PODCAST: The Players Edge Welcomes Jose Ortiz

Horse Racing Radar
Rich Bieglmeier
Rich Bieglmeier is a Staff writer for Horse Racing Radar
Friday, June 4, 2021
Super Star Jockey Jose Ortiz stops by to update us on his brother Irad's health and fills us in on his mounts, thoughts, race analysis and picks for the Belmont Stakes as well as:

Race #7 – Ogden Phipps Grade 1
Race #8 – Just A Game Grade 1
Race# 10 – The Manhattan Grade 1 on the Turf
Race #11 - The Belmont Stakes Grade 1

We sneak in some talk on race 9 in a matchup between MICHEVIOUS ALEX and KNICKS GO. Rich has a dark-horse pick but Jose laughs him off.

It's another great show and we've been picking winners. Give it a listen and make sure you follow Jose Ortiz on Twitter @jose93_ortiz.




Terry "Hollywood" Hay's Handicapping

Race 7

Race scenario:  #3 Letruska and #5 Shedaresthedevil will go to the front. #1 Swiss Skydiver will stay close to the pace and try catch the leaders down the stretch. #7 Bonny South will close at the end and get into the exotics. #5 Shedaresthedevil will hold on to win.

#5 – Shedaresthedevil is going for a hat trick. She likes the distance, winning five out of seven starts. She is trained by Brad Cox and ridden by Florent Geroux.

#3 – Letruska has won thirteen out of eighteen races. She just won a Grade 1 race beating Swiss Skydiver.

#1 – Swiss Skydiver: during her career she has finished in the money 85% of time, winning 50% of those entries. She has the fastest dirt speed among today's starters. Jose L Ortiz is in the irons.

#7 – Bonny South likes the distance winning four out of five starts. She has a bullet work in preparation for this race.

Race 8

Race scenario:  #11 Blowout will rush to the lead and try to go all the way. #2 Sweet Bye and Bye and # 4 Regal Glory will be in mid pack and close and try to catch the leader at the end. I think #6 Pocket Square and #10 Tamahere will close from deep and try to get the win. I expect #11 Blowout will hold on and win by a small amount.

#11 – Blowout loves the distance and the track. She is trained by Chad Brown and Flavien Prat is in the irons. During her career she has finished in the money 100% of time, winning 33% of those entries.

#6 – Pocket Square has won her only start in the states since coming in from Europe. Irad Ortiz, JR. has been hot in last 7 days (29 8-4-3).

#10 – Tamahere is going for a hat trick after winning two in a row. She likes the distance-(in the money 85% of time, winning 43%) and Belmont winning her only race there.

#2 – Sweet Bye and Bye: during her career she has finished in the money 80% of time, winning 40% of those entries. She has the highest last race speed rating and a hot trainer in last 14 days (5 2-0-2).

Race 10

Race scenario:  #2 Bye Bye Melvin and #7 Channel Cat will go for the lead. #4 Domestic Spending, #6 Rockemperor, #9 Gufo, and #10 Cornel Liam will all close at the end.

#4 – Domestic Spending is in great form winning two Grade 1 races in a row and now is going for a hat trick. He is trained by Chad Brown and Flavien Prat is in the irons.

#10 – Cornel Liam is going for his fifth win in a row and again and has Irad Ortiz, the irons. During his career Cornel Liam has finished in the money 87% of time, winning 75% of those entries.

#6 – Rockemperor needed his last race after a break of seven months. He is switched to a high % jockey: Jose L Ortiz.

#9 – Gufo has the best Turf speed which is faster than the average winning speed in the race. He will be closing from deep to try to nip them at the wire.

Race 11

Race scenario:  #7 Rock Your World and #4 Hot Rod Charlie will go to the front. #2- Essential Quality will stay close to the leaders and let them set a quick pace and will move coming into the stretch.  #3Rombauer and #6 Known Agenda will close from deep with a rush to just miss and get into the exotics.

#2 – Essential Quality has an excuse for his first race loss in the Kentucky Derby as he was bumped at the start, came into the stretch four wide. He has had a good rest and has been working well in preparation for the Belmont Stakes.

#3 – Rombauer just won the Preakness and has the Best Dirt Speed among today's starters. He just keeps improving every race.

