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!

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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.