A field of 11 line up in Saturday’s $250,000 Carter Handicap (G1) at Belmont Park, the winner stamping a ticket to the Breeders’ Cup this November.
The seven furlong Carter is a Win and You’re In race for the Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1). This year’s Breeders’ Cup will be contested at Keeneland on Nov. 6-7.
The Shug McGaughey trained Performer is the 3-1 morning line favorite. The colt has won four of his five career starts, his last outing a victory in the Discovery (G3) at nine furlongs last November at Aqueduct.
“He had a very good winter. All of his works were good at Payson and all have been good here,” said McGaughey. “He schooled in the paddock today and was very good. We’re looking forward to getting him started. He’s gotten bigger and stronger. If we can get a good, solid effort out of him and move ahead, we’ll be happy. He had four solid races last year and I think it got him to this year in good position.”
For horseplayers the one to watch will be Firenze Fire, who was previously trained by Jason Servis, who was indicted in a doping scheme. The colt is 7-2 on the morning line and will break from the rail as he makes his first start since being transferred to the Kelly Breen barn.
Breen made an odd comment to The Daily Racing Form’s David Grenig. “The way Jason was training him was working,” Breen told Grenig. “We just have to see if he likes Belmont Park as much this year as he has in the past.”
I don’t know, perhaps it was “working” because he was filled with performance enhancing drugs? If he wins today he will be doing it without being on my tickets.
The Carter is one of four stakes on an outstanding 11-race card. The action will be seen live on FS1 from 3:00 to 8:00 ET.
Let’s head out to Belmont Park for Saturday’s featured race of the day:
Belmont Park Race 9 The Carter Handicap (G1) Post time 5:36 ET
4 Nitrous 15-1
2 Performer 3-1
5 Network Effect 8-1
10 Mind Control 4-1
The Steve Asmussen trainee was outrun early while toward the inside, shifted out and made up some ground late to finish fourth in the Count Fleet Sprint Handicap (G3) at Oaklawn Park last out, beaten 2 ½ lengths. Four runners have come out of that race to run back and two won optional claimers in their next outings. This guy was pretty tough racing in New York last year, rallying to miss in the Woody Stephens (G1) here by just a just a neck last June and then was second in the Amsterdam (G2) at Saratoga. He makes his second start off the bench here for a trainer that is 22% winners with runners making the second start off a +180-day layoff. The colt is going to get some pace to run at and if Ortiz can work out a trip this guy should be coming late at a generous price.
This colt makes his first start since winning the Discovery (G3) last November at Aqueduct at nine furlongs. The victory was his fourth in a row. He broke his maiden and passed his first allowance condition in sprints. The colt has been working sharply in the mornings for his return for the Shug barn that is 10% winners with runners coming back off a +180-day layoff. This is a tough spot for his return off the bench, but his maiden win came off the layoff and he looks as if he still has some upside. Seven furlongs should suit him.
Chad Brown trains this colt who has landed in the exacta in six of his seven starts. He is coming off a sharp win in the Florida bred Big Drama last out at Gulfstream Park at seven furlongs. He broke outward bumping a foe at the break, tracked the early pace, lost his position nearing the quarterpole, angled down toward the inside and finished up well for the win. He makes his third start of his current form cycle and should be able to get a good trip sitting mid pack. The 8-1 morning line los fair enough to put him in the mix in this spot.