Barry Faulkner's US Racing Preview

Barry found a rewarding $76 exacta among his winners at Belmont on Friday, and our US expert casts his eye over Belmont once more, along with Gulfstream - and both are live on Sky Sports Racing.

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We have another Sunday of excellent entertainment on Sky Sports Racing this evening, with action from all the usual tracks on tap. The Stateside Show kicks-off at 6pm in the safe hands of Tony Ennis for the twilight session, before Darrell Williams eases into the presenter’s chair for the late-shift.

Again, I’ve looked at eight races in a two-hour time slot, with four from the card at Gulfstream Park, starting with Race 7 on the Florida card (8.14pm) , interweaved with a quartet from Belmont Park, ending with Race 8 at the Elmont oval (10.04pm). Alas, there are scattered thunderstorms around in South Florida, so I have put up a dirt alternative for the one turf race I  looked at on the Gulfstream Park. Fortunately, such an eventuality does not look likely in New York at the time of writing, but erring on the side of caution, I made dirt suggestions as appropriate.

While there is cracking Allowance Optional Claimer at Belmont in my time slot, the race I’m most looking forward to is the turf maiden for New York-breds (Race 7 at 9:32pm). A fascinating field has been attracted, with some key contenders having their first go on grass (or first race overall). Among them is a newcomer from the barn of Christophe Clement by the 2010 Melbourne Cup winner Americain – not an obvious stallion for Stateside racing.

Whatever way you play – good luck!

Stateside preview for Sunday 14 June 2020 Gulfstream Park and Belmont Park

Gulfstream Park - Race 7 (8.14pm)

Claimer ($12,500) N2L – 3 year olds and upwards – Five furlongs  – Turf

A packed starting gate looks likely here with 16 entered, including four reserves, with my main fancy among them.


Three of the four entrants faced off in this grade at the beginning of last month, over course and distance. On that occasion REAGAN'S HEART (5) finished runner-up, a neck behind the winner, and a nose ahead of Felon (10) in third. A neck was the distance between each of the next three home, including the fourth, Put It On Detti (1), the sixth, Venerate (7), the seventh, Wild One Forever (13) - who was 1¼ lengths adrift - and the ninth, Shanghai Levi (2), beaten a total of 4¾ lengths. Not every thing went smoothly for them, with specific excuses for Put It On Detti (1), who started slowly, Venerate (7), who was held in by a rival, and Wild One Forever (13), who was steadied at the top of the stretch.

Last week, I got my fingers burned when taking a chance with apprentice Christian Torres in a turf event, despite his 2% strike-rate on the grass. I’m sure he will learn, but I am going to pass on Put It On Detti (1) with the bug boy aboard, as he was last time. In a tight race, and hoping for a smoother trip here, I have plumped for WILD ONE FOREVER传奇sf (13) if he gets in - or Venerate (7) if not.

If there is a spoiler, it could be The Big Joker (6), who is scheduled to make his turf debut after graduating in on his last start, a $12,500 Maiden Claimer that was switched to the main track.     


Reagan’s Heart (5) has decent dirt form and gets the nod on the main track from The Big Joker (6), whose recent dirt run gives her an obvious chance.

Selection: WILD ONE FOREVER (13) if in;  Venerate (7) if not - on turf; REAGAN'S HEART (5) on dirt
No Exotic Play

You can place single and some exotic bets with many of the following UK bookmakers:
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Belmont - Race 5 (8.27pm)

Claimer ($16,000) N2L – Fillies and mares 3 year olds and upwards – Six furlongs – Dirt

Without scratches, a “Baker’s Dozen” will face the starter for this modest non-winners of two Claimer, right at the bottom of the Belmont class ladder.

Bruce Levine runs a couple, Elegant Rose (7) and REMEMBERING BOBBIE (10), with the former most fancied on their respective price on the morning line. However, Kendrick Carmouche rode them both in their recent runs, and today plumps for Remembering Bobbie (10). She last raced during February, in this grade, keeping on to take third after entering the home stretch five wide. I get the impression this lass is getting the hang of things, albeit at a lowly level, and she’s the one for me.

