Photo: Eclipse Sportswire
Saturday at Belmont Park
will feature the Grade 2 Gallant Bloom for fillies and mares, 3 and up, going 6
1/2 panels on the main. A very interesting and super talented field of
sprinters will take center stage with Breeders Cup dreams on their minds.
Handicapping wise, I found this race to be pretty tricky to decipher. I
have a gut feeling this is going to be a very key race moving forward and I
will be paying particularly close attention. I do feel pretty confident
that the winner will come from the 4 fillies that I am about to discuss.
So without further ado, let's see how they stack up.
Let’s start with the probable favorite Dance to Bristol. Hard to
knock this one. All she has done lately is win 7 in a row including 2
graded stakes scores at The Spa. She overcame the 1 hole in her last and
has drawn fantastic for this spot. She should be able to secure a nice
trip sitting right off the pace. I can’t blame anyone for picking her for
top honors here.
Next up let’s take a look at a couple of contenders
coming off vacations. Lets start at the rail with the Steve Asmussen
trained Cluster of Stars. This filly is 5/5 and super talented. She
was last seen taking a Grade 2 at the Big A and she’s been working dynamite for
this spot. I think she should be ready right off the bench. It doesn’t
hurt to see Castellano climbing back aboard either. Only knock here would
be the rail draw but I believe she has the speed and talent to overcome. A
very dangerous filly indeed.
Kiaran McLaughlin provides us the other layoff contender
in my eyes with Dance Card. This filly has been firing bullets in the
morning and she can fire fresh. She is making her 2013 bow after last
being seen taking the Grade 1 Gazelle back in November. The only question
with this one to me is the distance. She
has never run this short before, but she has won here at Belmont going 1 turn. I’m not worried
about it and I think she has a huge shot in here.
Last but certainly not least, is the Pletcher
trainee Holiday Soiree. In her first start in Todd's yard, all she did
was promptly run a career best Beyer in taking a stakes at The Spa. I
know that was in restricted company but you have to take them seriously in this
spot. Johnny V. remains in the saddle and I don’t have to explain to you guys
how lethal this combo is. Must respect.
The Play: I am going to rely on the 2 horses
coming off layoffs in here, Dance Card and Cluster of Stars. They just
have tremendous upside and I love the way both have been working. I
respect the heck out of Dance to Bristol
I just haven’t been visually wow'd by her personally. That could be a
really dumb statement going forward but i'm taking a shot against her today.
As for Holiday Soiree, she scares me bad. I just have to let her beat me
today if she’s good enough. I will key Dance Card and Cluster of Stars in
the pick 4 and also key both in the exacta over Holiday Soiree and Dance to Bristol. Best of
luck everyone. Have a winning day.
~Written by Michael Barry