Friday, July 7, 2017

Handicapper's Corner Belmont Derby Inv. (G1)

Yoshida Tough to Overlook in Belmont Derby Invitational

 By: Reinier Macatangay, Thoughts on Racing, Life and More

Accepting the value on a horse like Yoshida in the $1.2 million Belmont Derby (GI) on Saturday can be tough for bettors. For starters, the 3-year-old son of Heart’s Cry (JPN) is trained by the legendary Bill Mott for Winstar Farm. The public favors certain connections.

Plus with such enormous talent displayed in his last two starts, people will notice Yoshida's actual ability too.

For instance, the 3-year-old son of Heart’s Cry (JPN) recently took the James W. Murphy Stakes with devastating ease. And he did this despite a poor break where he was pinched by his stall neighbors and had to start the race from last place. He bulled his way through. 

The winning margin of four lengths is also superb. As for why, it is because horses cannot win turf races in a blowout fashion most of the time. A margin of a few lengths on grass is equal to a lot more on dirt, while the majority of other turf races end up in a clustered mess. 

Yoshida also broke his maiden by four lengths using early speed to wire them at Keeneland. At Pimlico, he came from last. Both wins indicate the young talent can adapt well.

As pointed out above though, do not expect any kind of value on Yoshida. This is the kind of horse bettors will pound at the windows, to possibly below 2-1. But he does look great.

Other handicappers will look towards the two European invaders from the Aidan O'Brien barn, Homesman and Whitecliffsofdover. Ironically, both horses are American-bred.  

The former is a Group 3 winner in Ireland. He gave the King George V Stakes at Royal Ascot a chance and closed okay for fifth. It did not appear he made a huge impact on the race.

Meanwhile, the latter horse Whitecliffsofdover is a royally-bred son of War Front. His second dam is a full sister to the well-known sire Pulpit, who is a son of A.P. Indy. The A.P. Indy line is not generally known as a great list of turf influences, but most of them can run long.

Can Whitecliffsofdover go from seven furlongs to 1 1/4 miles? It is a valid question, despite the pedigree. At least, O’Brien applies Lasix to both and is experienced at shipping here.

Going down the list of probable winners, the rail horse Good Samaritan and Ticonderoga deserve consideration off their second and third-place finishes in the Pennine Ridge (GIII).

The Pennine Ridge winner Oscar Performance, who also competes in this race, got away with a relatively easy and uncontested lead. Good Samaritan and Ticonderoga had little chance after the half went in 49 and the six-furlong split went in 1:14. Both of them closed well.

For a crazier pick, give Makarios a glance over at 30-1. Yes, this big Nick Zito-trained colt lost the Pennine Ridge by five lengths, but the jockey never had a chance to tip out on the turn. With a little more breathing room, he could blow up the trifecta like at Keeneland. 

Nevertheless, the race runs through the promising Yoshida. He either will live up to the hype or go down against tougher competition in this spot. 

$100 Handigambling
$30 Win - Yoshida
$20 Exactas - Yoshida / Homesman, Whitecliffsofdover
$15 Exactas - Yoshida / Good Samaritan, Ticonderoga
(If Yoshida really becomes pounded in exotics though, just watch the race.)

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