Enough Love传奇sf (9) got her first win in a State Bred $40,000 Maiden Claimer towards the middle of March when she was up sale for the first time after three promising efforts in Special Weight company. This is the logical step for her and Luis Saez gets the call.

Queendom传奇sf (11) has been largely overmatched since breaking her maiden in a State Bred $30,000 Maiden Claimer 14 months ago. Recently, she has cut little ice in entry level State Bred Allowance events. It was once explained to Mr Q and me by a local trainer in a diner opposite Belmont Park, that picking up place money in such races – down to sixth place – often paid the way for horses in the barn. However, it looks like trainer Carlos Martin decided he is prepared to let her move on, dropping her into this ‘seller’.

Mucha Muchacha (13) ships up from Parx for veteran handler Herold Wyner. She broke her maiden, on the second of two starts, in a $25,000 Maiden at Delaware Park in late-August before being over matched in an entry level Allowance Optional Claimer at her home track. Assuming average improvement with age, she could be capable of getting involved at a (very) decent price.

No Exotic Play: Combination forecast (Boxed exacta) 6 bets: Enough Love (9), Remembering Bobbie (10) and Mucha Muchacha (13)

You can place single and some exotic bets with many of the following UK bookmakers:
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Gulfstream Park - Race 8 (8.46pm)

Claimer ($20,000 - $18,000) - 3 year olds – Seven furlongs – Dirt

Nine second-season males have been entered for this long sprint on the main track, and they look a competitive group.

BEYOND GONE (4), from the barn of Kenny McPeek, could be the target horse in a race with little pace. He won an open $30,000 Claimer going six furlongs at the end of April, and wasn’t disgraced in an Allowance Optional Claimer last time out. The trip may be an issue, but he may be able to get away with the sort of gentle fractions that would see him home under veteran Edgar Prado.

More Than Usual传奇sf (1) has the best last out speed figure, but that was going one mile in a $12,500 Maiden Claimer switched from the turf. However, he could only beat what was there, and may have taken connections by surprise on what was his dirt debut, so I wouldn’t discount his chance.

Jettin Out (2) has decent form at shorter, and Frank First (3) similarly but over further, and both ran fair races in non-winners of two $25,000 Claimers last time out, with the former winning his. This is a small uplift in class for the pair.

I consider Makabim传奇sf (9) as the main threat to the pick. He won a $16,000 Claimer restricted to thee-year-olds at the end of January going a mile, and other runs at this sort of trip makes him a threat.

Selection: BEYOND GONE (4)
Exotic Play: Reverse Forecast (Boxed exacta) 2 bets: Beyond Gone (4) and Makabim (9)

You can place single and some exotic bets with many of the following UK bookmakers:
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Belmont - Race 6 (8.59pm)

Claimer ($50,000) N3L – 3 year olds and upwards – One mile – Outer Turf

A total of 12 runners line-up for this win restricted claimer, but two have the ‘Main Track Only’ caveat. While we all know of coupling runners, we have a… let’s call it a ‘tripling’ in this event. Bear with me as I try to unravel it! Bad Guy (1), MR. SHORTANDSIMPLE (1A/11 – with UK bookmakers) and Traveling (1X/12) are all at least part-owned by trainer Rudy Rodriguez so, under the wagering rules in New York, have to be combined for betting purposes. To add a further level of complication, the middle-named runner will only run if the race is switched to the main track. Combined on turf they are a big price, individually they are very big prices. However, in the unlikely event of this moving to the dirt, I would have a pop at Mr Shortandsimple (1A/11) based on his excellent runner-up effort in a Starter Optional Claimer at Aqueduct in March.

The most likely winner for me – and many others I suspect – is SPIRIT ANIMAL传奇sf (4) from the barn of Chad Brown. This lad has been away from action for seven months and was last seen winning an entry level allowance over this course and distance. That was the second of only two runs last year, but he clearly has ability, and with plenty of work under his girth – including a number of spins on the Palm Meadows turf track - should be capable of making his presence felt. Javier Castellano gets the mount.

Blackline (2) breaks from the inside post with Joel Rosario aboard for trainer Mike Stidham. This lad was in decent form in two starts at Tampa Bay during the spring. He picked up an entry level allowance going eight-and-half furlongs in the middle of March and finished runner-up in the next higher grade, just over three weeks later. He arrives with no timed works since a half-mile spin in Florida 25 days ago, which may be a concern.   

