Juvenile selections at Belmont Park for Sept. 25

Profile Picture: John Mucciolo

September 23rd, 2021

Two graded stakes races will highlight a very good 11-race card at Belmont Park on Saturday. While I have obvious interest in the co-features, the Kelso H. (G2) and Athenia S. (G3), I believe that my best chance to make money will come in the trio of races on the card for two-year-olds.

Race 1 -- 1 1/16 miles for fillies

Six two-year-old ladies will go postward in the opener. #4 Nest is a full sister to Santa Anita H. (G1) winner Idol and seems poised to run well on debut for Todd Pletcher. The bay daughter of Curlin has trained steadily at this venue since mid-July, and she doesn’t face the deepest field of all time either. Irad Ortiz riding is an obvious plus for a potent first-out conditioner.

Race 6 -- Six furlongs for New York-breds

A total of nine youngsters are signed on for the six-furlong dash, and I feel there are a few interesting first-time starters in the field. I will give top billing to the Brad Cox-trained #4 Tap’n de Bank. By Central Banker, the $100,000 juvenile purchase hasn’t missed a morning breeze since July, and his sharp half-mile drill on the training track here hints that he might flash some speed first time out for a solid debut conditioner. Manny Franco will be in the stirrups, and if early money comes in his direction, then my confidence will increase.

Race 9 -- Six furlongs for New York-breds

The second division for state-bred juveniles attracted 10 in what looks to me like a very competitive dash. #8 Hot Rod Rumble has been defeated by a combined 42 lengths from two lifetime races to date, but I am expecting major improvement from the Asmussen pupil in his third career performance. The $325,000 juvenile purchase caught a sloppy, sealed surface at first asking, and he was close to a rapid pace before throwing in the towel last time out, both of which came at Saratoga.

The son of Midnight Storm will have a more sensible voyage on Saturday, and while he might not be a perfect win play, I suggest using the colt in many wagers, both vertical and horizontal, at an expected big number. Irad Ortiz taking the reins is a good thing, of course.