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Handicapping - Pedigree - History - Dosage

2024 Belmont - Head to Head with Brian, Gerard & Lisa


Brian: This is a really cool horse, and he’s run back to back very strong races…  He has been busy and this is his 6th race in the last 3.5 months.  Some horses don’t run 6 races in their career!  I do think he may have one more good race in him, but I think this distance is beyond what he wants.  He moved up in the Preakness because he was able to set a very moderate pace, and because the track was muddy… not expecting the same here.  He will be forced to go from the 1 hole, and he’ll have legitimate pressure.  I think he’s in line to possibly hit 4th, but no better.

Gerard: This will be his sixth race since February. His last two have been impressive, but I feel he will have more competition on the front end this time.

Lisa: Last week, this was my number one guy for this race and then I studied the PPs. I just can't overlook those late figures at 10f after seeing them in black and white. Gees, I hope the change of heart doesn't backfire on me! I simply can't see several extra very talented lead tier runners with him up front enhancing his poor late energy at this distance.



Brian: Derby horse who ran really well, and now has taken the full 5 weeks to recover.  He’ll be one that helps press the pace and ensure its solid, and I think he’ll have more in the tank then some others.  He’s out of  Smart Strike mare, like Seize the Grey, and I like that pedigree element.  I’ll be using him in the 2 thru 4 slots.  In fact, he will be one of my two key horses, if I choose to bet.  Really like his set up.

Gerard: Endured a wide trip near the pace and made a big move only to flatten out in the deep stretch in Louisville. Has to be respected as Mott was initially talking about cutting him back in distance, only to change his mind after the horse’s last work.

Lisa: Serious effort from post 19 in the Derby verifies that Mott means business. The horse is stacked and if that bias is on cue, Resilience should easily show off as one of the top-speed leaning horses of the crop. There aren't too many of those types left. Mindframe is his direct peer in terms of build, but this guy has the class.



Brian: Back in the 3 hole from where he won the Derby.  He’ll also get a similar setup, and likely get a rail saving trip.  This will be a tough test as his 3rd race in 5 weeks, but he’s still showing positive signs.  I like him, but do prefer a little more rest.  He’ll battle, and is board hit eligible.

Gerard: Has to be respected off his win in the Derby and his runner up effort in the Preakness. Reasonable to question how much is left in the tank.

Lisa: I feel the exact same way as both Brian and Gerard. I'm getting shades of Rich Strike and Mage here for some reason and may give him a nod down low. Should the rain come, he'll grow on me and I'll use him a little more.



Brian: This will be his 3rd race off the layoff, and in his last two he ran well, and steady, but couldn’t seal the deal, without much of an excuse in either.  He reminds me of his sire, Vino Rosso, and I expect he will be much stronger later this year, and even more so next year.  I envision a middle of the pack finish.  Could he round out the super?  Sure.  But I like others more.

Gerard: This will be his third start off the layoff having finished second in his previous two. Couldn’t get by Encino in the Lexington and seemed to be in control of the Peter Pan, but couldn’t finish.

Lisa: If the Belmont was running 12f, I'd be all over this guy - Stamina heavy which means speed gets watered down. Extremely dependent on that bias beating down the front speed in this race and should evidence of that occur in the undercard, I'll spend to add him to the bottom.



Brian: I know he won the Peter Pan, but this guy does not impress me.  And he beat two of his challengers in that race, so you can probably guess how I feel about them.  He’s just very vanilla.  Nothing flashes in either his performances, his figures, or his pedigree.  I’ll pass.

Gerard: Good effort in the Peter Pan, but needs to get faster. Expect him to be better later in the year.

Lisa: I don't see a way that this guy makes it around the full 10f oval with the speed he faces out front. Maybe the shorter Woody Stephens or the Met Mile would have suited better, but he's not in their league either.



Brian: Still not feeling Dornoch.  He hasn’t run a good race yet this year, and I think he’s a notch below these.  He’s another who could round out the Super, but I don’t think he’s a remote win threat.  Part of the problem with him is I think he doesn’t know who he is, or who he wants to be.  He needs a reset.