#6- Known Agenda – I can't explain his Kentucky Derby race, so I am going to throw it out. He has rested and has good works toward this race and should improve.

 #4 – Hot Rod Charlie ran a good race in the Kentucky Derby, finishing third. He can either run on top or come from behind which is an angle I like. He should be used in the exotics.

Play: $.50 Pick 5-Cost: $96.00

·         Race 7:   1, 3, 5

·         Race 8:   2, 6, 10, 11

·         Race 9:   1, 6

·         Race 10: 4, 6, 9, 10

·         Race 11: 2, 3


Swiss Army Shawn's Selections:


Race Summary: #3 Letruska and #5 Shedaresthedevil will go for the lead. When they faced off in March it was #5 Shedaresthedevil who got the lead and #3 Letruska was close and came up just short at the finish. I expect it to be them two from the start with #1 Swiss Skydiver sitting off. I expect the #5 Shedaresthedevil to wire the field.

#5 Shedaresthedevil- Going for 3 wins in a row and 6 out of 7. She loves the distance finishing in the trifecta in all 7 of her starts at this distance winning 5 of them.

#1 Swiss Skydiver- She is the class of the field. Didn't fire like normal last start. I really like the jockey change from Robby Albarado to Jose Ortiz.

#3 Latruska- Ran an incredible race last time out beating Swiss Skydiver and Monomoy Girl. She is a head away from winning her last 4 races. I would expect this horse to bounce a little after that last effort.

$20 win #5
$2 exbox 1,5


RACE SUMMARY: I expect the #11 Blowout to get the lead and I don't really see too much speed that would want the lead anyway. I would expect the next 3 to sit behind the #11 and that is #2 Sweet Bye and Bye, #4 Regal Glory, and #7 Abscond. I would expect the #11 Blowout to get a good trip and stay in front all the way around. I expect some closers to get up to fill out the trifecta.

#11 Blowout- Should get the lead rather easily here. She is always barely winning or barely coming up short and finishing 2nd. This is a great horse to wheel in allexotics for first or second as she shouldn't finish any worst then 2nd. In fact in 12 career races she has finished in the exacta in 11 of them. The one she didn't she finished 3rd. There has only been one race in her career where she didn't lose or win by less then a length. That was a race she won 2 years ago where she won by over 2 lengths.

#1 Zoefelle- Just missed out by 3/4's of a length in her last race on Derby Day in the Grade 2 Distaff turf Mile. She finished behind 2 horses in here #11 Blowout and #12 New York Girl. I like her closing kick to get up for a piece here.

#6 Pocket Square -2nd race in the US after winning her debut which was after a 9-month layoff. Gets Irad up again and another that should close and be there at the end.

$20 win 11
$2 exacta 11/1,6


RACE SUMMARY: Not too much speed in here. I would expect the #8 Tribhuvan to get the lead out the gate followed by #2 Bye Bye Melvin and #1 City Man. I don't expect the last two to stay up there. I do think the pace really helps the #8 Tribhuvan if he can get away with a clear lead. The closers will be flying late as these horses always seem to fire.

#4 Domestic Spending- Always seems to just get there in time. Last time dead heated with the #10 Colonel Liam. The one race he lost he stumbled out of the gate and also had to go wide. With a clean trip will be extra difficult here and i like he has the post position advantage over the #10.

#8 Tribhuvan- Has a chance to wire this field like he did last time. Has the highest Beyer in the field of 105 which came last start. Likes Belmont this will be his 4th race in a row there and he is on a 2 race win streak. He only had 2 wins in his first 15 starts.

#10 Colonel Liam-Will be going for this 5th straight win. Has won 5 of 6 races on the turf. The one loss had trouble at the beginning and still lost by less than a length despite finishing 4th. Irad Ortiz Jr. is 5 for 5 on this horse.

$20 win #4
$2 ex 4,8/4,8,10


RACE SUMMARY: I expect the #7 Rock Your World to be the early leader and the #4 Hot Rod Charlie to be right behind him. I don't think it will be a fast pace at all. Closers are typically up against it in the Belmont Stakes and this will be no exception.

#4 Hot Rod Charlie- Will get a nice trip in here right behind the leader. I was impressed watching replays and how he ran in the Derby. He's improving each race and his Beyer has gone up or stayed the same each race.

