2014 Belmont Stars & Stripes (Part 2)

2014 Suburban Stakes

RomanshThis is the 2nd part of our 2014 Belmont Stars & Stripes Festival coverage, highlighting the 5 stakes races on the card at Belmont this Saturday. For part 1 of this article that showcases the Dwyer, Belmont Sprint and the Belmont Derby, click here- 2014 Belmont Stars & Stripes Part 1. It’s time to preview two stakes races at Belmont Park and they are the Grade 2 Suburban Stakes and the Grade 1 Belmont Oaks Invitational Stakes. Let’s look at the Suburban Stakes first. This race is for four year olds and upward going 11/4 miles for a purse of $500,000.  The morning line favorite in this one is Thomas Albertrani’s Romansh with Jose Ortiz in the irons. Are you kidding me? Romansh is the favorite in this field? I mean this is a pretty tough field of thoroughbreds here. Yes he did win a grade 3 event back in March, but it was a short field and did not have the talent in it this one has. He did run third to Palace Malice in his last start at 19 to 1, so I guess someone believed that he earned favoritism for this race because of it. Whoever set the odds for this race needs to retire and pay me to do it. Romansh likes to be on the pace and try to win it that way. I don’t believe he will win this one. Second choice in the ML is Chad Brown’s Last Gunfighter with Javier Castellano aboard. The Gunfighter has only one race this year and he won that one by a nose at Penn National. He has a long list of impressive speed figures with workouts in the mornings that lend even more to his ability. While he comes from off the pace as a rule, he can lay pretty close to the pace as well.

Prayer For ReliefNext choice in the morning line is Todd Pletcher’s Micromanage with John Velazquez in the saddle. His last win came in the Grade 3 Skip Away at Gulfstream Park. He can come from far back, but recently has changed his running style to laying closer to the pace. He came up a neck short in his last start in the Grade 2 Brooklyn here at Belmont. Make no mistake. There are several good horses in here. Moreno, My Lute, Vyjack and others will make this a good race and hard to handicap. But I have to give the nod to the one I liked in the Steven Foster and that is Prayer for Relief with Corey Nakatani in the irons. I can’t give you what you would consider a valid reason why, except that he will have long odds. I believe Last Gunfighter will be second and Micromanage third.

2014 Belmont Oaks

XcellenceNow let’s look at the Belmont Oaks Invitational Stakes for three year old fillies going a distance of 11/4 miles on the inner turf for a purse of $1,000,000.  I really don’t like this kind of race, because it has four horses that come from overseas somewhere and I cannot get an accurate read on their past performances because all they show is where the horse finished. What? How could a handicapper judge anything about a horse when all the paper tells you is where they finished? I mean there is no first call or second call or stretch call or nothing! If they started doing that over here, then you would see me retire as a handicapper. It boggles the mind. I don’t even see any comments on the races, just the top three finishers. Talk about throwing darts to pick a winner. That is what I would have to do. Enough of my ranting. The morning line favorite is Francouis Doumen’s Xcellence with Gerald Mosse aboard. I really don’t know how he runs his race because as I have said before there are no “calls” in his past performance. I can see his final time, but that is it. His fastest 1 mile time was around 1:40. So how does he rate favoritism? Is this some sort of political correctness here? There I go ranting again. He won’t be getting any of my money. Second choice in the ML is Wayne Catalano’s Room Service with Shaun Bridgmohan in the saddle. She likes to come from far back as she proved in winning the Grade 1 Ashland Stakes at Keenland in April. She is a winner of three graded stakes in a row and in my opinion deserves the role as favorite in this race.

Room ServiceThird pick in the morning line is Dermot Weld’s Flying Jib with Patrick Smullen in the irons. This is another that I can’t tell you much about other than she has won three in a row. However they were not graded stakes wins. Oh, they do tell you if the stakes races are graded or not. So who will win this Belmont Oaks? To be honest I cannot and will not pick any of the foreign horses because I can’t deduce how good they actually are. One may win the race, but not with my money. I’ve been told to pick a potential winner so I choose Room Service first, Rosalind second, (she dead heated with Room Service in the Asland) and Sea Queen third. Personally I will just eat a corned beef sandwich and watch this one. Happy Handicapping Guys and Gals!



2014 Belmont Stars & Stripes Festival Grand Slam Showdown



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Handicap Horses

Co-lead Author & Admin at Handicap Horse Racing
Mike Lane, Sr is co-lead author and administrator of With over 38 years of experience and a degree in the "School of Hard Knocks" for handicapping, Mike has seen it all when it comes to thoroughbred racing and wants to help other horse players learn how to handicap and avoid the mistakes he has made in the past.

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