After posting a positive ROI in the first quarter of operations, our Racetrack Super Scout has struggled at the start of Q2. Today we try to remedy the situation in two ways:
- Sticking more closely to the BRIS speed figures (per The Punter’s Tale), which we sometimes drift away from in favor of more esoteric handicapping
- Exercising greater selectivity in which favorites to bet against
And that brings us to Belmont Park’s feature race on Saturday: the Grade 2 Suburban Handicap. We think our pick in that race, First Captain, is our best bet of RTSS Q2 so far. Betting an 8-5 horse as second choice isn’t sexy, but we see it as a low-priced bargain. Our full analysis appears below, along with selections at Gulfstream Park.
BELMONT PARK (Saturday, July 9, 2022)
RACE 4. Grade 2 Suburban Stakes. 1 mile and 1/4. Dirt.
False Favorite: #5 Dynamic One (7-5).
Reason: This runner is 0 for 5 in graded stakes races, with 2 of those losses coming in Grade 3 races. His inability to generate any semblance of early speed requires him to dominate late. He can do that in two scenarios:
- against weaker (nongraded) stakes horses
- when a red-hot pace fries the frontrunners and pressers
Twice he lost to Scalding when the pace was a tepid 1:12.4 or so. He finally defeated Scalding when the pace was 1:11.3, much faster than Scalding could handle. The pace of the Suburban will be slow, and he faces a proven graded stakes caliber competitor in First Captain. So Dynamic One gets neither scenario that a plodding horse needs.
BET (just one horse)
#4 First Captain (8-5). Trainer McGaughey taught this quick-early horse how to rate and save his speed for late in a race. Witness his Grade 3 win last time out. He sat off a very slow pace in the Pimlico Special and then delivered a furious rush (5.8 seconds per 1/16, or a final furlong in 11.6 seconds). He came out of that race and posted a sparkling 4-furlong work in :47.1. He’s 2 for 3 in graded stakes races, with his only loss coming in a Grade 1 sprint. And he’s 3 for 3 at Belmont.
In addition to the typical win bet, we suggest keying First Captain in Pick 3 wagers to Race 6, a race where we see another false favorite and thus a shot at a nice payout. You might even want to key him in the Pick 5, which starts in this race and has a mandatory payout.
RACE 6. Allowance N1x. 6.5 furlongs. Dirt.
False Favorite: #8 November Rein (7-2).
Reason: Since defeating just 3 rivals as the 4-5 favorite in his first state-bred stakes race, she has twice been trounced at the same level. I doubt the switch to open company at the allowance level will provide enough class relief.
#1 To a T (6-1). It looks like the pace will come up hot, and she seems most likely to chill out early and blast home late. Irad in the saddle helps. Her first run at Belmont was a winning one, and the followup attempt wasn’t bad, either.
#6 Baba (5-1). Her most recent try at this level was competitive. She followed that with a sharp work. Trainer Rodriguez goes back to the apprentice who won with her 2 races ago.
GULFSTREAM PARK (Saturday, July 9, 2022)
RACE 2. Claiming $6,250. 1 mile. Dirt.
False Favorite: #1 Celestial Cheetah (3-1).
Reason: It looks like Peter Walder plucked this filly out of an open $35,000 claimer intending to grab some juiced-up Florida-bred allowance and optional claimer purses. The $20,000 price tag went on after two failed tries vs. nonclaimers. Now, after three progressively worse runs with a tag on her head, she drops to the bottom.
#2 Shadilee (9-2). We’ll make selections here based solely on the highest BRIS speed figures in the past 2 races. Shadilee owns the 2nd-highest figure (81), which she posted against better horses last time out. The class drop back to her claimed level makes perfect sense, while the high figure suggests peak form.
#5 Real Doozie (4-1). Her 87 BRIS speed figure is a doozie in this field. Her works have been superb, and the sprint at a higher level off the layoff looks to be a trial run to put some wind in her sails for this stretchout.
RACE 6. Maiden Special Weights. 1 mile 70 yards. All Weather.
False Favorite: #1 War on Truth (3-1).
Reason: He’s a debut horse trying to negotiate two turns at first asking. Mark Casse waited until midway through his 3-year-old year to unveil him. The owners paid less than the average rate for a son of Tiznow and a price below the stud fee. They also gelded the horse, suggesting they see limited upside to his career.
#3 Racket (7-2). He should wrest the lead quickly. The switch back to Perez is a big plus. His best time of 1:42.0 for this distance is about 5 lengths faster than anything accomplished by his rivals.
#4 Blind Eye (9-2). He’s a competent closer in a race loaded with early speed. The 74 speed figure earned on turf in his debut would defeat most others in here.