Race Preview: Belle at Keeneland

Brilliant Belle with Rafael Mojica, Jr. aboard will try and give the Club it’s first ever Keeneland win in Friday’s 4th race (approximately 1:45 CT). The race brings Belle back on the dirt and sprinting six furlongs. She will break from post four amidst a very full field of twelve (I did not tackle the pair of ‘also eligibles’).

Like A Haint (Denzik/Hernandez) – 3-year old is a proven winner with toughness. Figs may be a bit low for this group, but certainly will be pressing the pace from the bell.

Basheba (Jurado/Morales) – Has been most successful when she can be near the lead but she hasn’t sniffed the lead since moving to Kentucky over the winter.

Wishihada (Domenosky/Geroux) – Canterbury competitor should also be attending to the early pace for the new barn (former Club trainer Tammy Domenosky). There is plenty of speed in here so it will be tough for her to shake loose.

BRILLIANT BELLE (LITFIN/MOJICA, Jr.)

Dixie Lover (Stinson/Court) – Oft-claimed traveler is very dangerous at the lower levels and should also be prominent early.

District Attorney (Riecken/Ordaz) – Hasn’t been a winner in years and will try and come off the pace. The early speed in here is encouraging for her but this track has not been knid to closing types in sprints.

La Majestique (Montana/Santana) – Big class dropper of the field drops to the lowest level of her career. She has good speed but plenty of speed inside of her. The big drop comes after being eased after nearly a year off and the pummeled in a $25,000 claimer. She cuts back to sprinting but the time off, lackluster performances and big class drop are all suspect.

Lucky Me Lucky You (Hancock/Kurtz) – Won by a late nose in her 2017 debut but has only managed a couple of 4ths since.

Ultra Arumba (Foley/Lanerie) – Splashed to a win in the basement at Ellis and closed nicely for third at Churchill last out. These are tougher here and the speed favoring track doesn’t help her chances.

Capriasca (Ewing/Borel) – First off the claim for the Ewing gang. Seems to be strategically flexible which will give Borel some options as the race unfolds.

Heavenly Daze (Hiles/Graham) – Another closer that may have a tough time here, she does get some class relief from her Churchill effort. Her most recent pilot chose another but retains the services of one who led her to last victory.

Teacup Twirl (West/Gilligan) – Indiana bred has plenty of speed but is mired on the far outside. Tough assignment to win from out here.

Belle has a morning line of 10-1. A quick look at her PPs does make that seem fair but what do we know? After her win, she stumbled out of the gate and cute her foot. The race after that she was certainly still feeling the affects when the real racing started and she faded badly. Her turf sprint wasn’t a bad effort at all considering the 7.5 furling distance. We tried her going longer and that was a failure as she was in a nice position but absolutely ran out of gas.

We know that she’s feeling fine and is healthy. She had a work that the clocker’s missed and she came out of just fine. She’s back on the dirt and she’s back to six furlongs. All points in her favor.

She’s certainly not unbeatable as there are several in here that you could consider “classier” than her. However her dirt Beyer speed figures in sprints where she was healthy match up favorably to everyone in here. While there is plenty of speed, I would expect Rafael to keep her just behind those leaders and find position heading into the lane for the run for home. If she’s good enough, she should be right in the thick of things at the end.

Good luck everyone!

Race: The Aftermath

It’s SO much more fun to post after a win, but this has to happen as well. You can’t win every race and our girl ran an odd one last night. The instructions were to sit off the early speed – and we had the 1 on the inside that we figured would go – and then get first run on them to the finish.

Belle decided that she didn’t like those instructions and pulled Quincy Hamilton to the lead. He tried to relax her and rate her speed but she was pressured on the outside and she decided to call it a day.

Interesting thing about that performance is that it flew in the face of everything we know about her. We know she’s a fighter and has a lot of heart and she really showed neither last night.

Positives: she came out of the race well last night and was walking just find this morning. That means we live to fight another day.

So…what happened? No real idea. It could be that after her last race, where she stumbled and cut herself that she remembered that experience and didn’t have the confidence that she could go full out without hurting. IF that’s the case, the race served her well.

She may have had a bad night. She had run three solid races in a row (say what you will about that last race, but she ran hard after she stumbled), maybe this time she laid an egg? It happens.

This would be a great time to be able to sit and talk with her and find out what she was feeling, but we can’t so Nevada will work with her, get her ready and when she let’s us know, we will enter and go right back at them!

In terms of a second horse, this will put those plans on hold for a little bit unless we can find something that we feel like we can’t turn down. Once another horse enters the mix, expenses double and that can drain the account quickly. I’d prefer to wait to make sure we have Belle back on track and can buy with some certainty and safety – well, as much as you can.