Gerard: Got a horrible trip in the Derby while finishing a better than it looked tenth. Still think there’s a big race in him.

Lisa: The talent that this guy showed up until April 6th was outstanding and hopefully it is still lurking somewhere inside him. Great odds on a horse who is built very well for this race. He will be a strategically placed longshot who I'll dot throughout my super ticket. If you hear the faint sound of screams in the distance when they are all charging down that stretch, that would be me egging him on.



Brian: Still a maiden with three straight 3rd place finishes to start his career.  Hasn’t ever run bad, but also, like some others, there is just no flash.  I don’t like him in this spot.  Pass.

Gerard: Finished a non-threatening third in the Wood and Peter Pan. Waters get deeper here and Gaffalione doesn’t help his cause.

Lisa: He'll be hanging with Antiquarian back in their stalls after the race asking each other, "What the hell just happened and why did that grey haired guy just make us do that?"



Brian: Still really like this horse, and he’s one who HAS flashed.  He got absolutely pinballed for the first 5 seconds of the Derby, and the fact that he made a run after that was impressive.  With five weeks rest, I think he’s primed to run big.  I think the pace will be legitimate, and so he should have the opportunity to close.  He better try to get the jump on Sierra Leone though because he’s not good enough to catch him from behind.  I’ll be using Honor Marie 2nd thru 4th slots.

Gerard: Got pummeled at the start of the Derby and never got a chance to run his race. Worth a shot.

Lisa: Honor Marie is Honor Code with extra stamina. All I can see is Honor Code blazing late in the 2015 Whitney at Saratoga, posting his best ever performance. An unimpeded run and more track for Honor Marie is all he ever needed. Everything should be aligning for him and we'll see if he rises to the occasion. I'm using him heavily.



Brian: I’m singling him on top.  Before the Derby, I thought he was the best horse with the best set up, and he was.  I still feel that way.  He won’t be so far back in this race with only 10 horses, and he’ll get the measure of those in front.  Well rested, still a beast.  Single.

Gerard: The jock switch and bit change should help his cause. Deserving favorite.

Lisa: He's the deserving favorite, but I also see that two other opponents here actually beat him in the past. Only five races and actually defeated twice, regardless of his effort. His eventual odds will not reflect that, it will be more about redemption for the losses. From a gambling standpoint, you're damn right I want to beat him but I'm not going to be silly about it. A saver boxed superfecta on the side just to cover myself seems reasonable.



Brian: I know there are only 10 horses, and not 20, but a horse going a mile and a quarter, off only 2 starts, never going further than 8.5f, is not a good setup.  He could be freaky, and I can’t knock what he’s done so far, but this is too much too soon in my opinion.  I might use him underneath, but I also could choose to leave him off entirely.

Gerard: It’s Pletcher and Repole time again as they show up with a horse who has been running lights out according to the sheets. Should be able to handle the crowd as he ran on the Derby undercard. This is no optional claiming race, and he is being asked to do an awful lot for such an inexperienced colt. I would need a much bigger prize to consider him.

Lisa: Gerard and Brian now have me questioning my initial thoughts on this guy (they always have a way of doing that!) So I will take one more step before actually finalizing my eventual tickets. His equally speedy kin, Charge It, who also had an exceptionally fast and talented young campaign and also trained by Pletcher, will be running in the 10f Suburban Stakes. Great opportunity to see how the Tapit dynamics work first on this 10f Saratoga track before final decision. This up and coming monster will get the final judgement after the 6th race on Saturday now. Just crossing the T's and dotting the I's. For now, he remains within the top four and we'll see how far I raise him in the Super.



Brian: I’m still on the fence about betting this race.  I think it should be a very fair, balanced race, but the Saratoga and 10F aspects are kind of messing with me a bit.  I do feel strongly about two horses, and they are Sierra Leone, and Resilience.  If I bet it, I will single Sierra Leone on top, and key Resilience underneath.

