Jun 05, 2009
Thru the Binoculars
By: John Piesen
THE LONGEST DAY
When they filmed The Longest Day a few years back, surely this is not what they had in mind. But, indeed, June 6, 2009, will be the longest day in the history of New York racing.
Thirteen races Saturday morning, afternoon and evening at Belmont Park, commencing at 11:35 a.m., and concluding at 7:45 p.m., will test any and every racegoer's stamina, much less their bankroll.
Getting the distance will be the main issue for not only the 10 horses in the Belmont Stakes, but for the 60,000 folks expected for New York's biggest racing day. Of course, that is a lot less than what would have been expected if Rachel Alexandra 1) did not show up for the Preakness, or 2) did show up for the Belmont.
The Belmont, to be run at 6:27 p.m. as Race 11, will cap a stakes six-pack, and the good thing is that all six are compelling betting races. For that matter, that goes for the entire 13-race card.
Fortunately for the house, and the players, after three dank days, sunshine with temps in the high '70s is predicted for Saturday. This is an especially good thing in view of the fact that six of the 13 races are scheduled for the grass.
Another especially good thing is that my full-card selections are available now here online and on the red-hot John Piesen Hotline at 1-888-612-2283. In case you missed it, the JP Hotline started the week off Wednesday at Belmont with a $45.20 winner (Sergeant Karakorum) and $105.50 exacta box.
Let's take a look at the six stakes Saturday, which will be linked in a $1 million guaranteed Pick Six.
Benny the Bull, who won this race last year en route to a perfect 4-for-4 campaign, gets the one-hole and 123-pound topweight for the $250,000 True North Handicap for 3-year-olds and up at six furlongs. Benny, cross-entered in a Monmouth allowance sprint on Saturday, has been training well for Big Brown's connections for his first start in 11 months. Only fitting that Two Step Salsa, who is owned by Godolphin, won the Godolphin Mile
in Dubai, beating Arkansas Derby winner Gayego. But note that jockey Dettori is passing up the trip to ride TSS back. Coa will try to steal this with Sixthirteen, who is 3-1-0 from four starts over the track in considerably weaker company. Desert Key busted a lot of folks when he got beat at 50 cents to the dollar off the layoff, but they'll going to have to run in eight and change here to beat him. Fabulous Strike, 12-for-21, and 3-for-5 at Belmont, finally gets an outside post, and figures to sit a stalking trip behind Sixthirteen.
Forever Together, third at 44-1 in this race last year, will be a lot shorter in this renewal of the $400,000 Just A Game for fillies and mares, 3 and up, at a mile on the grass. I recall when Just A Game finished second at 1-5 off a layoff, and trainer David Whiteley told Daily Racing Form that he was delighted with her performance. Since her third in the JAG last year, Forever Together has won four of five stakes for Long Jon, including the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf, and will be favored here despite being asked to concede five pounds to her seven rivals as the 123-pound highweight. Fact is that she'll be the closest thing to a single in the Pick Six. Modern Look, making her second U.S. start for Bethany Frankel's father, could be the spoiler. Diamondrella has won five straight for young Penna, four of the five over the course. My Princess Jess, Carribean Sunset (first-time Dominguez) exit one-two finish in the Beaugay. Raw Silk wired the Sands Point over the course last year, and, as always, is the mare to catch. I Lost My Choo (7-for-12) is the queen of the New York-bred female turf runners.
A pair of unbeatens, Everyday Heroes and Hull, are drawn widest in the $250,000 Woody Stephens Stakes for 3-year-olds at seven furlongs -- formerly the Riva Ridge. Everyday Heroes was bought by the sheiks after his blowout win in the Hirsch Jacobs on the Preakness undercard, but retains his trainer and rider. Regal Ransom, dropping in class and distance from the Derby, completes tough sheik entry in wide-open betting race. Belmont Stakes players can go to school on Hello Broadway. Third straight time This Ones for Phil gets burned with the one-hole.
