BELMONT AT THE BIG A – 9/22/2023
RACE 1: 3-2-5-7
#3 CUMBERLAND BLUES is now in the care of Rick Dutrow, Jr. after being claimed for 14k last time out. He should be in a good position just off the pace shortening up in distance from the 9 furlong trip last out at the Spa. This is the right spot class-wise and the improvement shown in his last three dirt starts makes him the one to beat.
RACE 2: 3-7-6-2
#3 KUPP goes first off a claim by trainer Carlos David, who has done well with these types over the years. He has ample early speed and was unable to use it last time out in a softer claimer for straight 3YOs. This is a good spot class-wise facing N3L claimers and his biggest weapon is his tactical speed.
RACE 3: 1-2-5-4
#2 BRING ME A CHECK is interesting in that he shortens up in distance while dropping in class for trainer Pat Reynolds. He set the pace in the Bernard Baruch last time out before being collared in mid-stretch. The fact he fought on gamely to come back for 2nd shows the courage of this veteran gelding and he’s now returning to his best game.
RACE 4: 1-9-3-5
It is hard to feel confident about any runner in here but #1 MEMENTO MI is the one to beat. She drops significantly in class for a trainer that has had some success on this circuit. The pace should set things up for a late runner and this gal will do her best running in the stretch. Negotiating a trip from the rail is the only real concern.
RACE 5: 2-10-11-8
One thing that’s clear is that if #2 BAD LARRY runs his last race he will leave the maiden ranks. He set a robust pace last time out before weakening late in a race that otherwise completely fell apart. The lead is his for the taking based on the speed he showed that afternoon and trainer Mike Maker quietly had a very strong opening week.
RACE 6: 2-6-1/1A-8
#2 RHOMBIQUE was overmatched last time out at the Spa in a race with no pace. She is a late runner who needs things to heat up on the front end and the pace in here will be robust. This is likely the ideal distance for this daughter of Ghostzapper and she will be a very attractive price at the windows.
RACE 7: 3-4-7-6
#3 MURSAL was a competitive 4th against comparable foes last time out and should be in a good spot stalking the pace this afternoon. She ran a hole in the wind two starts back and wound up second in her first try off a claim. If she can run back to that race she’ll be a major threat here.
RACE 8: 5-2-1-3
There might not be a better bet at this meet than #5 SPUNGIE. She was put at a disadvantage last time out with an eventful run around the first turn and then stayed on the hedge much of the way. There’s an argument that the inside path on the Mellon turf when the temporary rail was taken down was a disadvantage. This gal should rebound today, especially if she can show some speed.
RACE 9: 8-10-3-5
#8 IRISH GENT was also stuck inside last time out when the rail was likely a disadvantage on the Mellon turf. He adds blinkers today and should be able to get loose in here given the lack of speed signed up. He showed enough on debut to be given a long look anyway, as he will likely improve with experience.
BELMONT AT THE BIG A STATS: 47-15-5-6 $127.50