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Homeracing

Catching My Eye: Belmont July 1-3

Profile Picture: Kevin Kilroy

July 5th, 2022

Yes, Olympiad, Life Is Good, and Charge It caught my eye with their monstrous efforts winning graded stakes this weekend. There’s a lot of racing between now and a potential Breeders' Cup Classic (G1) showdown between these three, but Bill Mott and Todd Pletcher have said the Whitney will be next for the older two.

I favor Olympiad over Life Is Good. Mott’s runner puts himself in the perfect position behind a frontrunner like Life Is Good, and Junior Alvarado reports he has not gotten to the bottom of his run in the stretch. I have no doubt that Olympiad would need to dig his deepest yet in the August 6 Whitney, but I am confident that he has enough in store to overtake Life Is Good. Book the bet.

Nothing new to see with a big run by a first-time starter coming out of Pletcher’s barn, but Capensis won in a category in which the trainer has only had a 7% success rate (8-for-113 with three-year-olds making their first start on the turf). And Capensis did it in style, circling the field four wide in the second turn, drawing away to win by five, and posting a huge speed figure. This $2 million yearling purchase by Tapit has no siblings of note, and his Grade 1 winning dam, Tara’s Tango, had no turf starts. But wherever he races next, you’ll want a front-row seat.

Pletcher sent out another strong outside-the-box first-timer with the four-year-old Street Tsar. I always appreciate seeing first-timers who can pass other horses and duel against game company, and Street Tsar did both. Overcoming mild trouble out of the break, he rocketed out after that, relaxed behind the frontrunner, who he eventually put away, and then most impressively dueled home the even-money favorite Ocean’s Reserve to nose him out for the win.

The lightly-raced four-year-old Saint Selby made a nice statement with his fourth start of the year. Owning an impressive 5-3-1-0 record, the obvious knock had been all those starts were against New York-bred company. Not on Friday. Slotting nicely into an open first-level allowance sprint, Saint Selby did what he does best, breaking to the lead and never looking back. Front speed is always dangerous at Saratoga, especially when coupled with the confidence of a four-time winner who still has allowance conditions left to strut his stuff.

The five-year-old Dynadrive has the past performances of a horse that is hard to trust at the windows. In and out of form, in and out of barns, up and down in class levels, and only one win since 2020. Assuming current form holds, Friday’s 45-1 winner against a strong field including Kuramata, Kinenos, and Space Launch looks like he is back in business.

Making his first start for Tom Morley, Dynadrive absolutely had a perfect trip through the beginning stages, but in the stretch he was trapped behind a horse on the rail but showed his fight to get out and make a big late run to get the win. It will be interesting to see where Morley slots him next, given previous connections’ lofty stabs at graded stakes and willingness to ship this 12-track journeyman.

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