Belmont Day Takeaways

Profile Picture: John Mucciolo

June 13th, 2017

A superb day of racing took place at Belmont Park on Saturday where I witnessed a bevy of fine horses and performances. I will highlight a trio that caught my eye:

1. ANTONOE looks like a flat-out star. Juddmonte Farms’ homebred rated in last to the top of the lane and then uncorked a furious rally in the Just a Game (G1), accelerating to take the grassy affair going away under the wire. Trained by Chad Brown, the four-year-old daughter of First Defence remained unblemished from a pair of U.S. starts and the dark bay couldn’t have looked any better to me. Antonoe came home in a sensational :21 4/5 and could be next in a long line of great turf distaffers for Juddmonte. Continued progression will find this one as one of the favorites for the Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) in the fall.

2. PATCH is really growing on me. Todd Pletcher trainee was never getting to the top pair when a clear third in the Belmont, but he’s still lightly raced and capable of making a lot of noise in the second half of 2017. Unraced as a juvenile, son of Union Rags has gained valuable experience in recent starts and drawing widest of all in the starting gate did him no favors in the Kentucky Derby and Belmont. I’m expecting further improvement and Patch looks like a serious Jim Dandy-Travers type.

3. While I was not impressed by the overall quality of the Met Mile (G1) field, MOR SPIRIT recorded the most powerful performance of the day. Four-year-old son of Eskendereya was, ahem, my Kentucky Derby selection in 2016 and although he didn’t make good for me last spring, he is rapidly evolving into one of the better handicap horses in training. A winner of three straight in facile fashion, the Bob Baffert trainee obliterated this cast and secured a whopping BRIS 114 Speed figure for his work. He will almost surely be coming back to the Empire State, whether Saratoga in the summer or Belmont Park in the fall, this season.