#7 Rock Your World- Should get the lead easily here. Distance is no problem. We can just toss the Derby out as he lost all chance at the start with getting pinched back between two horses. That was the only race in his career he lost.

#2 Essential Quality- Again only race he lost was the Derby. He had a rough trip there and still almost won. Should be sitting right off the pace and definitely finish in the exotics.

$20 win #4
$2 exbox 4,7

Second Again Tom's Tips and International Musings

Race 7 – Ogden Phipps Grade 1

There is a lot going to happen up front at the start of this race. Who's going to get the lead at the first couple of strides out of the starting gate? Letruska, Shedaresthedevil or Swiss Skydiver? Or another horse like Water White. What kind of pace scenario to predict in this 1 1/16 mile races with a first quarter of :23 then a second quarter :47 then a turning for home a/ 1:11. I think anything faster will setup my choice, but if someone can steal slower fractions then it's front runners race to win (or lose) as they battle down to the finish? My top choice is one of those closers because I think it's going to be a hot pace, and no one will want any horse to get away with slower fractions. So I am going to play the closer.

BONNY SOUTH – winner last out at Keeneland in a good grade 3 race. Fought all the way to the wire. She has faced some of the top horses in her division last year and finished in the money 5 times out of 6 starts. She can come from way back or lay closer to the pace. She loves the 1 1/16 distance winning 4 times out of 5 races. This is the true test for her to see if she will be at the top of the division this year. There is plenty of speed up front to give her a chance to close fast and win. Joel Rosario picks up this mount because Florent Geroux is the regular rider of Shedaresthedevil.

LETRUSKA – speed, speed and more speed is her game and Irad Oritz, Jr got the best out of her in her last race. She relaxed on the front end, was headed by Monomoy Girl and then finished in front of her to win at Oaklawn. My concern with her is if she doesn't make the lead and an example of this was in last year's Ballerina at Belmont.  She raced against a very good front runner in Serengeti Empress and lost with an out of the money finish. There no Monomoy Girl here but the is some very tough front runners that will also need to run their race to win. 

SWISS SKYDIVER – toss out her last race. She broke well and look ok in the first half of the race and then had nothing left. Will the one turn race help her? Maybe that what it will take to get her home as the winner, or will she get burned out because of the fast pace? New jockey with Jose Ortiz picking up the mount and he will learn that he got under him very quickly. The warmup maybe the critical part of how she will run. I like her works leading up to the race. The :59 on May 22 along with one other shows her sharpness. Could win but... her speed numbers have been dropping over the past 3 races after putting some powerful number earlier in her career. I am not sure at this point on betting to win.

Race 8 – Just A Game Grade 1

Great race with 12 starters going 1 mile on the turf. The race appears to have one runner to go right for the lead and play "try and catch me" that's Blowout. You could see her out as many as 5 lengths on the field at the first ¼. I think Sweet Bye and Bye, Tamahere, Regals Glory, Pocket Square with Daddy is a Legend close behind pace and the balance of field behind as many as 8 lengths. Midway on the turn, Althiqa, Zofelle, Always Shopping, New York Girl and Summer Romance will begin to move up. Blowout will be caught by Zofelle and then the charge down the lane. Who wins?

ALTHIQA – she ran a good third in Dubai in February. Now with a layoff, a good work in company with Summer Romance at 1:14.1 breezing on May 22 shows that these 2 are ready to go. Charlie Appleby and Godolphin are in search of grade1 wins for either of these horses and I think Mike Smith has the better horse. She is a group 2 winner in Dubai and a winner in both France and England. She can run fresh and should be ready to handle this field. There is a good chance for rain in New York on Thursday and Friday and this filly has likes to run on the turf with some moisture. That will help her chances even more.

SUMMER ROMANCE – another Godolphin runner who's run in Dubai, France and England with wins in Dubai and England at the group 2 and 3 levels. She is by Kingman who was a top miler in his day and has sired some very good offspring who run well at the mile. This is my only question with her, does she want more distance? Her 2 starts at 1 mile were both group 1 races and faced Love (one of Europe's best) and Watch Me. This field doesn't have that level of ability that those two races had. She will also benefit from some moisture in the ground. Luis Saez gets the mount and will race close to the leaders and make her move with about 2 furlongs left in the race. There is plenty of pace up front.

