Applebee: Closer Look – Belmont Stakes/Met Mile plus late P4 play BEL 6.10.23
Happy Belmont Day!
This is the best New York racing card of the year and yes, I see you Travers card. This year it features nine graded stakes with six Grade 1s highlighted by the Met Mile and the Belmont Stakes as well as a great match up in the Ogden Phipps.
There are a series of special wagers offered on Belmont Day and one of them is a daily double on the Met Mile and Belmont Stakes. I’ll tackle those races and have some thoughts on the all Stakes late Pick 4 as well. Have at it!
Race 10 – The Metropolitan Handicap – Grade I
One Mile on the Dirt for Three Year Olds and Upward
The Met Mile is the premier middle distance dirt race in North America. Today’s renewal is another example of why the Met Mile should be returned to its proper glory as a feature race rather than run on the undercard of the Belmont Stakes.
- Cody’s Wish: Has won eight of his last nine races and is six for six at a mile. Looked great at Churchill last month coming off the layoff as he rolled in the Churchill Downs Stakes (105 Beyer). Will get a pace setup to suit him as there is a lot of speed to his outside. The Pick.
- Slow Down Andy: First start since a third in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile last November (103 Beyer). Likes to be up on the pace, but that will be hard to do today. Passing.
- Dr. Schivel: Won an allowance race last month at Santa Anita in a field of only three while coming off a fourteen month layoff (105 Beyer). If he is back to his 2021 form then he can be dangerous. Goes the flat mile for the first time after sprinting for the other eleven career starts. Likely pace setter. Will need to take a step forward. Looking elsewhere.
- Hoist the Gold: Dallas Stewart takes a shot with this Mineshaft colt. Has ran well last out but was swamped by Cody’s Wish in the stretch. Hasn’t won a race in thirteen starts dating back to an N1X at Fairgrounds sixteen months ago. Demand a big price.
- Charge It: Had issues after an amazing win in the Dwyer by 23 lengths last summer (111 Beyer) in his only race over the track. Didn’t race again until February. Unperformed last out in the Oaklawn Handicap as the favorite (96 Beyer). He’s decent enough but he needs a return to that Dwyer form to win today. Maybe a piece.
- Zandon: Was handled by Repo Rocks last out in the Westchester in Zandon’s first race since December. Hits the board a lot but hasn’t won since the 2022 Blue Grass. Should get the pace setup he prefers as he’ll be coming late. Hits the board.
- Repo Rocks: Jamie Ness has this five year old in career form. He enters here winning four of his last five races and was very impressive in winning the Westchester last month with a 109 Beyer. That is the second highest Beyer earned at any distance up to a mile this year. The highest Beyer in dirt sprints was also Repo Rocks with a 111 in the Toboggan. Likes to press the leaders and kick away turning for home. Might get caught up in a hot pace. Win candidate.
- Doppelganger: Winner of all three starts this year and handled the Grade 1 Carter Handicap last out. Can stalk or close from deeper. Will need to be a lot faster today. Passing.
- White Abarrio: Recently moved from Saffie Joseph to Rick Dutrow (Yes – THAT Rick Dutrow – he’s back following a 10 year suspension for various medication violations). Joseph has agreed not to enter horses in New York while his suspension by Churchill is sorted out. As for the horse, he ran well at the one turn mile distance in the Cigar Mile last year and comes in off a win in Allowance company going seven panels. All five career wins have come at Gulfstream. Lean against.
Race 12 – The Belmont Stakes – Grade I
One Mile and a Half on the Dirt for Three Year Olds
This is a nice rendition of the Belmont. We don’t have a Triple Crown on the line but this race will establish the three year old division leader entering the summer.
- Tapit Shoes: Brad Cox trained colt only has a maiden win to his credit and last out he was second to Red Route One (91 Beyer) in the Bath House Row Stakes at Oaklawn. Cox indicated the horse will be sent from the one hole and he may be a bit of a rabbit for the other two Cox entries. Lasix comes OFF. Breeding Stat: Tapit was the sire of four of the past eight winners of this race. Would be a surprise.
- Tapit Trice: Before the no impact seventh place finish in Derby (94 Beyer) this Pletcher trainee had won four in a row including the Tampa Bay Derby and the Bluegrass (99 Beyer). He made a minor run in the stretch at Churchill but looked green in doing so as Luis Saez had to work to keep him straight. That follows several races where Saez had to ride him hard for a good half mile to get a response. Not ideal in a twelve furlong race where relaxing and settling are key. Breeding Stat: Tapit was the sire of four of the past eight winners of this race. Passing.
- Arcangelo: Won the Peter Pan last out (97 Beyer) with an excellent stretch drive where had had to come back on Bishops Bay in deep stretch to get the win. That was at the testing one turn nine furlong distance over this surface. Plenty of upside in his fifth career start as he goes two turns for the first time. Castellano stays in the irons. Pedigree is there to get the twelve furlongs. Should get a nice stalking trip. Was supplemented into this race for $50,000. The Pick.
- National Treasure: Preakness winner took them all the way at Pimlico (98 Beyer) for Baffert who once again showed the value of aggression from the gate. That was a Blinker ON move as well and they stay on today. Steady performer who has run four straight races between a 94 and 98 Beyer. Likely pace setter but he’ll have company up front today. Fade.
- Il Miracolo: Won an optional claiming race last out at Gulfstream after having no impact in four stakes races earlier this year. Beyer top is 77. Il Miracolo translates as “The Miracle” from Italian – which is what it would take for him to win today. No way.
- Forte: Missed the first two legs of the Triple Crown due to a foot bruise and the resulting 14 day Vet list. Given how Mage performed in the Derby that one length win in the Florida Derby doesn’t look so bad. Reigning two year old champion is two for two this year. But he comes in off a ten week layoff and missed several works as a result of that foot bruise. Eleven horses in the past 30 years have tried the Belmont after not racing in more than five weeks – none have won. Questions for sure. Using defensively in horizontals.
- Hit Show: Ran a decent fifth in the Derby (98 Beyer) where he was in the second flight but was empty in the final sixteenth. That can be forgiven a bit since he was close to the hot Derby pace. He’s a fighter and a grinder. Minor award.
- Angel Of Empire: Came from the back of the pack in the Derby and finished well to get third (104 Beyer). Looked like more ground would suit him. This Brad Cox trained colt has shown steady progression and he won both the Risen Star at the Fairgrounds and the Arkansas Derby (94 Beyer). Blinkers go ON to keep him from dropping out the back. Dangerous.
- 9. Red Route One: Finished a decent fourth in the Preakness where he had a ground saving trip but was left chasing (91 Beyer). Won at Oaklawn two back to win the listed Bath House Row Stakes (92 Beyer). Late runner could pick up a small Possible underneath in exotics.
Late All Stakes Pick 4