Belle Race Preview

The group has a few tables set aside inside of Silks tomorrow evening. There should be signs on them showing as reserved. We’ll meet Group 3 at the paddock after the replay of race 6.

It’s a big field so let’s get to it:

Angel Falls (Rhone/Mojica) – Canadian stakes winner has speed and the rail in his return to the claiming ranks (for more purse money) for a solid barn and rider.

Seneca Sally (Gordon/Hernandez) – Being pushed up a bit in class after earning back to back wins after clearing his claiming conditions at $6250. Tougher spot than she’s used to be has speed and an inside post.

Ice Goddess (Riecken/R Mojica) – Oaklawn Park winner who has a pair of seconds against runaway winners in his first two Canterbury starts. Looks like she’ll want to be closing.

Miss Ocean Express (Donlin/Delorme) – Nabbed an allowance score in her first local start but did finish third to Belle in her last. She’s been off ever since but has a bullet work for her return.

BRILLIANT BELLE (LITFIN/HAMILTON)

Tapindeed (Nolen/Lindsay) – Local debut was a bit tepid but showed some gumption closing. Gets an extra half furlong and another chance.

Jeana Baby (Van Winkle/Goodwin) – Interesting Minnesota miss was sold for $100,000 at OBS and then claimed for $50,000 in California. Notched an impressive win versus Minn breds after a rough start. Her first start against open company since a 2nd in L’Etoile du Nord last year. Certainly talented and should stalk any early pace.

Here to Play (Sheehan/Velazquez) – Impressive win in local debut, albeit at $4000. Had a rough go of it against higher on the turf and settling back over the dirt in here. May be in a little deep.

Annoy (Heitzmann/A Canchari) – 3-1 morning line favorite handled Belle last time, though we did hand it over to the field at the gate. Seems to have done her best on or near the lead and should be stalking.

I Have a Secret (Bravo/Loveberry) – Was thrashed at this level last out, but Bravo is not one to bring em back in a spot if they didn’t show the talent. Probably couldn’t have gotten Loveberry either. Interested to see this one 2nd back off the layoff. Three year old maiden tries would make her competitive in here.

Frieda Zamba (Swan/Sanchez) – Drilled in local debut at this level going longer. Shortens up today and has shown some gate speed. Will have to improve.

Maid Easy (Silva/Mawing) – Last start was really her only dud in the last 12. She’ll be trying to come late and certainly has heart.

This is a big field that has a little bit of everything. There are a few that may be overmatched but enough unknowns in the field to make this quite the wide open affair. Belle won wire to wire but that doesn’t mean she has to. In fact, she may be even better stalking the pace and making a solid run. Hamilton is a solid rider who will be able to react to what she gives her and ride her accordingly.

I think that we have a real shot in here. If you draw a line through her last race because of the stumble and bump out of the gate and she can run back to her numbers from the win, she can win again, but a big field creates traffic issues and there is certainly some talent in this field. How good is Annoy? Just how good is Jeana Baby? Can I Have a Secret bounce back and surprise? Will someone run off and hide? So many variables in this one but Belle is talented, flexible and tough as nails on the racetrack and guided by a hot jock winning at a 20% clip. Quincy was also featured on the Canterbury blog this week and, for whatever reason, featured subjects have been the beneficiaries of a “blog bounce.”

That last one is a stretch, but, heck, I’ll take anything that might be and edge!

Good luck everyone!

Belle in Thursday Night; June Financials

Brilliant Belle is back in action Thursday night. We will be in race 7, a $12,500 optional claiming race carrying a purse of $30,000 for fillies and mares that have never won a race other than maiden, claiming, statebred or starter OR never won two races OR claiming price of $12,500. Belle fits the first – or allowance – condition so there is no tag on her. Quincy Hamilton will be the rider in the six furlong race. Estimate post time is 9:25 PM.

It is Group 3’s turn in the paddock (Group 3: Anderson – Heddle). We’ll check and see if there is some space for us to use on race night and let you know in a day or two when we post the race overview.

Below are the financials from last month: it was a bit of a toughie with the claim with a blown tendon and Belle stumbling and getting bumped out of the gate, but we’ll look to get back on track Thursday night!

CRC 2017 Running financials – JUNE

Belle Back on Track

Brilliant Belle, scrape aside, came out of her race really well. Her cut is already healing and she galloped over the main track today with no problem. She may be sweet as can be in the barn, but she’s a tough filly too!

Nevada, star of paddock and screen, did another video for us letting us know a bit about how she came out of the race and what could be next.