POCKET SQUARE – won her first start in the states at Keeneland with something left at the end. She is a lightly races Juddmonte Farms & Chad Brown runner has won in France at the group 2 level. If she repeats her first start in the states, she could be the winner. She has 2 wins from 3 starts at 1 mile and has worked well up into this race. With Irad Ortiz, Jr with the mount, she has a great chance in this race.

Race 10 – The Manhattan Grade 1 on the Turf

Who's going to set the pace? I think Tribhuvan will with Channel Cat close behind. Everyone else will be looking to tuck and getting position before they start to move. Who will move first from the pack? Colonel Liam. Will there be a death heat again? Nope.

GUFO – just missed last time trying to run down Channel Cat as the favorite. That was his first race off a layoff. I think that all he needs is a pace to run at late and he will arrive to win on time, this time. He could be 12 to 14 lengths off the pace but watch him fly at the end.

COLONEL LIAM – this horse hasn't run a bad race yet. He's battled in all his starts this year to the wire and has had tough races and still finds a way to win. He will lay maybe 3 to 4 lengths off the lead and close to be around at the end. Win? Depends on the pace and how the deep closer do.

MASTER PIECE – can you ever not consider a Chad Brown horse in a graded stakes race on the turf in New York? He has 4 runners in this race, so he has plenty of chances as he closes in on 100 graded stakes wins. I like this guy's chances the best because he will be close to the pace and Javier will move his horse when he sees Colonel Liam moving up. After moving from Chile and a layoff, he ran an ok race in his first start in the states. Then another layoff and came back to win at Keeneland in an allowance race. He was the class of the field going off as a 50-cent favorite. He will move forward off that run. Can he win? Sure but the top 2 horses are very good.

Race 11 – The Belmont Stakes Grade 1

I think I am more excited about the undercard races at Belmont on Saturday than this race. Not that there isn't a good field of winners in this race but maybe I want too much too. But this race was first run in 1867 at Jerome Park and pre-dates both the Kentucky Derby and Preakness by 9 years for the derby and 7 years for the Preakness.

Oh well, let's just say that Hot Rod Charlie will go set the pace in this race. Rock Your World will be right there with him to ensure an honest pace. Will either of these horses win? France Go de Ina will run another goofy race. Maybe on the lead or try to or maybe head back to the barn. The balance of the field will sit behind the front runners waiting and waiting. It's 1 ½ mile race and those big sweeping turns a Belmont appear to last forever at time during a race. Moving first will be Essential Quality who will run a better race today. As some backup up, Rombauer, Bourbonic, Know Agenda will be to get going. Who does, will be a winning effort. Will experience running at Big Sandy help? It could because that's the direction that I am taking with my selections.

BOURBONIC – in December of last year, you could have claimed this horse from Calumet Farms & Todd Pletcher for $50k. He didn't get great position in the Kentucky Derby early in the race and didn't have much of chance to get going either. His works are good maintenance works and he will need a great effort to win. He just needs the position and pace to have a chance. I think he will get it but I don't think he will be 73-1 as he was in the Wood Memorial. Can he do what some past winners of the Wood Memorial have done and win the Belmont Stakes? Well Easy Goer, Seattle Slew, Damascus, Assault, Bold Forbes, Empire Maker won both, but it's been a while since we had a winner. Maybe it's time.

KNOWN AGENDA – another horse with a trip in the Kentucky Derby that is forgettable. In every race of his 7 races, he has faced stakes winners including his 2 maiden races. He needs to get on track early in the race and kept to his task. If does, he could win here. His works are good over the Belmont surface. Distances should be an issue because he has run in only one race that was less than 1 mile and performance well in those races except the KY Derby. Let's toss that race out and see if the real Known Agenda shows up today.

ESSENTIAL QUALITY – the favorite in the race and was undefeated until the KY Derby. He didn't get away cleanly in the derby but still was able to finish 4th. He has never run at Belmont or even on the New York circuit of tracks but has handled 3 other racetracks. I am just not convinced that he will win here. 



The BIG horse race of the weekend is at Epsom Downs with the running of the Cazoo English Derby. The Derby name was established in 1780 by the flip of the coin. Today, we have Derby's run all over the world. On Friday, we have the running of the Cazoo English Oaks. So, let's look at both races.

