Racing at Belmont Park
Racing at Belmont Park|NYRA

Thoroughbreds Sunday: McMudder picks a race each at Belmont, Monmouth, Parx and Pimlico

His first post is 2:34 pm EDT

Mick McMudder

Mick McMudder

More turf, more stakes, more fun. One of the challenges of handicapping much of the year is the dominance of short fields. Mick has wrote much on this topic but now the narrative has changed. With turf now in play at most tracks (Parx is yet to get there…) this week, it’s now time to focus on handicapping big fields on the weeds. That will require three important parameters to be analyzed, pedigree, proclivity, and preparation. The pedigree analysis will change as the turf strips dry out and become firmer as will the proclivity since some turf horses like cut and others do not. It’s preparation that really matters. Some trainers are good at bringing turf runners off layoffs (Graham Motion and Chad Brown) while others tend to race their runners into shape (Rodney Jenkins and virtually every claiming oriented stable). So look for the overlay playing into the strengths of the pedigree, proclivity and preparation.

Picks for May 26, 2019:

It’s Memorial Day weekend so temperatures in the 90s should be expected. Expect them.

Belmont Race 4
Wow…a long, turf maiden. For regular Mick readers, this fits with today’s introduction. And it’s the kind of race that every track secretary wants on the card. A deep, well matched field that has multiple angles, all of which will increase handle. Only one filly in this one has seen this 9f distance previously, 3-Amarone, but that was not the most impressive of outings. So the other angles to look at here are second or third career starts, first on turf, trainer surface/start metrics, and even, look for firsters if the balance of the field is weak. Throwing out the low percentage barns and the MTO leaves 4 horses in consideration. 7-Pecatonica is a firster from an OK firster barn but the works have been only OK and the 9f distance is not one for the underprepared. 2-Paved with Gold is second career/first turf for trainer Todd Pletcher who wins at 30% with second career starters. 1-Petalite is third career/second turf after competing on a yielding course last out. The firmer course may help but the distance is a question based on some strong speed influences in the pedigree. Which brings us full circle, 3-Amarone, in her 5th career start, looks to break through for trainer Mike Maker, an 18% trainer on turf. She appears to have figured out that she needs to leave some in the tank to finish races and that maturity will set her apart here.
$10 W/P/S 3-Amarone
$2 Exacta Box 2,3
$1 Trifecta Box 1,2,3

Monmouth Race 9 Miss Liberty Stakes
More long turf races but with older fillies and mares, these have already shown their abilities….and limitations. This is a wonderfully well matched group of runners with angles galore. 6-Jehozacat is one of two in here for top turf trainer Arnaud Delacour. She seems to be a better runner since her extended layoff and the pedigree says that the firmer going will help. Connections have been patient with this one and she is well intentioned here. 2-Goiaba is the other Delacour runner and is a step behind her mate but still tough in here. Look for her underneath. 4-Fools Gold needs to be part of the discussion due to trainer Chad Brown. Turf mares at a route are a specialty and this one was closing last out off the layoff. One more step forward gets the job done here.
$10 W/P/S 6-Jehozacat
$2 Exacta box 4,6
$1 Trifecta box 2,4,6

Parx Race 7
is only here because he was DQed last time at this level. Staying straight may be his largest issue but that should be easier with a good start. Obviously, something else can go wrong but don’t bet on it here. 7-EJ’s Revenge is interesting underneath as he is moving to a sharp claiming organization for the first time. 5-Incubator gets the other nod for underneath as he returns for a barn that is super strong on second starts and cut backs.
$50 W 6-Shamrocked
$2 Exacta box 6,7
$1 Trifecta box 5,6,7

Pimlico Race 4
7-Eye on Berlin
gets important class relief here and should show these that she is the class in this race. If she runs back to two ago, no one else is close.
$10 W/P/S 7-Eye on Berlin

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