -- DRAW TOO (Macho Uno) was very impressive in this maiden-breaking turf score for trainer Michelle Nihei, taking over with a big move turning for home and streaking clear by 7 3/4 lengths under Javier Castellano. The juvenile colt surely appears to have a nice future.
7TH -- JOE'S BALZING AARON (Graeme Hall) really took to the give in the turf in this spot, rolling home a daylight winner over a solid group for the level under Jose Lezcano. The Eddie Kenneally trainee still has run in him.
4TH -- FANTASY OF FLIGHT (Tiznow) did what we thought she was capable of in this spot, dusting this field off the shelf for trainer Richard Dutrow. The talented filly didn't really put it all together after a fine start to her career, but we think she will be a graded caliber filly leading into next season.
6TH -- Trainer Nick Zito doesn't get many first-out winners, so when DECLAN'S WARRIOR (Majestic Warrior) flew home along the rail after being last early to win this debut race, we took a lot of notice. The Kentucky-bred should not be taken lightly going forward.
2ND -- WILLET (Jump Start) absolutely thrived on the off going in here for James Iselin, sweeping to the front and pouring it on late in a dominant score in this spot. The four-year-old filly is pretty honest and we don't think this was a fluke by any means.
5TH -- WEEKEND HIDEAWAY (Speightstown) proved too good for New York-bred foes once again with a measured victory in this one for trainer Phil Serpe. The talented colt has yet to run a bad one in a fine juvenile season, and we look forward to seeing him develop into his sophomore campaign.
9TH -- SARATOGA SNACKS (Tale of the Cat) made a real nice horse work every step of the way to win this and the sophomore proved that he can handle nine panels with a fine runner-up showing. He is among the more talented New York-bred runners on the grounds here.
3RD -- CALLED TO SERVE (Afleet Alex) didn't have much room in this one and was unlucky not to have won this race in his East Coast debut for trainer Nick Canani. We liked this developing horse when he was on the West Coast earlier in the year, and will track him closely as he seemingly always fires and could handle a route of ground.
A Look Ahead
Saturday will play host to a pair of Grade 3, $150,000 races during closing week, the Bold Ruler Handicap and Turnback the Alarm Stakes.
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