HHR’s 2 Year Old Stakes Watch- Astoria & Tremont

Belmont’s Astoria & Tremont Stakes

CaliforniaChromeNow that the Triple Crown season is officially done, it’s time to start our 2014 2 year old stakes watch here at HandicapHorseRacing.Com. Last year we saw a lot of good plays come through, the most notable being California Chrome who went on to win the Kentucky Derby and Preakness. Even now, there are still some from that bunch that have yet to hit their stride and may very well go on to greatness. I love the 2 year old and early three year old horses because you never know when you are betting on a future legend! This weekend we kick things off with the Astoria Stakes (on Saturday) and the Tremont Stakes (on Sunday) at Belmont. Let’s see what we can find!

Astoria Stakes at Belmont

RuffianThe $100,000 Astoria Stakes is the 4th race on the card Saturday at Belmont and will host a field of 6 two year old fillies traveling 5 ½ furlongs. Although the Astoria is currently held at Belmont, it has been hosted at several tracks since its inception back in 1905. Aqueduct hosted the Astoria back in 1974 where a young 2 year old filly named Ruffian won it in her second outing. In Saturday’s event, Lindy is the morning line favorite at 9/5.  This will be Lindy’s second outing, having won her first race at Presque Isle Downs on May 13th by 4 ½ lengths in a 4 ½ furlong straight maiden 35k. In that race she won it wire-to-wire and was ridden out. Trained by Wesley Ward, Lindy will have Mario Pino in the irons. Looking to give her some trouble is Fashion Alert at 2/1 on the ML. This will be the first outing for fashion Alert, but she is showing some strong works and has a great jockey/trainer combo with Todd Pletcher and John Velazquez. For value, I’m going with Liatris at 3/1 on the morning line. In my opinion, most of these young horses (if they are good) try to run wire-to-wire races in their first starts (just like Lindy did in her first outing.) But if they are truly special, they stalk and win it. In Liatris’ first outing she won a straight maiden 40k at Pimlico stalking the pace in a 5 furlong event. She didn’t make her move until the stretch call where she started out 2 ½ lengths behind the leader and finished the race with a 3 ¾ lengths lead! I believe she will be slightly overlooked and looks the best in this field to me. If I had to find a longshot in this one, I would give the nod to Dads Little Girls and strongly consider her for a superfecta play and possibly a tri.

Tremont Stakes at Belmont

AlydarThe Tremont Stakes has been around since 1887 and has seen the likes of Man o’ War, Foolish Pleasure and Alydar in its winner’s circle. We were supposed to have the Tremont Stakes on Sunday at Belmont, but when I grabbed my past performance to analyze this event, it appears to have been dropped from the card. I’m not sure of the reasoning, but there is a rumor (via Google) that the race will be set for June 20th now. I don’t know how true that is, but be certain that HHR will find out and analyze it should that happen. Both the Astoria and Tremont haven’t run since 2008, so it would be a shame for them to renew the Astoria and not the Tremont. I’m sure something is in the works! At any rate, good luck and good racing!



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Mike Jr, eldest son of Mike Lane Sr, is co-lead author at and was raised on thoroughbred horse racing and handicapping. Although father and son often butt heads on their selections, they both have much love and admiration for the sport. Mike Jr. brings a new, fresh perspective to horse racing and is often in search of new angles to try.

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