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Sep 30, 2011

A CHALKY SATURDAY?

By: By John Piesen:


At first glance, Super Saturday's stakes six-pack at Belmont Park, featuring short fields and short-priced favorites as it does, looks like a chalkfest.

But looks can be deceiving. Look no further than Wednesday's second race. After one scratch, we were left with a five-horse field -- and two of the five were coupled at 1-9!

Bridge-jumpers (not including the mad bomber) fell over themselves getting down on the entry to place.

The entry placed sure enough. It placed a remote fourth and fifth!

We've all seen 1-9 shots get shot down. But until somebody tells me different, I've never seen a 1-9 entry go down...in a five-horse field no less.

That said, we've been on a bit of a roll in the last month. Two weeks back, we predicted in this space that jockey Dominguez would have a big Saturday at Louisiana Downs, and he did. And last week, we warned that jockey Bravo would soon break his Belmont schneid, and he did so that same afternoon with a $50 winner.

We also hyped Monmouth trainer Margotta, and everything he's run since has been in the gimmick.

With that in mind, I'll have my 1-2-3's up and running in all six Saturday stakes in New York, and they can be found online with my Belmont Preview Profit II (Click Here) or call my office at 1-888-612-2283.

Last year's Belmont Breeders' Cup Preview Day was great, just look at these winners.

Vosburgh: Girolamo WON 2nd Choice
Riley Tucker 2nd Exacta Box $49.80
Flower Bowl: Ave WON $23.00 & $10 to Place
Changing Skies 2nd Exacta Box $145.00
Beldame: Life At Ten WON 2nd Choice
Unrivalled Belle 2nd Exacta Box $10
Persistency 3rd Trifecta $14.00
Joe Hirsch Turf Classic: Winchester WON $9.40
Paddy O Prado 2nd Exacta $27.40
Jockey Club Gold Cup Haynesfield WON $17.00
Daily Double $98.00
Pick 3 Paid $292.00
Pick 4 Paid $2,595.00
Kelso Handicap Tizway WON $7.50 2nd Choice

All 6 Winners Were Either My TOP or 2nd CHOICE!
That Pick 4 Only Cost 2 Bettors $16 THAT'S A SCORE!


NOW LET'S TALK ABOUT THIS YEAR'S RACES...

THE FLOWER BOWL (Grade One)

The multiple-stakes winning Stacelita is listed as the 6-5 morning-line favorite for this $500,000 race for fillies and mares at nine furlongs on the inner turf, which I imagine will be soft in view of the weather forecast.

Dominguez has the call from Chad Brown on the French-bred from the outside post in the field of eight, and, at 123 pounds, she'll be conceding four pounds to one and all.

We're talking a tough post and a tough weight spread here.

At the rail is Deluxe, a royally-bred filly who closed from Syosset for second in her American debut. She was so impressive that day that I think she'll go favored despite the fact that the lack of speed in the race works against her closing style. Perhaps, Johnny V., riding for trainer Mott, will figure something. After all, Deluxe has five siblings who are Grade One winners.

Emerald Beech and Aruna are extremely talented fillies from the barns of Maryland neighbors Sheppard and Motion, respectively, and Dynaslew should improve off a troubled trip last time. Distorted Legacy, Senada and the New York-bred Gitchee Goomie complete the field for what looks like the deepest stakes field of the day.


THE JOE HIRSCH (Grade One)

Cape Blanco, fresh from victories in the Man o' War and Arlington Million, opens 4-5 from the one-hole in the $500,000 Joe Hirsch Invitational, a 12-furlong grass race which honors the memory of my old friend and colleague.

All six in the field carry 126 pounds. If the race were a handicap, Capo Blanco would be spotting 8-10 pounds to his five rivals.

Cape Blanco, who has overtaken Gio Ponti as the premier older grass runner, does his training at the Ballydoyle Center in Ireland so this is his fourth Atlantic crossing this year. Jockey Spencer as usual makes the trip to ride him.

Mission Approved no doubt will be the one to catch under Maragh, and belongs in the gimmicks.

Trainer Clement runs the uncoupled entry of recent winner Grassy (Johnny V) and Winchester (Cornelio Velasquez). Dean's Kitten (Dominguez) and Teaks North (Castellano) complete the strong field.


