As we come down off of the high that is Kentucky Derby weekend, (kudos to California Chrome and his connections), it is time to get back to grind and hopefully pad our bankrolls for Preakness next week, as we head to Belmont Park for the grade 2 Peter Pan. Tonalist leads the list of contenders and has been tabbed the 2/1 morning line favorite. While he definitely has a great shot to win, I am not so sure the race is as easy as tabbing him the winner and calling it a day. The Peter Pan will highlight the late Pick 4, which is a pretty tough sequence, but definitely manageable and playable. Things kick off with a N1X on the green going 1 1/16th miles, let’s start there…
Race 7 – I am going to take a shot with a single right out of the gate. I am one and done unless Make a Decision crosses that line first. This Linda Rice trainee is a three time winner who is coming into this off of a layoff. He retains the services of Cornelio Velasquez and owns a pair of wins here at Belmont, and at today’s trip. I am anticipating he will be ready to pounce in the lane.
Race 8 – This was a tricky race and I elected to go five deep here with Salutos Amigos, Don Tito, Favor Factor, Eastwood, and Confrontation. Confrontation is my top pick in here as I believe he will enjoy being back in New York. Salutos Amigos and Don Tito are obvious contenders, but I do not trust them completely. I threw in Favor Factor as a longshot. I like the fact Johnny V. stayed aboard and I am thinking that maybe with the barn switch, the cutback, and the return to dirt that he will wake up a bit. As for Eastwood, I wasn’t that high on him, but I think he will be a square price and I am not letting Pletcher knock me out of the Pick 4this leg.
Race 9 – At first glance I thought this race was as easy as singling Tonalist and moving on. But as I looked deeper, my gut told me it may not be as simple as that. So while Tonalist very well could win, he will be joined on my ticket with Matterhorn, Fabulous Kid, and Our Caravan. Fabulous Kid should be on a lonely lead, and while I do worry he may have distance limitations, a loose on the lead charge is too dangerous to leave off the ticket. Matterhorn is getting one more shot from me. I am hoping he can improve going third off the layoff for Todd Pletcher. And lastly, Our Caravan may have woken up in his last while adding blinkers. He owns a win at the trip and I believe he fits with this group.
Race 10 – If I am smart enough to be alive in the nightcap it will be to a more than half of the field. I went seven deep in hopes of catching a price. I won’t go into detail on all of them as I clearly have no strong opinion, but four of the seven are second time starters that I am guessing will improve (Lord Trandor, Dr. Abramson, Lunar Tales, and Knight of Valor). One is coming in off of a layoff after a nice run at Gulfstream in his second start (Private Relation). One is going first time turf for Chad Brown (Hurricane Turn). And one is a first time starter (All My Trails). There is only one opinion I will try to sway you on in here and that is for lone firster, All My Trails. He is trained by former Todd Pletcher assistant, Michael Dilger, who I believe is a very dangerous trainer who can strike at big odds. So although I have no strong opinion in here, he is one I would try and talk you into adding on your tickets. At 20/1 on the morning line he is well worth the risk.
The Play: Fifty cent Pick 4 will cost $70….7 w/ 1-5-6-8-10 w/ 1-2-4-6 w/ 3-4-7-9-10-11-12
Best of luck at the windows this weekend, folks.