Race of the Week 2017

The Gallant Bloom Mystery Could Provide BC Clues

Dance Card 615 X 400 Gaz
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


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