THE VOSBURGH (Grade One)

Before there was a Breeders' Cup, the Vosburgh regularly determined the sprint championship. The $350,000 stake at six furlongs, however, remains a huge race in the sprinting division, and this year's renewal is a corker, matching a Big Three of Trappe Shot, Big Drama and Euroears. Their respective riders are the Big Three of New York -- Johnny V, Dominguez and Castallano.

Of the three, the Baffert-trained Euroears has the most speed, but he will face early heat from Force Freeze. Paco Lopez gives up four or five Monmouth winners to ride Force Freeze, who opens at 20-1.

And you have the Toddster sending out a a coupled entry of Calibrachoa and Calxa Electronia from the dreaded inside with jockeys Maragh and Lezcano.

Trappe Shot will get the trip from the outside post, but Johnny V., who is sitting on a big day, can afford no mistakes.

The field is completed by Apriority, Big Drama's uncoupled stablemate; Giant Ryan, and Justin Phillip, the lone 3-year-old.


THE KELSO HANDICAP (Grade 2)


Uncle Mo looked like his old self getting beat a nostril by JPHL best-bet Caleb's Posse at the Spa. That performance encouraged the NYRA linemaker to make Mo 4-5 against the likes of two-time Spa stakes-winner Jackson Bend, and Cigar Mile winner Jersey Town.

We all know that horses, even super horses, regularly bounce off a big return race, and that very well could include Uncle Mo. That alone makes Mo tough to take at 3-5.

One advantage for Mo. At 117 pounds, he'll be getting four pounds from the older Jackson Bend, the 121-pound topweight in the field of five. I can picture old buddy Nick Zito moaning about the weights afterward to the NYRA quote-takers.

Stu Elliott makes a rare trip from Philly to ride Golddiger's Boy, who looks the main speed in the mile race. Sangaree (from the sheiks) completes the field.

The Toddster says a big race in the Kelso will punch Uncle Mo's ticket to the Breeders' Cup Classic.

Meantime, don't you think that Kelso, in the mix of greatest horse of all-time, deserves a Grade One race in his honor.


THE BELDAME (Grade One)

Havre de Grace, the pro-tem leader for Horse of the Year, will be severely tested by Royal Delta, the top-ranked 3-year-old filly in the land, in the $350,000 Beldame at a mile and a furlong. Last time we saw these two, at Saratoga, Havre de Grace was beating the boys in the Woodward, and Royal Delta was winning the Alabama.

Normally, I'll take the good 3-year-old over the good 4-year-old, but Havre de Grace is not your ordinary 4-year-old. Trainer Jones said before the Woodward that HDG was the best he's ever trained, and she proved him right, beating the boys even more impressively than Rachel Alexandra did two years back.

If she wins the Beldame, Havre de Grace will be on her way to the BC Classic, for which she might even be favored. Trainer Mott no doubt is pointing Royal Delta for the BC Distaff.

Trainer Pletcher is doing Jones and Mott a favor by entering 2010 Beldame winner Life At Ten, who will provide a target.

Satans Quick Chick and Bankers Buy, one-two in seven of nine starts over the track, complete the lineup.

JOCKEY CLUB GOLD CUP (Grade One)

Pletcher and owner Repole are attempting a rare Super Saturday parlay with their prize 3-year-olds Uncle Mo (in the Kelso) and Travers winner Stay Thirsty in the $750,000 JCGC at a mile and a quarter.

And, coincidentally, both drew the three-hole...although Stay Thirsty will be #4 in your program.

Tiz a shame that Tizway sustained a minor injury, which kept him out of the race, but trainer Bond still hopes to get his star to the BC Classic on works.

Flat Out, fresh off seconds in the Whitney and Woodward, figures to give Stay Thirsty all he wants in the Saturday headliner. Perhaps Havre de Grace's performance in the Beldame will give us a line on Flat Out.

Birdrun should be a worthy rabbit for Flat Out, but he will have to handle early pressure from Rodman.

Ice Box, the 2010 Florida Derby winner, and Drosselmeyer, the 2010 Belmont winner, are upset possibilities, and jockey Borel will make the trip from Kentucky to ride outsider A. U. Miner.

Good luck this weekend. Don't forget to check out my Big Belmont Saturday, and we'll see you back here next Thursday.



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