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Wildcat Red Possible Lone Speed in Vosburgh at Belmont

Wildcat Red Possible Lone Speed in Vosburgh at Belmont: Speed figures never play a huge role in these articles, but heavy Vosburgh Stakes (GI) favorite Rock Fall owns an underwhelming last race number compared to his morning line odds. Furthermore, he barely defeated The Big Beast, who only owns an allowance win this year. Time for a longshot most fans know despite his long-ish odds: Wildcat Red.

Wildcat Red Belmont Park

Wildcat Red, pictured above at Gulfstream Park, rates as a potential live one with early speed in the Vosburgh Stakes at Belmont Park on Saturday, Sept. 25, 2015.
Photo: Leslie Martin, Coglianese

Wildcat Red, trained by Jose Garoffalo, campaigned on the 2014 Kentucky Derby trail. Unfortunately, he finished 18th in the Derby by 29 lengths. This year seems quiet too, although his recent fourth place finish in the Forego Stakes (GI) is not terrible and sets him up for Saturday at Belmont Park.

The winner Private Zone ran the Forego field into the ground and consistently performs well against elite horses. Not only did Private Zone win the Forego, he finished second in the Gulfstream Park Handicap (GI) to the respected Honor Code after outdueling Gulfstream-lover Valid. Two races later, Private Zone finished third in the Metropolitan Mile (GI) to Honor Code again.

Lesser horses cannot be faulted for losing to Private Zone too much. Wildcat Red tried and made a good move along the rail. At one point in the stretch run, he even reached second before fading late. Sometimes horses make their run and become discouraged when they see the effort not resulting in any momentum. Once Wildcat Red made his move and failed to threaten Private Zone, he gave up.

According to TimeformUS’ Pace Projector, Wildcat Red looks set to hold an uncontested lead. Jose Lezcano, the same rider who encouraged Frosted to tackle American Pharoah early in the Travers (GI), will take the opportunity for a lone lead if one exists. One of the other projected main speed horses, Palace, does not give the impression of a horse likely to challenge Wildcat Red early, especially with Jose Ortiz on board. The other speed type, Weekend Hideaway, looks a touch below the Grade I level.

If Wildcat Red throws in a clunker, Palace certainly can take advantage and upset the field as well. Forgive the off-the-board finish in the Carter (GI) at Aqueduct because of the quick pace (TimeformUS gave a 152 early pace figure). The second start where Palace finished third in an ungraded stakes race seems less forgivable. It is possible Palace runs slightly worse on sloppy tracks though.

As for the Stonestreet Stables-owned Rock Fall, he certainly could blitz the field as a short-priced favorite should. Trained by Todd Pletcher, Rock Fall will offer zero value to gamblers considering his record and well-known connections. Top jockey Javier Castellano rides him. How can anyone make a decent amount of money on this horse? Only use defensively, if at all.

The last entry to recommend and another longshot, Stallwalkin’ Dude, only lost to Wildcat Red by a head two starts back. Three starts ago, he lost to Private Zone by over five lengths, not a terrible margin considering the aforementioned class of Private Zone. Expect a patient ride from Irad Ortiz Jr.

His stablemate Salutos Amigos deserves honorable mention for his status as a multiple graded stakes winner too. All his great races came on sloppy tracks though, and no rain is on tap for Elmont this weekend. Limit Salutos Amigos to the underneath slots if using him.

Bettors love double-digit longshots. Wildcat Red rates as a potential live one with early speed. For a vertical wager, an exacta wheel involving Wildcat Red, Palace and Stallwalkin’ Dude over the same trio and Rock Fall might pay something decent. Horizontally, those four horses look like the ones to use. Anytime a proven stakes runner looks like the only speed in the race, the horse merits attention.

Vosburgh Stakes 2015 Post Positions & Odds
Race 9 5:26 PM ET
1 Palace 8-1 Ortiz/Rice
2 Wildcat Red 15-1 Lezcano/Garoffalo
3 Weekend Hideaway 20-1 Saez/Serpe
4 Brothersofthetime 30-1 Velazquez/Navarro
5 Stallwalkin’ Dude 12-1 Ortiz, Jr./Jacobson
6 Salutos Amigos 5-1 Velasquez/Jacobson
7 Rock Fall 2-5 Castellano/Pletcher