PODCAST: We Welcome Oddsmaker David Aragona

Horse Racing Radar
Rich Bieglmeier
Rich Bieglmeier is a Staff writer for Horse Racing Radar
Friday, July 9, 2021
David shares his views on setting the morning line versus handicapping selections. He also fills us in on his observation on Lasix and its impact on non-Lasix races along with the number one thing horseplayers should do to improve their handicapping.

David let's us in on his thinking for the Belmont Derby, the Belmont Oaks and the Victory Ride Stakes. Of course, Terry, Tom, Shawn and Rich give us their picks and analysis for the trio of big stakes races on Belmont Park's Saturday card.

Make sure you follow David Aragona on twitter: David Aragona (@HorseToWatch) / Twitter





Terry "Hollywood" Hay's Handicap

Race 7

Race scenario:  #1 Con Lima will go to the front. #5 Santa Barbara will be in mid pack and close coming into the stretch. #7 Plum Ali and # 8 Gam's Mission will close from deep and try catch #1 Con Lima.

#1 – Con Lima is going for her third win in a row. During her career she has finished in the money 90% of time, winning 55% of those entries. In addition, she has won five out of six turf races and has the best turf speed among today's starters. She can lead or come from off the pace which is an angle I like.

#7 – Plum Ali likes the distance and has a high percentage trainer and Jockey. During her career she has finished in the money 83% of time, winning 50% of those entries. She has a sharp 4F workout on Jul-05 of 49:3 best of eighteen.

#5 – Santa Barbara ran a good second against older horses in her last race. That race was at today's distance which shows that it won't be a problem for her. This is the third Grade1 race she has run in and makes her dangerous here.

#8 – Gam's Mission has won three races out of three this year. She has the best last race speed rating.

Race 8

Race scenario:  Several horses will go to the lead and try to go all the way. #7 Australasia will be behind the leader and close at the end to win.

#7 – Australasia has won all of her races. She has a high percentage trainer/jockey combination of - (Brad Cox) and jockey - (Joel Rosario). She has the highest last race speed rating among her competition.

#3 – Miss Brazil broke through the gate in her last race. This could have affected her race that day. She likes the distance winning both of her start at today's distance. She has a very good workout at Belmont (4f ft :47 B 1/96).

#1 – Bella Sofia had trouble in her last race at Belmont and still ran a good second. During her career she has finished in the money 75% of time, winning 38% of those entries. She has the rail post which is winning at 31% clip.

#2 – Inject is going up in class and going for a hat trick after winning two races in a row. She is trained by Brad Cox who has been hot the last 14 days (6 2-0-1).

Race 9

Race scenario:  #4 Sainthood and #8 Cellist will go for the lead. #5 Du Jour and #6 Hard Love will sit just behind the leaders and will close at the end to try and win the race. #6 Hard Love will outrun #5 Du Jour to win.

#6 – Hard Love has the best turf speed among today's starters. He is going up in class but I love to play horse climbing the class ladder. He has finished 100% of the time in the money during his career, winning 75% of those races.

#5 – Du Jour is in top form winning four races in a row. Flavin Plat is again in the irons after riding him in the last three winning races. He has the highest per race earnings in the race.

#4 – Sainthood try's turf for the first time but his breeding suggests he will like the grass. He appears to be able to lead or come from off the pace.

#7 – Tokyo Gold has finished 75% in the money, winning 25% in his career. He has a hot jockey (John Velazquez) in last 7 days (8 2-2-1).

Play: $.50 Pick 5-Cost: $100.00

1.       Race 7:   1, 5, 7, 8

2.       Race 8:   7

3.       Race 9:   5, 6

4.       Race 10: 1/1A, 3, 5, 8, 11

5.       Race 11: 2, 3, 4, 5, 11

Swiss Army Shawn's Selections


RACE SUMMARY:  This race doesn't appear to have much pace. Looks to me like either the #4 Spanish Loveaffair or the # 1 Con Lima will get the lead out of the gate. A bunch of horses will be closing late including #8 Gam's Mission who always seems to get up just in time.