Gerard: (will be added soon)

Lisa: I think this race is stacked with a very even playing field in terms of talent, build for the race and distance capability. For the final Triple Crown race of this year, I will bet it in such a way as to gain as much excitement down that stretch as I possibly can. This means betting against the house favorite but I will back myself with a boxed ticket as well to cover myself. Without race results from the undercards and assuming a fast track, this is where I'm standing at the moment.


TOP FOUR - In Order of Preference:


  1. Sierra Leone

  2. Resilience

  3. Honor Marie

  4. Mystik Dan


  1. Sierra Leone

  2. Resilience

  3. Honor Marie

  4. Mystik Dan


  1. Resilience

  2. Honor Marie

  3. Sierra Leone

  4. Mindframe


So Puca, dam to Mage and Dornoch, sold at auction in 2023 for $2.5 million. Was looking at her record and some comments, she was very well thought of by some when she was racing. Ended up with some physical issues but Mott was high enough on this filly to put her in the BCJF after a maiden win. She never really got to show her best on the track, bad trips and some ligament issues, looks like she's making up for it now.


Dornoch is now my new Lemon Drop Kid. I wagered on both in their respective Derby years, and then let them both slip out of my primary focus in their Belmont races. I would still have cashed at least on a $1 SF box, had I not stayed loyal with Bill Mott and Resilience. Tough game even when boxing. Dornoch was my number five. I wasn't able to watch the live coverage, but if I had witnessed the bowed neck on Dornoch, I indeed, shoulda, woulda. coulda. Thanks for another fun Derby trail run Lisa. Next year DHC will prevail.


Lisa❤️, just wanted to thank you for all your intelligent input. The last minute I hit the Triple. If not for the insight you provided and the visual of Dornoch ( The way his neck was so arched) I put him in the last second. He looked exceptionally ready. Loved Mindframe, just got tired in the end but almost came back when straightened out.Then just thru in the favorite. Got Lucky for once😂 But sincerely your writings are incredible. Never give up Kiddo ❤️🐎🐎🐎

Lisa De
Lisa De
Jun 09
Replying to

I'm so glad you hit. Short of walking completely away from the race, I did decide to place two boxed superfectas.

The one I posted up top - Resilience, Honor Marie, Sierra Leone and Mindframe - ripped that ticket up.

The second one, I had to get rid of one horse for Dornoch - which, of course, I tossed the wrong one! I ended up with Dornoch - Mindframe - Seirra Leone - Resilience.

Ripped that ticket up as well.

But I had the time of my life when they hit that stretch. The old Dornoch showing up and justifying his 5 stars was payment enough!


Over the past 2+ days, forwardly placed horses have done well, but especially those with a strong stamina influence up close in their pedigrees. Pure speed types (high speed on both top and bottom) have not fared as well. I too am back on Seize the Grey, who has a great foundation, and is improving. Have to respect the fact that Mindframe could be a monster and will use him on top as well, though he does run without Lasix for the first time. A saver on Dornoch is also justifiable, as he will be SENT today, and may just get loose. He does have talent, and he does have the distance. Horrible trip in the Derby.

Replying to

Yeah, that's what we're saying now . . .


Robert Kimble
Robert Kimble
Jun 08

On paper, Sierra Leone looks the part. My question, and I hope I'm wrong, is soundness. He act's up getting in the gate, breaks slowly, and the severe bearing in is a concern. Is he just a bad actor or is there a more serious problem? My experience with horses with these 2 problems often have some sort of problems in the hind end. Watching him warming up will be key for me. Change in equipment can help, but as a horse tires they tend to drift either in or out. No doubt he should have been dq'd in Derby and placed behind Forever Young but outside of wagering it doesn't matter. The stewards did fine and slap Gaffalione on…

Replying to

She looks at the field and picks the names she likes while we spend months pouring over pedigrees and preps

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