Submitted by John Conte on Tuesday, April 24, 2018 at 3:46 PM
John Conte Belmont Spring Meet Preview
Tuesday, April 24
On Friday (April 27) a strong heart beat returns to the New York Racing Circuit as the Belmont Park Spring Race Meet gets under way with nine races.
With no total disrespect to Aqueduct’s just completed winter meet, it was a pleasure to look at the first Belmont race card of 2018 and see full fields in just about every race.
After a steady diet of 5 and 6 horse fields (before scratches) the switch in locations is highly anticipated. On Sunday there were two races in which 5 horses ran and a race in which only 4 went postward. This past Saturday there were a pair of races with just 4 opponents, a race with 5 and a race with 6.
On Friday at Belmont there is one race with 6 entrants but the other eight races have between 8 and 14 runners entered.
For a successful handicapper and bettor such as myself this is welcome news.
To give you an idea of what I am getting at let me give you a brief reminder of what my clients and I shared in on Belmont’s Opening Day of the Spring Meet in 2017.
(SHIPPERS AND LAYOFF HORSES TAKE CENTER STAGE)
All you need do is look at the results on opening day to get an idea of how your entire New York Circuit Handicapping procedure must get a complete makeover.
After that long winter run of Aqueduct-centric horses, an entirely new dynamic takes place as local trainers who skipped Aqueduct and waited for Belmont spot their runners and outfits that wintered elsewhere begin to return to the Big Apple.
Here are the first three finishers of each of the nine races on opening day and when and where they last raced.
Thebigfundamental – 3/15/17 (Gulfstream)…Clear N Convincing – 2/18/17 (Gulfstream)…Spring On Curlin – 4-7/17 (Aqueduct)
Set The Trappe – 3/25/17 (Oaklawn)…Saratoga Mischief – 3/18/17 (Aqueduct)…Open Bar – 3/21/17 (PARX)
Tale Of Silence – 3/11/17 (Tampa Bay)…Jamminwithbrandon – 4/4/17 (PARX)…Hemsworth – 1/7/17 (Gulfstream)
Revive And Resurge – 3/12/17 (Tampa Bay)…Bob – 3/12/17 (Gulfstream)…Heat Check – First Time Starter
Praetereo – 4/8/17 (Aqueduct)…Marriage Fever – 4/8/17 (Aqueduct)…Match Up – 3/18/17 (Penn National)
Epping Forest – 3/12/17 (Gulfstream)…Fire Key – 4/5/17 (Aqueduct)…Laura’s Patriot – 1/25/17 (Aqueduct)
Take These Chains – 6/24/16 (Belmont)…One Last Shot – 3/16/17 (Fair Grounds)…Rumble Doll – 11/27/16 (Laurel)
Celtic Chaos – 4/7/17 (Aqueduct)…Eye Luv Lulu – 4/1/17 (Aqueduct)…Final Chapter – 4/1/17 (Aqueduct)
Dream A Little – 9/18/18 (Belmont)…Milky Whey Gal – First Time Starter…Spring Folly – First Time Starter
Then the next day the top 3 finishers in the 9 races consisted of 10 shippers, 4 layoff horses and a first time starter.
This is the kind of mix that a savvy handicapper and bettor can take advantage of during the opening days and opening two few weeks of the meet…especially since the pools get spread around as the public tries to figure out the switch in dynamics.
For instance, the combination of two shippers and a first time starter in Race 4 on opening day last year resulted in this BOXCAR PAYOFF:
Revive And Resurge (Tampa Bay) – WIN $123.00
Bob (Gulfstream) – 2nd Exacta $458.00
Heat Check (First Time Starter) – 3rd Trifecta $6,312.00
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As for the races that I connected on opening day in 2017, my clients cashed 3 winners, 2 exactas and a trifecta from the 4 races I released.
Race 3 – Tale Of Silence – WIN $6.50…Jamminwithbrandon – 2nd Ex. $59.00
Race 5 – Marriage Fever – 2nd Ex. $69.50…Match Up – 3rd Tri. $384.50…Praetereo – WIN $14.60
Race 8 – Celtic Chaos – WIN $17.20
And keep in mind, with the Kentucky Derby looming just 6 Belmont racing days after the opening of this meet I will find the overlay and value plays that will once again build a solid bankroll for our First Saturday In May Bonanza.