Happy Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Day! 

Today’s Belmont at the Big A card features three graded stakes races; the Grade III Matron, the Grade II Vosburgh, and the Grade I Joe Hirsch Turf Classic.  I’ll tackle the Joe Hirsch and the Vosburgh. 

Race 5 – The Vosburgh – Grade II 

Seven Furlongs on the Dirt for Three Year Olds and Upward 

Our graded stakes in New York have tended to be on the small side this summer and fall, but they have been good fields. You can’t make that assertion about this rendition of the Vosburgh. This field is not a Grade II caliber group – but it does set up an interesting betting race where you can go in several different directions.   

  1. Southern District: Was no factor last out in the Tale of the Cat Stakes at the Spa. That was his first effort off of a two month layoff. Prior to that break this colt was in good from winning three in a row – but those races were all at least a mile. It’s possible that 7F is just too sharp for him. Only runner in the field to earn a triple digit Beyer with a 101 two back in a win at Churchill and a 100 over this track in February.  Will need to work a trip from the one hole – but he is the fastest late – but this race may be a bit pace less. Using.
  2. Jalen Journey: This is an interesting entry as Norman Cash enters this runner off a five day layoff as he ran Monday at Parx in the Liberty Bell where he was a distant third (74 Beyer). This is his fifth race since mid-August.  In a race with zero pace this one may provide the pace in an attempt to set it up for his uncoupled stable mate. Does not appear competitive here but has won three times at seven furlongs.  Trainer Stat: Norman Cash hits at a 24% rate with horses coming back in less than seven days over the past three years (8/34). Water is too deep.      
  3. Eastern Bay: The second part of the uncoupled Norman Cash entry ran ten days ago at Parx where he won an allowance race at today’s distance (91 Beyer).  He was already raced three times since mid-August and is in good form with two wins a second and 90s Beyer in each effort.  Stalk and pounce type might get first run at his stable mate who may be setting the pace from the two hole. Possible piece of the pie.
  4. Elite Power: Mott has this Juddmonte colt going in the right direction since June with three straight wins. This late developing colt earned a 97 Beyer breaking his maiden win at Churchill.  Last out he handled N2X company sprinting at the Spa with a wide trip, but he was very much in control and was wrapped up late (97 Beyer). This one is on the come with plenty of upside. The Pick.
  5. Drafted: Venerable eight year old was swamped last out in the Forego by Cody’s Wish and Jackie’s Warrior – but he ran a decent fifth against some tough customers that day (91 Beyer). Has two wins over the Big A main oval including a nice score in the Grade 3 Toboggan last Spring on a wet track (97 Beyer).  If he gets some pace he is dangerous – the seven panels suits him with two of his nine career wins coming at today’s distance. Hits the Board.

Picks 4-1-5-3 


Race 8 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic – Grade I 

One Mile and One Half on the Turf for Three Year Olds and Upward 

This is a nice renewal of this race and features a four Grade winners highlighted by Gufo and War Like Goddess who takes on the boys. It’s a great betting race as well where you can make a good case for five or six of the entrants.  

  1. Bye Bye Melvin: Graham Motion enters this gelding off two nice performances at the Spa topped by a 101 Beyer in a third level allowance race where he took the field all nine furlongs for the win.  Looks like he will provide the speed here today as Fergal Lynch ships in for the mount.  This is the third start off a fourteen month layoff – if he can get loose he could be dangerous provided he wants to go this far. He’ll have some pretty good ones chasing him. Possible at a price.      
  2. War Like Goddess: Bill Mott sends this top turf marathon mare out to face the boys. Last out in the Flower Bowl she was pace compromised but was ridden way too casually by Rosario who let her get too far off the pace and while she closed like a freight train she but couldn’t get to the leader.  Two back she toyed with the field in the Glens Falls Stakes (98 Beyer). Filly is eight for eleven in her career and fits pretty nicely with this group. Mott chose to put her here because he wants her to stay at a mile and a half – where she is four for four. I expect Lezcano to have her closer today as he picks up the mount with Rosario riding at Keeneland this weekend. The Pick.
  3. Adhamo: Didn’t show up in the Sword Dancer finishing eighth (91 Beyer).  Sat off the pace in the United Nations and made a nice outside move to mow them down in the stretch (104 Beyer) as the favorite for Chad Brown.  That was his first win in four attempts stateside since shipping over from France.  Is up against it as others are quicker late on. Not today.
  4. Astronaut: Tom Albertrani brings this one in from the West Coast where he had his first start of the year at Del Mar last month in the Del Mar Mile where he failed to fire (81 Beyer).  Will need a major improvement to contend here. Second start off a long layoff. Trainer Stat: Tom Albertrani is 0/19 in second off of a layoff between 180 and 365 days over the past four years. Looking elsewhere.
  5. Rockemperor: Winner of last year’s rendition of this race for Chad Brown didn’t show much last out in the Sword Dancer finishing ninth (91 Beyer).   Two back in the Bowling Green – he sat off the pace and made his move coming off the far turn to sweep by the main body of the field and then held off Arklow who was also closing (102 Beyer). Castellano picks up the mount.  Not sure he wants twelve furlongs – he is one for six at today’s distance.  Lean against.
  6. Soldier Rising: Was a strong third behind Gufo last out in the Sword Dancer (103 Beyer).  He made good headway late after trailing the field, but he was no serious threat to the winner.  Consistent runner has hit the board in all five starts this year but has only two wins in optional claiming company.  He is on the upswing and will be coming late. Underneath in exotics.
  7. Gufo: This race finds Gufo in very good form. Two back he won the Sword Dancer for the second time in a row by saving ground and making his move inside the eighth pole (104 Beyer). He then came back in two weeks and lost by a nose in the Kentucky Turf Cup at Kentucky Downs to Red Knight (97 Beyer).  That ended a run of five straight triple digit Beyers – but that Kentucky Downs course is pretty quirky so I wouldn’t hold it against him. He is going well and certainly can get the distance.  Alvarado gets in the irons for regular rider Rosario which is a negative jock move in my view given how well Rosario has ridden this colt. Loves the marathon distance. Can he do it again?  Minor award.

Picks 2-6-7-1