In this Belmont Profile edition, we'll fix our eyes to the Todd Pletcher trainee, OVERTOOK. He comes into Saturday's Belmont Stakes (G1) with a record of 1 win, 1 second, and 2 thirds from 5 total starts, with earnings of $131,380. Jockey Manuel Franco will pilot the son of CURLIN for owners St. Elias Stable LLC and Repole Stable.
He'll be one of the longshots looking to spoil the party. Can he do it? Well, that's the topic of our discussion!
First of all, we can recognize that he's got just one move, at least that's what we've seen so far: to commence a late rally and charge past all his rivals in the stretch. On paper, his top Late Speed makes him competitive here, second only to KNOWN AGENDA, but tied with ROMBAUR. But to OVERTOOK's advantage, he's quite fresh. Not so fresh in the sense that he'll need a race to sharpen up, but that he's only raced twice this year, and his most recent race was earlier this month. Therefore the Belmont Stakes is positioned to be a race he moves forward from. And he's on the right path — he exits a prep race where he earned a new top speed figure.
If we imagine OVERTOOK coming off the pace, jockey Manuel Franco will be hoping that there's enough pace from likely frontrunners ROCK YOUR WORLD and ESSENTIAL QUALITY, to have something to close into. He'll have to step up because these two are of a different calibur than NOVA RAGS and PROMISE KEEPER, who OVERTOOK couldn't reach last time out.
Manuel Franco won this race last year aboard TIZ THE LAW, when the distance was contested at one mile and one-eighth. This time he will adjust to the additional three furlongs, which OVERTOOK should enjoy. Franco and Todd Pletcher have been winning at a 17% rate together over the past two months.
Let's not forget OVERTOOK is a CURLIN colt who was purchased for $1 million. If we look at his pedigree, we see there was nearly three Belmont Stakes winners in his immediate lineage: A.P INDY, SEATTLE SLEW, and almost CURLIN — just a head shy from completing the trio.
How has OVERTOOK been progressing? Well in his first start of the year, he outran his 9-1 odds in the Withers Stakes (G3), where finished a solid second-place to RISK TAKING despite a wide trip. He was three-wide leaving the backside, then swung five-wide for his stretch run. The replay is shown below.
OVERTOOK was then put on the shelf for three months until the Peter Pan Stakes (G3), his most recent effort. Again he found himself going wide, unable to catch the top two horses, which included his stablemate PROMISE KEEPER. The replay is shown below.
Notice that OVERTOOK was carried five wide, but in deep stretch, started getting going again. He was gaining momentum in the stretch, despite the description on certain paper saying he had "no kick". OVERTOOK appears to have passed the leaders in the gallop out. He certainly looks ready for more distance.
With these races behind him, he now stretches out to twelve furlongs in what will be his second start off his layoff. And in preparation for this event, he delivered a sharp 4F workout on May 28th at Belmont Park, going :48.4, as the fifth fastest of 86 workouts at that distance. A week earlier, another sharp 4F workout in :48.8, the 4th fastest off 33 works at that distance. He's sharp as a tack and ready to go.
If OVERTOOK has to race wide again out of necessity, then perhaps he'll cash in on the freshness he's come to the race with. If he proves to have the strongest kick then best be in the clear and avoid traffic.
Saturday's event could be OVERTOOK's redemption race against his stablemate KNOWN AGENDA.
Did you know OVERTOOK faced the duo-monsters of KNOWN AGENDA and GREATEST HONOUR in his Maiden 80K race last year? He finished twenty-one lengths in third place behind them. That same duo were at one time, leading the entire three-year-old division on the Kentucky Derby point standings.
Well, right after that effort, OVERTOOK broke his Maiden at that same 80K level, and went on to run well in the Withers Stakes afterward. He has improved with each race since. To run his best race, he'll need a big step forward. He's fresh enough to rally with gusto, and will provide generous odds for his backers.