Channel Island传奇sf (6) won a non-winners of two Claimer for this tag in October, going nine furlongs on the inner turf track. He disappointed the following month after a rough time at the start over a quarter-of-a-mile further in entry level allowance at Churchill Downs. That wasn’t the first time he tried an extended trip, and this mile could be on the short side for this son of English Channel. Newly-arrived jockey, Luis Saez gets the leg up.

Uhtred (8) trained by Christophe Clement finished on the board in all his five races, winning a couple of them. His most recent success came in a $50,000 Starter Allowance at the end of June, in a contest restricted to one-race winners, where he had Megacity (7) 3l back in third. He is another with stamina on both sides of his pedigree, and this trip could be as short as he wants to go.

Selection: SPIRIT ANIMAL (4) on Turf; MR. SHORTANDSIMPLE (1A/11) on Dirt
No Exotic Play:

You can place single and some exotic bets with many of the following UK bookmakers:
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Gulfstream Park - Race 9 (9:18pm)

Allowance Optional Claimer ($25,000) N1X – Fillies and mares 3 year olds and upwards – Six furlongs – Dirt

传奇sfThe Florida feature is this entry level Allowance Optional Claimer for older distaffers.

FLORA FANTASY (6) continues her tour of the backstretch barns at Gulfstream Park after being claimed out of her last race – the fourth time in her last five starts she was on the move. She won her last four – all with Irad Ortiz aboard - and each of them in State Bred Allowance Optional Claimers where she ran for the tag. She was sent to post between 9/10 to 8/5 for those victories, and will be a short order again today.

Over Gators (4) and Assail传奇sf (5) both won races earning decent speed figures in contests over five furlongs that were taken off the turf. The former probably has more scope to improve.

The wild cards here are Calinas Song (7) and Fillupcohensapiker (8). The former cut little ice over the winter at Aqueduct and Parx, but showed decent form at this time last year, here - when with Michael Lerman - and returns to that trainer looking for a revival. Fillupcohensapiker (8) makes her Gulfstream Park debut after running at Parx and Delaware Park last year, and the early part of 2020. She has bits and pieces of form, but it is a bit of a stretch in making too strong a case, as she arrives from a lay-off of over three months.

Selection: FLORA FANTASY (6)
Exotic Play: Reverse forecast (Boxed exacta) 2 bets: Flora Fantasy (6) and Calinas Song (7))

You can place single and some exotic bets with many of the following UK bookmakers:
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Belmont - Race 7 (9.32pm)

Maiden Special Weight – NY Bred 3 year olds and upwards – Six furlongs – Inner Turf

传奇sfTwelve locally bred colts and geldings, along with three reserves waiting in the wings, are entered for this turf contest over 6f, and in a race with little worthwhile turf form, it may be worth considering a newcomer, or a lad trying grass for the first time.

RATCHET (7), from the barn of Christophe Clement, is certainly bred for turf. His sire is Americain, who won the Melbourne Cup in 2010, although he did manage to win a 7f contest at Chantilly on debut. His dam, Thatchit, by Invincible Spirit, finished on the board in three juvenile sprints, her only races. Clearly, she should be better when stretching out, but I am willing to take a chance that she can put up a bold show on debut.

Walrus Gumboot (8) is one of the horses switched to the barn of Kelly Breen following the suspension of Jason Servis. The major proportion of them were unable to match their previous levels of form, but Bold Daddy did win for his new handler yesterday in a turf Claimer. The three-year-old is due to make his first start on turf here after a promising debut on the main track at this trip, back in February.

Jonathan Thomas has proved himself a shrewd nut in the handling of his horses and he switches SCUTTLEBUZZ (10) to the turf after a couple of runs on the main track. First up, he closed with a will at the end of the six-and-a-half furlongs trip to finish third, beaten just ¾ of a length. That was at Aqueduct in late-December, and two months later, over the same trip, he was hustled away after getting bumped and pinched at the start. He paid for those exertions late and gets a significant-looking rider switch here tin Javier Castellano. With solid turf breeding, he can be expected to enjoy the footing for the first time today.