As of the writing, the going at Epsom Downs is Good with firm in some places.

Epsom Oaks Group 1 (Cazoo) – Distance: 1 ½ miles. Frist running was in 1779. The race will be run around 10:30am Central Daylight Time on Friday . Currently, there are 15 possible starters.

SHERBET LEMON – my top choice only has races 3 times with 2 wins. She started her racing career going 1 mile and has increased distances in her 2 other starts. Distance isn't an issue, but this is a step up in class. Hollie Doyle is listed as the jockey, and she won on this horse in her first start. She will have to step up in this to win and I think she will. She is by Lemon Drop Kid by an Irish bred mare Famous and her offspring have mainly run-in jumper races and winning so that means distances of over 2 miles is not big deal so 1 ½ mile. Odds for me to bet this horse should be 18-1 at least.

ZEYAADAH – should be one of the top choices in the race. She won her first 4 starts and then lost in a listed race (finishing second) and concede weight to the winner. The Oaks is an equal weight race for all. The last race was the first start of the year. She has won on Soft, Heavy and Good rated turf courses and distance will suit her. She is by Tamayuz and the mare is Massafat (unraced) who has produce only ok runners and they have performed winning efforts in distance races. This could be her best runner to date. Odds on this runner should be 5-1.

SANTA BARBARA – with only 2 races, she was the joint favorite last time out and finished behind Mother Earth.  She won her maiden nicely and then paced in a Group 1 race. She appeared to have needed this start because she had a strange trip been held back before getting going but showed her inexperience. She should progress with that race in hand. Sire is Camelot and mare is Senta's Dream who produced the Breeders Cup winner Order of Australia and Iridessa a multiple group race winner. Her offspring have won at distances from 6 furlongs to 2 miles. Odds will be 5-1 or less, she has a good chance to step and win.

OCEAN ROAD – another horse with limited experience with 3 races including one win on the all-weather. She has finished in the money in all her races and faced my top choice in the Oaks Trial. The current top jockey in the UK Oisin Murphy has the mount. I give this horse a chance because I feel she will like the distance. Her sire is Australia by the mare Love and Laughter who's produced winners at distance. You may get 10-1 on her but with the top jockey it most likely be less.

The English Derby Group 1 – at 1 ½ mile was first run in 1780. The race is schedule to go off at 16:30 or 10:30am Central Daylight Time. Currently there are 12 starters.

HURRICANE LANE – is undefeated coming into the races with 3 starts at distances of 1 mile or more. He beat some of these last out at York in a group 2 race. He won by ¾ of length last time out but he was well held and went on for the win. There are some questions of distance in this race but I think this shouldn't be an issue. He has never been the favorite in any of his races going off at 5/1, 11/4 and 7/1. This undefeated colt could go off at 3/1 to 5/1?

BOLSHOI BALLET – will be the favorite and for very good reasons. 2 starts this year in Ireland have resulted in 2 wins. In the 2 lost races, he ran on heavy ground finishing third and fifth. He can race on the lead or close to the pace. I think they put him on the lead. Distance is not an issue because one of the mares' foals' raced at 16.5 furlongs to win. The odds of 4/5 would be the best you can get.

MOHAAFETH – had won he's last 3 races over good to firm surfaces. He's 2 races as a 2-year-old were not great with a third and seventh finishes. The first race was at 6 furlongs, too short for this horse who's bred to go long. He started the year winning on the all-weather surface at 1 mile and the other 2 wins this year are at 10 furlongs (roughly 1 1/8 of a mile). In his last race, he was hard held after going clear on the completion. This could be your winner. Odds will be in the second-choice range of 2-1 or 3-1.

Rich's Rankings

Race 7

#5 – Shedaresthedevil 5/2

#3 – Letruska 9/5

#1 – Swiss Skydiver 5/2

#7 – Bonny South 10-1

Race 8

#11 – Blowout 4-1

#10 – Tamahere 6-1

#4 – Regal Glory 8-1

#2 – Sweet Bye and Bye 12-1

Race 10

#9 – Gufo

#10 – Colonel Liam

#4 – Domestic Spending

#8 – Tribhuvan

The Belmont Stakes

#7 – Rock Your World 9/2

#2 – Essential Quality 2-1

#4 – Hot Rod Charlie 7/2

#3 – Rombauer 3-1

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