Weekend Plays: Who's best fit to upset Code of Honor?

Weekend Plays: Who's best fit to upset Code of Honor?
Photo: Eclipse Sportswire

Code of Honor returns in the Grade 3, $100,000 Westchester Stakes on Saturday at Belmont Park. Despite his lofty credentials as a multiple graded stakes winner last year, this comeback race presents an opportunity to bet against him because trainer Shug McGhaughey does not often crank his horses off a break.

With that in mind, there are a few alternative options in here, including the older 6-year-old horse Senior Investment. Remember him?  Senior Investment leads off five selections for Saturday at Belmont. 

Belmont Race 7: Westchester Stakes (G3)

Senior Investment
won the 2017 Lexington Stakes (G3) and ran third in the Preakness behind Cloud Computing and Classic Empire. After that, he got stuck in allowance and lower-class stakes races.

This season, Senior Investment started off in mediocre fashion as well with a runner-up finish to Wait for It in a Parx optional claimer on Jan. 31.

However, Senior Investment improved in recent times by winning three starts in a row, including an optional claimer at Laurel Park, an allowance race at Parx and the Harrison E. Johnson Memorial Stakes at Laurel again by five lengths. In the Johnson Memorial, Wait for It found himself fading to fifth, seven lengths behind Senior Investment.

Senior Investment earned a 115 TimeformUS Speed Figure for the stakes win, adjusted down from a raw 123 because of the slow pace.

In his eighth start for trainer Scott Lake, Senior Investment will climb back up the ladder to aim for another Grade 3. Perhaps Lake figured him out.

At 10-1 odds, Senior Investment is a good play to upset this field.

Belmont Race 1: Claiming $16k

Desert Lights is notable for two main reasons.

For one, he was claimed out of a Feb. 29 race at Aqueduct and transferred from Randi Persaud to the high-percentage Jeremiah Englehart barn. Also, Englehart opts to raise the price slightly off the claim to $16k. Generally, when a horse is claimed and starts for an equal or higher price, that is a sign of good health.  

In terms of pace, Desert Lights owns enough speed to settle in mid-pack early on. From the outside, he will find himself in a good position running in the clear as speed horses Fox Red, Tipsy Moose and Getoffmyback all possess enough early foot to set him up.

At 10-1, Desert Lights is a good option include in the early Pick 5.

Belmont Race 3: Maiden

Break Beat is a 3-year-old son of Blame and the Harlan’s Holiday mare Fierce, a half-sister to the 2001 Riva Ridge Stakes winner Put It Back.

He ends up as the top selection by default.

Dreams of Tomorrow enters as the even money choice, but he hung for third in his career debut against modest competition at Gulfstream.

First Line ran second to a weak horse in Mr Phil on Feb. 28.

Buona Fina’s pedigree gives the impression of a router.

Pardsy worked poorly on May 22 with the rider needing to urge him.

In contrast to Pardsy, Break Beat shows a nice workout on May 5, finishing the four furlongs in a sparkling 47.55 on this course. He ran third-fastest out of a significant 115 horses at the distance.

At a minimum, Break Beat deserves a spot in multi-race wagers.

Belmont Race 6: Fort Marcy Stakes (G2)

Given the lack of pace, Somelikeithotbrown is in a good spot to flash his early speed and possibly steal the Fort Marcy at double-digit odds.

Forgive Somelikeithotbrown’s flop on Jan. 20, when he ran a dismal 11th in an optional claimer at Gulfstream. He came off a 289-day layoff.

Somelikeithotbrown rebounded at Turfway by taking an allowance race by 3 ¼ lengths and finishing second in the Kentucky Cup Classic after settling in mid-pack. His past form indicates that he owns more speed.

As a 3-year-old, Somelikeithotbrown won the Jeff Ruby Steaks (G3) on the lead before setting the pace in the Blue Grass Stakes (G1) on dirt and fading to fourth.

No other horse in this race wants the lead, which means he could find himself alone if Eric Cancel chooses to utilize his mount's early speed.

Assuming Somelikeithotbrown lets loose at the start, watch out.

Belmont Race 8: Intercontinental Stakes (G3)

At first glance, Newspaperofrecord might strike bettors as a lost cause after losing three times last year in three starts. Two of those losses came at 1/5 and 1/9.

Newspaperofrecord ran credible races, though, in the Edgewood Stakes (G3) and Wonder Again Stakes (G3). She only hit a wall in the stretch both times, giving the impression of a filly who needed to cut back.

Why did Newspaperofrecord not hit a wall in the Miss Grillo Stakes (G2) and Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Fillies as a 2-year-old filly? Back then, she beat up on inexperienced fillies by using her speed to bottom out the field early on. The same tactics failed to work as a 3-year-old filly.

Toss out the Belmont Oaks Invitational (G1) flop last year. She played tug of war with Irad Ortiz Jr. and exhausted herself in the process.

Cutting back to seven furlongs will help. Ortiz will not need to strangle Newspaperofrecord, allowing the filly to flash speed comfortably.

Newspaperofrecord is the choice to bounce back into winning form.


Meet Reinier Macatangay

My first time at the racetrack came as a 5-year-old kid at Santa Anita Park. For most of my younger life, that was the only track I attended other the occasional visit to Hollywood Park. 

Years later, after graduating California State University, Stanislaus with an English MA, I began writing for Lady and the Track. From late 2014-2016, my articles were seen on a weekly basis and covered handicapping, interviews with well-known racing personalities, fashion and more. 

The handicapping style I use concentrates on pace analysis. Some horses are compromised by the pace. Others are helped. Handicappers just starting out cannot easily see how pace affects the finish, so with this blog, I hope to help those unsure of how to apply pace into their handicapping and post-race analysis. 

On an unrelated note, I enjoy video games and attending anime or comic-book conventions. I am currently based in Kentucky, but spend a lot of time traveling between there and California.

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