The BEL – Grade I
1 1/2 Mile Dirt Stake Purse $1,500.000 Open 3 Year Olds.
Well the last TC race was as different from the other two as you can get. Firstly we had the slop of the KYD, then we had the wide gate death trap of the Preakness and finally we had the motorway centre track of Belmont. Lets face it no horse was winning the TC this year and with three very different races there is no surprise we are none the wiser as to who is the best three year old so far.
So with the rail of death killing off many of the rail huggers and all the winners of the day coming down centre track this was a race of the AI of our wonderful HRP jockeys. Here is how they ran in the final TC race of the year.
1st Positive Thinking, trained by Mb Stables
This colt took the Lewis Stakes as a maiden which caused a few shocked looks early in the year but he quickly proved that was no fluke by running third in the San Felipe and then diving late to grab the SA Derby. That set him up for a tilt at the KYD but a wide gate and/or sloppy ground saw him run a terrible race to finish 13 lengths back in sixteenth. Now we all know that at HRP ground conditions or a wide gate can mean huge differences in form so as i stated in the review of this race that run was best forgotten. So today his challenge was going to be getting off the rail which had for some reason been running very slow and into centre track where a strip of concrete had seen winners all day. JL Ortiz seemed to have been given all the AI brains today as he hauled the three year old to the back of the field early to avoid being stuck in traffic and then used the rail to keep in touch. Gradually working himself onto the motorway strip in the middle of the track he began to make significant progress and in the end ran out an impressive one length winner. Is this now the best three year old? Well taking the KYD run out he has an impressive record and it will be mighty interesting to see how he fares for the rest of the season.
2nd Shootfromthehip, trained by Nakamura Stables
Drawn six Desmoreaux didnt have to move far to stay on the best ground but as the jostling began to try and find the best ground he was shuffled wider and wider. Giving ground round the home turn he tried his heart out to dead heat for second but looked safely held by the winner. This was a great run by the KYD winner and considering his tough campaign he will no doubt have earned a week or two in the paddock. Can he come back from this? Well that is the question but i see no reason he cant and i am pretty sure with a different draw and a different track we will see plenty of form reversals before the end of the year.
2nd Ginger Haggis, trained by The Sidley Stud
Tracked wide from his draw he was taken back in the field to try and get some sort of relief but ended up so far back that he would have to sprout wings to get home. Eventually getting a spot Leparoux tried to weave his way through but had given his mount an impossible task and although he was probably finishing strongest of all he couldn’t reel in the winner and had to settle for equal second with his old rival Shootfromthehip. I think this result just about sums up these two, Ginger Haggis had the worst of the draws in the KYD and was beat, Shootfromthehip the worst in the Preakness and got beat. Today with the track favouring centre wide it was a much more even contest and we were treated to a great tussle between the two. He will be looking to set the record straight over the coming months and we can look forward to more great races between this top three.
4th They All Laughed, trained by Mb Stables
He has to be the most consistent three year old in training as he is the only horse to cash a cheque in all three TC races. Finishing with his usual gusto he ran on well wide to be fourth but continues to find it difficult to get his nose in front. His best run came in the KYD where i think the softer ground helped him a little and if he gets rain when he runs next he could easily turn the tables on his rivals.
5th The Right Stuff
Mb Stables made it three runners in the top 5 as this lightly raced gelding who made the front at the mile and a quarter pole after being on the pace throughout just found the effort too much and weakened. This was a great effort but i feel the trip found him out a little and he may be kept at around the mile in future.
6th The Force Awakens
The inside draw did him no favours today but he ended up closing well to be sixth and will have pleased his supporters with this effort. He hasnt won since the Front Runner last year and he may need a little confidence boost before an Autumn campaign.
7th Bronx Bomber
The outside gate push saw him run a very similar race as he did in the KYD from a similar draw pushing forward and weakening late. Time will tell whether it was the draw that beat him again or the trip but i am pretty sure he will bounce back from this pretty good effort.
8th Niner Forty Niner
It looked like one of two things happened to this colt. It could have been that Serenity Stables had given his jockey the instruction to lead but he missed the break or it could’ve been the wide gate speed push kicked in after a poor start. Either way he was rushed up into the lead at the half way mark and whilst he stuck around for a long while he ended up weakening into eighth. This was his third TC race in a row and he will be due a break now it will be interesting to see how he comes out of it.
9th Level Charge
Up into the stalk early on he held a good position until weakening out of contention. Clearly he has ability and he ran a cracker for a horse that was bought for just $25 as a two year old.
10th How To laff
Ran a similar race as he did in the Preakness, only time will tell if he can ever come back to his Gotham winning form.
11th Mucho Cruncher
Into the stalk early he had the rail which was a disadvantage today and ended up weakening. With his work times i wonder whether he will end up being better over a shorter trip but i guess thats one of the things that only time will tell us.
Had a wide draw in the KYD and was taken back but with the wide draw again today he was ridden more handily. The result however was the same so it may be back to the drawing board for the LA Derby winner.
13th Indiana Jones
Ran no sort of race and it may be time for the trainer to take a long hard look at this ones future.
14th Mr C
A little out of his depth again today, an ease of grade will see him running well again.
15th Banshee Star
Third in the KYD, fifteenth today, i cant help but be a little perplexed with this effort. The wide draw probably didnt help as he got further back today but he once again looked an inconsistent sort.
16th Warrior Chant
You have to feel a little sorry for this horse and trainer when you look at the draw he has got in his last three races. Having said that this was a pretty poor effort and it will take a bit of coming back from.