Two others that can be given a chance are On The Couch (11), who is bred for turf and Sanctuary City传奇sf (13). The latter, who showed decent turf form on his two runs, needs a scratch to draw into the main field.

Selection: RATCHET (7) on Turf; SCUTTLEBUZZ (10) on Dirt
Exotic Play: Reverse forecast (Box Exacta) 2 bets: Ratchet (7) and Scuttlebuzz (10) on Turf

You can place single and some exotic bets with many of the following UK bookmakers:
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Gulfstream Park - Race 10 (9:50)

Claimer ($6,250) – 4 year olds and upwards – Six and half furlongs – Dirt

传奇sfA modest open Claimer closes proceedings in Florida, with 10 older lads entered.

French Quarter (7) may be a nine-year-old, but that hasn’t put off prospective purchasers, as he has been snagged out of six of his last nine races. With a record of seven wins from his 19 starts since the beginning of last year, it is easy to understand his popularity. A month ago he won a mile contest in this grade, leaving his nine rivals in his wake down the stretch. However, I am a little concerned with the lack of a recorded work since and will look elsewhere.

GAME BOY BENNY (8) is a relative youngster at four, and is dropping in grade after failing to cut it in a couple of entry level State Bred Allowance Optional Claimers. Those runs came after he was snagged by trainer Marcial Navarro out of a non-winners of three $12,500 Claimer, and since the ticket goes in before the race ‘over there’, his new trainer must have been delighted to see him win nicely. In truth, his first run for the barn wasn’t too shabby, and a hefty bump at the start took him out of the last one. Realistically spotted, he gets the nod.

Another nine-year-old, Whyruawesome (9) looked completely out of sorts in his recent starts with class eases recently making no discernible difference. He plummets to the bargain basement here and would surely have a squiggle against his name in a certain proprietary racecard!

Ox Trot (1) and Northern (6) won in this grade at Tampa Bay Downs, but the level of competition at this claiming tag tends to be stronger in South Florida.

Selection: GAME BOY BENNY (8)
No Exotic Play:

You can place single and some exotic bets with many of the following UK bookmakers:
传奇sf | | | | | | | | |

Belmont - Race 8 (10.04pm)

Allowance Optional Claimer ($62,500) N2X – Fillies and mares 3 year olds and upwards – Six and half furlongs – Dirt

My window closes with this little cracker, where eight distaffers are due to battle it out over a long sprint on the main track.

The are number of ‘allowance’ aspirants in here, but they have to topple a tough old gal if they are to collect the winner’s share of a $68,000 purse. HONOR WAY (6) is a six-year-old now and has racked up nine wins from her 34 starts so far. This mare has a closing run style that is often the key in long sprints, and she put up a good effort when last seen in mid-March, taking the runner-up spot in this grade overe 6f. I’m hoping there is enough early pace here to bring her late kick into play and send Honor Way on her way to the winner’s circle!

Sadie Lady (1) and Fair Regis (7) represent the barn of Rob Atras. The latter is another transfer from the barn of Jason Servis and she made a good fist of it for that trainer, in this grade when last seen in late-January, closing well in a six furlongs contest (beaten just ¾ lengths). However, her barn mate Sadie Lady (1) may be a more potent threat. She got out of an entry level allowance when last seen at the beginning of March. This four-year-old was sent to post at 3/5 for that event, and is going for the four-timer here following some shrewd placing by her handler. As potentially the lone speed from the inside, she will be a danger to all.

Finding Fame (8) is the least experienced here with just two runs (and two wins) on her CV. Both victories came at Gulfstream Park where she got home by ¾ of a length on debut at this trip in February, before adding an entry level Allowance Optional Claimer in April going a mile. With stamina on both sides of her pedigree, the cut back in trip here is a little puzzling, but Shug McGaughey knows more about the training game than me and this lass, taking on her elders for the first time, looks the one who could develop into a stakes performer in time.

Selection: HONOR WAY (6)
No Exotic Play

You can place single and some exotic bets with many of the following UK bookmakers:
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Barry Faulkner's US Racing Preview
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