Friday, June 8, 2007
On Friday at Belmont is the G2 Hill Prince Stakes, for three-year-olds over the Widener Turf Course at one mile. Bill Mott’s Marcavelly and Todd Pletcher’s Distorted Humor look to be the class of this field, but my sentimental choice is Bill Kaplan’s grey Storm in May, arguably the most versatile horse in the field having run successfully on both dirt and grass, sprints and routes. All three horses have encountered Duveen this year, with Marcavelly and Distorted Humor finishing behind him in the G3 Crown Royal American Turf Classic (1-1/16 mile), and Storm in May leading until late, finishing third in the G3 Palm Beach Handicap (1-1/8 mile). With the shorter distance, I think it will ultimately be a battle between Storm in May and Marcavelly. Jamie Sanders’ Royal War Academy has THE most odd race record, bouncing all over different surfaces and distances without much success (one win in 13 starts), and he appears misplaced here again, although he does get Garrett Gomez up. I don’t think Codeword has enough late speed for this field, and Reptilian Smarts would only be a factor if he takes to turf. Therefore, I would play a 1-2-3 $1 tri boxed, with preference for Marcavelly, but hope Storm in May takes it.
How deep are Darley’s pockets? Not only have they purchased the breeding rights to Street Sense and Hard Spun, but now the Epsom Derby winner Authorized. Certainly, this has as much to do with his winning performance as it does the fact that the colt is by the champion Montjeu, who stands stud at rival Coolmore, and has produced a number of high quality stakes winners, including an English Derby winner (Motivator) and an Irish Derby winner Hurricane Run.