‘Birds’ will be flying at Belmont

Jun 2, 2009 5:04 PM
Getting Rich with Saber by Richard Saber | By Richard Saber No Rachel, but there are 10 happy boys slugging it out at the testing 1½ mile distance in this Saturday’s Belmont Stakes.

It is good news for the boys but bad news for the Las Vegas books and all horse racing fans who really wanted to see a rematch between Rachel Alexandra and Kentucky Derby winner and the Preakness runner-up Mine That Bird.

But the connections are doing the right thing in not running her back. This filly is just worth too much down the line to take a shot at this race.

At this writing, we don’t have the confirmed starters but we will cover the ones that look like they will run. Starting in alphabetical order is a Nick Zito horse, Brave Victory. The one good thing about this guy is that he has run over this track, breaking his maiden in a 7 furlong race last year and just recently he ran third in the Peter Pan, albeit a distant third with the jock losing his whip. He has two wins in his career, the maiden breaker and an allowance win at Gulfstream Park going 6 furlongs: Pass.

Next we have the Kiaran McLaughin-trained Charitable Man, who was the impressive winner of the Peter Pan and has two wins from two starts on the Belmont dirt. This guy can motor and has three wins from four lifetime starts with his only bad race coming on the Keeneland poly track. I really like this guy’s chances as he will get the jump on these and will have to be caught. He is lightly raced and this will be his third start off the layoff and that is usually a horse’s best; he will be part of my super.

Next we have Chocolate Candy who sat out the Preakness after a good fifth place finish in the Kentucky Derby. This one is very consistent and will get the services of Gomez for the first time and that could move him up a notch. He was squeezed at the start in the Derby and was running in 17th position but made a nice run on the off track – he is a player and a must use in the exotics.

Dunkirk was the talk of the town after his big run in the Florida Derby, finishing second to possibly the best 3yo, Quality Road. This guy has the talent and could be the one on a fast track – he had excuses in the Kentucky Derby, stumbling at the start and being steadied. Todd Pletcher will use his main man this time around the track as he puts up J. R. Velazquez; look for this guy to be flying late.

Next we have the D. Wayne Lukas trained Flying Private who ran fourth in the Preakness; he has one win on his resume and that was his maiden breaker going 6 furlongs at Saratoga last year; I will have to pass.

Another Lukas trainee, Luv Gug, far back in the Preakness and he just broke his maiden on May 2 at Churchill Downs in the slop after nine tries; pass.

We have the second Nick Zito horse in Miner’s Escape, who has won his last two starts, a maiden breaker at Gulfstream Park and a little $50K stakes race at Pimlico, where he beat seven over-matched foes. This guy has some speed and could hang on for a long time, he has some long shot potential as an add-on in the back of some super’s.

Mine That Bird has come of age since finding his running style, lagging far back and making one big late run. This guy proved what he is in the Preakness and that his Kentucky Derby win was no fluke. Borel re-rides and if he wins he will be the first to win all three triple crown races but on two different horses; he looks first or second in here.

Mr. Hot Stuff has a maiden breaker as his only win and that was on the artificial surface at Santa Anita. This one should be looking for a non-winners of two allowance race; pass. Summer Bird has the same sire as Mine That Bird, Birdstone, and represents the hunch player’s dream exacta box, Summer Bird and Mine That Bird. Summer Bird with just one win his maiden breaker at Oaklawn Park will be very long in price but I will play that exacta box as you just never know in a horse race and he did run a very good race in the Kentucky Derby finishing sixth after making a big seven wide move.

On paper the class of the race is Dunkirk, Mine That Bird, Charitable Man and Chocolate Candy – I will box all four in the tri and super and then key Mind That Bird and Charitable Man first and second and toss in the other Bird just for good measure. Who knows, this may be the year of the Bird.

Question? Comment? E-mail me at: Richard Saber