Speed plays well on Belmont’s turf courses; Happyness, Onus appear ready for stakes company

Profile Picture: John Mucciolo

May 25th, 2016


There was a single graded race during the weekend at Belmont Park.

Vagrancy H. (G3): Vincent Scuderi’s homebred PAULASSILVERLINING (Ghostzapper) lived up to her 1-5 odds with a decisive 3 ¾-length win under the guidance of Jose Ortiz. The four-year-old filly finished off 6 ½ furlongs on the fast main oval in 1:15 4/5 for trainer Michelle Nevin.

Track Stats

A total of 48 races were held at the Elmont, New York venue, with favorites winning at a 38 percent rate and the top two betting choices combining for 67 percent of the wins during the week. From 22 races on the main oval, five animals won in wire-to-wire fashion (23 percent), while seven of the 26 grassy races were taken all the way on the lead (27 percent).  

Early ones had a nice week on the turf at Belmont Park. Of the seven who led at every call on the green, all but one was a route race. And of the route wire jobs, three came on the inner and another trio on the outer turf course.

The main track played how it often does when it is fast, fairly to most. Three wire-to-wire winners occurred in sprint races and the other duo going long.

Meet Totals












68 (40%)

2nd Choices:


36 (21%)

Turf Wire:


15 (21%)

Dirt Wire:


19 (19%)





Wednesday (5/18)

1ST – HEY BRO (Congrats) broke well, rated along the inside to the top of the lane, then closed best of all to beat a nice allowance field in this opener. The Danny Gargan trainee has put together a few nice races of late and looms a big chance if properly placed next time out.

2ND – OLIVE BRANCH (Speightstown) took command near midstretch and finished up well in a fine debut run for trainer Richard Violette. The two-year-old filly what might have been a solid field of juvenile prospects, and she will be facing stakes foes in her return.

8TH – HAPPYNESS (Verglas) made it two straight since coming to the U.S. and conditioner Chad Brown, and the talented four-year-old filly figures to be stakes bound very soon.

Thursday (5/19)

6TH – LOVE THAT JAZZ (Not For Love) came off the layoff ready to run in this sprint, proving game in victory under Luis Saez. The three-year-old never had a breather in his seasonal debut but still came out on top for trainer Charlton Baker.

Friday (5/20)

3RD – DROP SHOT (Lemon Drop Kid) was allowed a clear and easy lead in the turf test, but the Jimmy Jerkens trainee still finished with a lot of run in the lane to record an impressive maiden conquer. We like the colt next time out with winners where he will have more value.

Saturday (5/21)

2ND – Grade 3 vixen ONUS (Blame) made pretty short work of this field in a fine comeback off the shelf since the fall. The Shug McGaughey-trained filly has a world of ability and should be a mainstay in the graded turf races throughout the year.

7TH – SPECIAL SELECTION (Hook and Ladder) had the widest post, a slow break and likely needed the run in his first since the fall. The gelding ran well late to be in a dead-heat for third, beaten just two lengths overall, and the Bruce Brown pupil might be a major player next time after getting one under his belt.

10TH – SAHARAN (Desert Party) impressed us some in this fray with a sneaky-goof effort for conditioner Jimmy Jerkens. The three-year-old filly was just fourth, but she was part of a swift pace and held on well late in a talented field. She could be very interesting in her comeback at a decent number.

Sunday (5/22)

2ND – EUCALYPTUS (Arch) was not in contention early on, but the gelding made a move to be right there nearing midstretch, finishing up best in what we thought was a fine debut tally. Trainer Mike Hushion is often better second time out, so the four-year-old might be tough right back after registering a 97 BRIS Late Pace figure.

7TH – McGaughey’s PROMOTE (Blame) was not in the mix early, but made a big run in the lane to win going away in a very good debut showing under Jose Lezcano. The three-year-old colt could be any kind and should appreciate more ground to work with, too.

A Look Ahead

There is no graded action over the Holiday weekend at Belmont Park.