Saturday, September 10, 2011

Weekend Handicapping: A Grassy day on the Green at Belmont

For the Handicap Weekend, I decided to pass the Super Derby and welcome back Belmont Park after a dismal turn at The Spa.  Today’s feature race is the Bowling Green Handicap (G2) Turf going a mile and three eighths, for 3YO and upward.  This is a great race, what I like about it is that all the horses have shown they can go the distance, proven turf winners, consistent speed figures and for some, this is their possible breakout race.  It’s a contentious race, where all have the opportunity to win it and that equals decent prices no matter who you like. So here we go …


#7  Grassy ML 5/2

He is the only G2 winner in the bunch, winning the Red Smith at Aqueduct in November.  He has run well at Belmont in the past, solid Beyer’s (high 90’s) and Gomez is back on.  I’m not one to get too caught up on weight but he is carrying 117 and the two times he did in the past he won, interesting.  There isn’t a ton of early speed in this group so the race shape lines up well for this 5YO.  Not a lock for sure but should be there at the end.

#6 Center Divider ML 5/1

Some of you might raise your eyebrows to this one considering he hasn’t won at the graded level.  What I like about him is his consistency since turning 4.  The Chad Brown – Castellano connections is red hot, three solid works since last out.  JJ will have him up close and just got this feeling he is ready to bust through and make his statement.

#5 Colonialism ML 6/1

I know another surprise here.   This lightly raced 4YO just cleared his classifications and has never raced at the Graded level.   Why today?  I will admit this is more hunch than past performance, but I’m always suspicious when Mott drops a horse in a race that on paper doesn’t look right.  He is known to be a careful trainer with his horses and wouldn’t subject his charge to a demoralizing effort if he didn’t think him to be ready.  Building block Beyer’s (88-89-90-91), Mott has a good record with winner’s last out, and Castro takes over. Finally, with little speed in this race, he could be the one to get out front and be gone. Lastly, what I like too, his he appears to be a tough horse, the comments say, “stubborn”, “willingly”, “bid between” and “prolonged drive”. 

Dark Horses:

#3 Sanagas (GER) ML 2/1

He will either be the favorite or second choice at least.  I do like him in this race; he showed how good he can be in his last race a stakes win at Saratoga.  He popped a 94 Beyer and as many wonder, where is his ceiling.  The only reason I don’t have him in the top three is not sure if he will bounce after that last effort.  He seems to like coming off the pace, this race should set up nicely for his style.   He can definitely win it, I need to see one more. 

#4  Bold Hawk ML 10/1

This is one interesting horse.  Had a strong 3YO campaign winning the Hawthorne(G3) and a good showing in the Hollywood Derby (G1) and then disappeared for three years.  He returned as a 6YO last season for two races, running a 3rd to Grassy in the Red Smith (and just missing). Now at 7, he has four races under his belt, and seems to be all over the track, except the winners circle.  Nice Beyer’s (91-91-90-90), and excellent works.  Blinkers go on for the first time and Espinoza rides him again after a nice race last out.  One of those dangerous horses.

“Bomb’s Away”

#1 Kindergarten Kid ML 8/1

He probably will attract some wagering so not a classical long shot here.  His last outing against some of these horses set the pace and weakened.  This 4YO is the only one that shows any kind of early speed which makes him interesting.  I will admit I have a bias against Garcia on turf, so would shy away from him, but Tagg is an excellent trainer in these situations.  Not sure if he can hold his own with addition of Grassy and Colonialism.  Might surprise us all today.


7 – 6 – 5

Will be blogging my Pick 4 selections for the Guaranteed #20,000 Pick 4 at Balmoral Park later today at

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