#1 Con Lima- Has the advantage here with not much pace in this race. If he wants the lead can get it pretty easily here from the rail.  She loves the turf winning 5 of 6 starts and getting second in the other.  She gets one of the best turf riders around in Flavian Prat.  If this comes off the turf this horse has held her own on a sloppy and fast racetrack as well.

#3 Higher Truth - After a bad debut at Tampa she has won 2 races in a row both came on the turf at this distance at Belmont. The horse has great connections in Chad Brown and Jose Ortiz.

#8 Gam's Mission- Will be closing late and always seem to get there just in time. After a 2nd place finish in debut last year, she has since won 3 in a row. All 3 of her wins were by less than a length winning 2 of those by a neck. Trainer's Cherie Devaux only graded stakes win in 34 tries came with this horse at the end of May in the Regret Stakes at CD.

$20 win 1
$1 EXB 1,3,8
$1 PK 3 races 7-9  1,3,5,8/ 4,7/ 4,5,6 cost $24


RACE SUMMARY:  A bunch of speed in this race. I see at least 3 horses going for the lead #1 Bella Sofia, #3 Miss Brazil, and #4 Ova Charged. There are others in here too that might go as well. I think this sets up perfect for a horse who can sit off the pace.

#7 Australasia- Has done nothing wrong winning all 6 of her career starts. Beat 2 of these horses last start. She likes to sit right behind the speed horses which is going to work perfect here. Has won at all kinds of distances including this one 6 and half furlongs.

#4 Ova Charged- 2 for 2 and has dominated each race. She is getting better the further she goes in races so that extra ½ furlong should only benefit. Last race even had to deal with the slop and no whip since it was at Monmouth and still won by over 5 lengths.  Stepping up in class but gets Luis Saez who has been winning a bunch of big races lately.

#1 Bella Sofia- Only lost by 1 length to Australasia last time out. That was after a bobbled break. Does lose Saez but Manny Franco has been riding really well.

$2 exb 4,7
$1 ex 4,7/1
$6 DD 7/4,5,6


RACE SUMMARY: Pace is really hard to predict in this one. I could see 4 horses that would want to be up front or close #4 Sainthood, #5 Du Jour, #6 Hard Love, and #8 Cellist. Some of those horses are major players in here.

#6 Hard Love- Has won 3 out of 4 career races all on turf two were at Belmont both with Manny Franco aboard.  Franco and trainer Jonathan Thomas are 3 out of 4 last 60 days when teaming up together. Thomas is hitting at 35% so far this year. Should be really close to the pace and get a good run from there.

#5 Du Jour- Has won 3 in a row all with Prat aboard.  Can run close to the pace or off it doesn't seem to matter to him.

# 4 Sainthood- If he likes the turf, he could be dangerous here. Only race he hasn't finished in the exacta is the Kentucky Derby.

$20 win 6
$1 exb 4,5,6

22 to 1 Tom's Tips

With the tropical storm dumping a lot on rain at Belmont, the turf will be rate Yielding/Soft/A Swamp/Heavy?

Race 7 – Belmont Oaks Invitational Stakes

Con Lima will try and make all the running with Spanish Loveaffair right behind the leader. The rest of the field will try and establish position in the first quarter of the race. Santa Barbara will be midpack. At the slog through the wet turf, Con Lima will be the target to run at and Cirona, Santa Barbara and Nazuna moving up. Now we see Gam's Mission in the picture with Plum Ali trying to get a hold of the turf. Who wins?


5 – Santa Barbara – toss out her adventures in the Epson Oaks, Snowfall won by 18 lengths. In that race, she was the favorite and push along at the 3-furlong marker and then leveled off to just lost fourth. In the Pretty Polly at the Curragh, she raced against older horses and ran a super race losing by a neck to Thundering Nights (who raced at Belmont and lost by a neck to Mean Mary). Now back with 3-year-olds, she will handle both the going and win. Her dam is Senta's Dream who offspring are Order of Australia (Breeders Cup Winner) and Iridessa (Breeder's Cup Winner). Will this be her grade 1 win? Ryan Moore is in for the ride.

