Are you starting to feel it? Energy is building towards the
Triple Crown. It's opening weekend at Churchill Downs, Pimlico Racetrack and
Belmont Park. One week, just one week Rodney (old Miller Lite commercial
reference) until the Kentucky
It's Derby week! Goosebumps with each keystroke.
Fans will be in the stands, not to full capacity, but
horseplayers, jockeys and horses will hear the roar of the crowd. That's going
to feel so good, winning tickets or not.
Before we get to the greatest two minutes in sports, the run
for the roses, players can sharpen their teeth this weekend with Horse Racing
Handicapping Contests for Belmont Park. Make your way to the top of the
leaderboard and you'll fatten your Kentucky Derby bankroll by $100 on Saturday
and $50 on Sunday.
And we'll see if we can add a layer to bankroll with our
analysis for the $100,000 Elusive Quality Stakes in race eight. A group of
eight will run 7 furlongs on Belmont's widener turf. There were 10 races at the
distance and surface during Belmont's fall meet. It's not a lot of data to work
with, but there were some potential running styles and post position edges in
the limited numbers.
Only three of the 10 to reach the winners' circle were
considered early with speed, two of three went wire to wire. Six of the 10 came
from off the pace with a stalker closing out the final spot. Post positions
were just as clear with win rates dropping from the inside out with the rail
hitting at 20%.
Here are our top four contenders for the Elusive Quality
FRONT RUN THE FED (PP: 6 ML 2-1) has been away from the
track since the Breeders Cup Turf Sprint on November 7, 2020. Going back to
work at Belmont should make the five-year-old comfortable as he has two wins
(both at 7 furlongs in two outings) and a second in three in Belmont grass goes.
This spot is a step down in class and trainer Chad Brown knows when and where
to place his horses after long breaks, hitting at 29%.
VALUE PROPOSITION (PP:1 ML 4-1) get the rail draw and is another
dropping in class, tried his luck in the Grade I Woodbine Mile last September.
It didn't go so well, finishing last of eight. Prior to the disappointing
Canadian run, he won his previous two races when coming off the bench, like
today. Interestingly, trainer Brown puts top jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr. here
instead of on FRONT RUN THE FED.
THERAPIST (PP: 4 ML 7/2) has always been a favorite of ours.
It's no wonder as he's made backers look smart, hitting the board in 16 of 22
efforts. He's made them look even better at the distance, taking home the big
check in three of four. The six-year-old son of FREUD hasn't races since late
November but has finished in the money in his last four first starts off the
CASA CREED (PP: 3 ML 3-1) makes it three class droppers in
our top-four. As a matter of fact, he's rin in eight grades stakes races in his
last 10 efforts. An $80,000 Optional Claimer and $100,000 non-graded stakes
make up the other pair, both thirds. His numbers say he's a top contender;
however, he struggles to find the wire before the rest, probably a secondary
player that can fill in exotics.
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