The TIHR Handicappers take one more stab at one of the biggest days on the American racing calendar and the last major one in New York for all intents and purposes before Saratoga opens with Saturday’s Belmont Stakes program.
The day features six stakes with sprints mixed with turf routes and of course the crucible that caps the 2013 Triple Crown in the 145th running of the Belmont Stakes.
Just for the record, Joe Clancy managed to handicap in between coaching son Nolan’s Cardinals deep into the Little League baseball playoffs, Tom Law tried to uncover winners drying out after a wet morning at Belmont and over lunch at the aptly named Food for Thought restaurant in downtown Garden City, and Sean Clancy took some breaks between races and trips to the Belmont paddock to study up.
Sixth race. The Easy Goer. Glad there’s one named after the colt who ended Sunday Silence’s bid for the sweep in 1989. It’s for 3-year-olds going 1 1/16 miles and it’s got seven sophomores whose connections thought enough of them at one point to nominate for the Triple Crown.
Joe: Israal, Power Broker, Always In A Tiz.
Sean: Power Broker, Micromanage, New Line.
Tom: Power Broker, Micromanage, Eton Blue.
Seventh race. The True North. Plenty of speed and plenty of late closers in here. Can Caixa Eletronica defend? How good was Sage Valley’s win at Pimlico? Will Zayat Stables’ Fast Bullet set it up for entrymate Justin Phillip?
Joe: Caixa Eletronica, Fast Bullet, Justin Phillip.
Sean: Sage Valley, Caixa Eletronica, Fast Bullet.
Tom: Justin Phillip, Reload, Caixa Eletronica.
Eighth race. The Just a Game. Extremely tough group and maybe the biggest question is who handles the soft turf best. None show much experience on it, aside from Euro import Laugh Out Loud.
Joe: Laugh Out Loud, Stephanie’s Kitten, Hungry Island.
Sean: Stephanie’s Kitten, Laugh Out Loud, Centre Court.
Tom: Centre Court, Hungry Island, Stephanie’s Kitten.
Ninth race. The Woody Stephens. Named for another Belmont Stakes legend, this is one of stronger recent editions of 7-furlong event for 3-year-olds. Pletcher’s Capo Bastone and Forty Tales figures to attract attention with Zee Bros and Let Em Shine countering for the California contingent.
Joe: Zee Bros, Declan’s Warrior, Forty Tales.
Sean: Capo Bastone, Zee Bros, Let Em Shine.
Tom: Declan’s Warrior, Forty Tales, Merit Man.
Tenth race. The Manhattan. Point of Entry scratched last time when the turf was soft, but he also came out of a 9-furlong race where he would have faced Wise Dan. It’s 10 furlongs this time and there’s no Wise Dan.
Joe: Point Of Entry, Bombaguia, Optimizer.
Sean: Point Of Entry, Speaking Of Which, Twilight Eclipse.
Tom: Point of Entry, Real Solution, Twilight Eclipse.
Eleventh race. The Belmont. The papers bill it as a rematch between Derby winner Orb and Preakness winner Oxbow. Plenty more angles though, with Todd Pletcher’s five entries that also includes the filly Unlimited Budget, freakish slop winner Freedom Child, and a huge group of beaten Derby runners set to tangle one lap around Big Sandy.
Joe: Orb, Freedom Child, Revolutionary.
Sean: Orb, Golden Soul, Revolutionary.
Tom: Orb, Revolutionary, Golden Soul.
For those scoring at home, Tom leads the TIHR Triple Crown handicapping race (which offers no purse since nothing was decided ahead of time) with nine winners over the Kentucky Derby, Black-Eyed Susan, and Preakness cards. He picked two on Derby day and seven in Maryland. Joe is second with eight, four in Kentucky and four in Maryland. Sean, absolutely crushing the TIHR game at www.myfantasystable.com, is third with five.