2 – Cirona – in her last race, the Prix de Diane (group 1) was a big field (17) and an awful, eventful race. Stuck on the rail sitting between sixth to tenth most of the race, she had nowhere to go. With no chance late, the jockey back off on her. She still only lost by 3 ¾ lengths. She likes the heavy going with a win at Nantes (lesser race). Her race before at Paris Longchamp, she was beaten by a neck in group 1. She is pre-entry for the Arc, so the owners/trainer have big plans for this filly going forward.

1 – Con Lima – will be the leader in the race. She's ran on wet race and finished second. She run with moisture in turf races and won but not at grade 1 level. Because they are on the inner turf for this race, she will need get out and establish herself early for the post 1. Her opening fraction will be key to her placing in this race.

Race 8 – Victory Ride Stakes

With the sloppy/muddy/sealed track conditions, I will look for forward runners in this race and we have a few. On or out for the lead, Miss Brazil, Bella Sofia, Ova Charged and maybe Inject. Looking for best place to run is the balance of the field and Australasia will be last. As they entry the sweeping Belmont turn, Bella Sofia will take over with Souper Sensational and Red Ghost picking it up. Shop Girl and a few others will be slowing down. Top of the stretch, it's now up to four horses with a chance to win.

Number's game: 29 races at the distance between 6 furlongs to 7 furlongs for 3-year-olds at Belmont this season. Favorites win 55% of the time and 90% in the money.

5 – Souper Sensational – wins her first 2 races at Woodbine and the nothing in grade stakes company going at a distance then back to 7 furlongs in her last start. So why do I like her? She has 2 very good works of :58.4 and :47 at Churchill. She has worked in sloppy conditions too. She is running at a distance more suited for her. She was blocked in her last race at Churchill and got through, but it was too late. She is by Curlin and the dam loves off tracks. And, most importantly for me, I will get good odds.

2 – Inject – will be one of those leaders and will hang around at the end. She has won over a muddy track (and a third). Since the switch to Brad Cox, she has been improving with every race. She has speed or could sit back by a length or two. Cox has 10 wins at Belmont this season at a rate 28%.

7 – Australasia – another Brad Cox trainee who is undefeated winning the Jersey Girl last time out. It's interesting we have 2 Louisiana breds in this race. She must get through horses and like muddy. If she does, she places in this race.

Race 9 – Belmont Derby Invitational Stakes

I really have no idea how this race will be run because of the track conditions. The 1 ¼ mile race suits a few horses here but my question is the track. We could get a front runner go all the way or a close closer like the going and come on for the win. Let's roll the dice here...

2 – Bolshoi Ballet – Aidan O'Brien trainee comes in off bad race in the Epson Derby. Sat ok for the first part of the race until 3 furlong's left to run, nothing. He was pushed but still nothing. Toss the race. In that race, Hurricane Lane finished third and then won the Irish Derby. Mojo Star also ran a good race but still in a maiden. This is a better spot for him and not facing some of the 3-year-old turf runners in Europe. 1 ¼ miles appears as far as he wants to go, and the soft/heavy turf should favor him. Ryan Moore rides him again.

4 – Sainthood – they tried last time to get this horse on the turf and the race was moved and he won anyways. He ran second on all-weather in grade 3 event. Breeding says he should like the turf. His sire loved the turf and he also won on the dirt.

5 - Du Jour – has won three in a row and then trainer switch to Bill Mott. He has worked him 5 times. It took 3 starts to get the first win and now won grade 2 event last out putting up his best rating so far. If he likes the off going, he will have a chance.

Rich's Ranks

Race 7

1 - Con Lima
5 - Santa Barbara
7 - Plum Ali
4 - Spanish Loveaffair

Race 8

1 - Bella Sofia
7 - Australasia
3 - Miss Brazil
6 - Red Ghost

Race 9

6 - Hard Love
2 - Bolshoi Ballet
5 - Du Jour
4 - Sainthood

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