Justwhistledixie, a winner of four straight stakes, has been training well since forced to scratch from the Kentucky Oaks with foot issues. Who knows? If Rachel had beaten Dixie a length in the Oaks, Rachel may not have been sold, and Mine That Bird would be shooting for the Triple Crown in an hour. Comely winner Dream Play caps uncoupled entry from McLaughlin, who is going for an Acorn-Belmont double. Albarado likely passing up multiple Churchill winners to ride Four Gifts for Asmussen. Funny Moon was flattered by Solo Piano's win against older horses Wednesday. Doremifasollatido is 2-2-0 from four starts over the track. Gabby's Golden Gal takes 'em as far as she can for Baffert.
The $400,000 Manhattan Handicap for 3-and-up at 10 furlongs is the best grass race thus far this year. Too bad ABC won't bother to air it during its two-hour Belmont telecast. But it is good to see that racing is paying tribute today to fallen jockey Rene Douglas, who won the '08 Manhattan by a nose on Dancing Forever. Six of the 14 horses in the field are millionaires, including the 10-year-old Better Talk Now, who has banked $4.2 million. Note that jockey Dominguez chooses the 4-year-old Court Vision over BTN and Gio Ponti. Since Leparoux is named on both Frankel runners, one likely will scratch. Johnny V. will have to use Cowboy Cal early from post 12.
Would not be surprised if Charitable Man goes favored over Mine That Bird in the $1 million Belmont Stakes for 3-year-olds at a mile and a half. When was the last Belmont field with just one Grade One winner? And that was at 50-1! Charitable Man flies the colors of Mr. and Mrs. W.K. Warren Jr., who finished second in the '08 Belmont with Denis of Cork. Another husband-wife team, the Jayaramans, who own Summer Bird, are Grade One surgeons. Chip Woolley, the trainer of Mine That Bird, is attempting to improve his '09 record to 3-for-41. Four Belmont trainers -- Lukas, Zito, Pletcher and McLaughlin -- have won a combined eight Belmonts. Pletcher and McLaughlin were assistants at same time under Lukas.
Finally, a reminder of what a tough game this is:
On Thursday at Hollywood Park, there was a $208 winner in the Pick Six...and the gimmick still got hit!
Good luck this weekend...and we'll talk more on Monday.
MAKE BELMONT STAKES DAY
YOUR RICHEST DAY OF THE YEAR
WITH RECORD-SETTING HANDICAPPER JOHN PIESEN
If you want a crack at both million-dollar jackpots, you need to have the inside edge. Any average bettor can throw a dart and find a winner in a single race. Well-informed horse players who do their homework can cash some nice tickets, but to hit the winners on multiple races in succession, you need more. You need to know what barns have held their horses back for just this day. You have to have been at morning works and in the backstretch to understand what favorites have a swishing tail and are ripe for a bounce. You need to be able to talk to the top people in horse racing and find out what they're thinking. Then, and only then, do you have a puncher's chance of nailing the winner SIX STRAIGHT TIMES.
I know something about winning in succession. I set the world record by picking winners for 207 consecutive days, as documented by The Daily Racing Form. I did it because I had access to all the right information. Imagine being able to exchange insights with a Larry Jones, John Servis, or Ken McPeek. Or with D. Wayne Lukas or a Steve Asmussen. These are the high level contacts I have dealings with every day - along with jockey agents and informants along every backstretch in the country. Stakes, claimers, routes, sprints, turf, dirt - race after race, I know which runners are being "sent" to get the money and whether they can get the job done.
I will make you a winner on Belmont Stakes Day. Get with me and I'll give you my 1-2-3 order of finish in the Belmont Stakes for only $15 (all available NOW, until post time Saturday). To make fuller use of connections and expertise, and to make even more money, you can get my full card for only $50. That's all 13 races, with exactas, trifectas, Daily Doubles, Pick-3s--and of course the twin million-dollar jackpots on the Pick-4 and Pick-6.
It's the last leg of the Triple Crown and that means it's your last chance to get a piece of the year's biggest action. Don't miss it!
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