Back and better than ever getting ready to kick off our 4th of July weekend! Gotta get that bankroll up somehow, and why not get ahead of the game? We have a solid 9 race card here at Belmont Park today and it’s shaping up to be a beautiful sunny day in Elmont, NY.
Race 1 (1:15pm): Maiden Special Weight, 1 mile on the dirt, 3 yr old fillies & mares and up
Oof, tough one here to start off the day. Not really any horses I love, and the favorites look okay but they are yet to perform. #2 La Kara Mia didn’t run too well in her debut race last month but she will benefit the most from the added distance this time around. Irad Ortiz is on the saddle and Linda Rice horses tend to do especially well their second time around. Hard to knock the favorite here, but hopefully she goes off around 3-1. The other favorite is #1 Sharp Starr, who has put together a couple of good runs in the past but is yet to finish. Like the #2 horse, Sharp Starr should like the extra furlong here. #3 Cross Keys gets Javier for her debut race and she’s had some impressive workouts recently. I’m not usually a fan of first time starters, but I like this filly with Castellano.
Race 2 (1:50pm): $25,000 Claiming, 1 mile on the outer turf, New York bred 3 yr olds and up
I’m usually not a fan of short layoff, however #9 Nutzforboltz makes his second start here off of a long layoff and is dropping down again in class. Loving the late speed on this one as well. The favorite #8 Catch a Cab has some of the most consistent experience on the turf here and even had a 3-peat back in 2018 at this distance. Irad takes the saddle of the #8 instead of the #9, who he previously rode, which is likely the reasoning behind the odds here. I’d imagine if Irad stays on Nutzforboltz, that’d be the 9-5 horse. #2 Control Group is a first time turfer out of Repole Stables and trainer Rudy Rod. He’s ran extremely well in dirt races and has some of the best speed figures of the group, but it’s always a coin toss when a horse takes the grass for the first time. Like the value here at 5-1 though.
Race 3 (2:23pm): Maiden Special Weight, 8½ furlongs on the dirt, New York bred 3 yr olds and up
Big fan of #5 Pacific Jazz here especially at 8-1. In his debut at the beginning of June he broke slow but picked up later on in the race – getting Manny Franco here again. I think if he comes out of the gate a little quicker he’ll be able to be in the pack late to finish on the board. #3 Microsecond is another horse from Repole Stables, this time trained by Pletcher. The most interesting part of this horse? He was bred by Repole and sold for $1k…Repole then went on to repurchase the gelding for $65k. I don’t know if I like him that much at this distance, but I certainly won’t be leaving him and Jose Ortiz off my card. #1 Blackjack Davey (hell of a name) debuted on a muddy track here at Belmont Park a few weeks back. He didn’t run great, but it very well could have been a warm up race for Linda Rice. After all, Linda horses do tend to do better their second time out.
Race 4 (2:55pm): $25,000 Claiming, 6 furlongs on the dirt, 3 yr old fillies & mares and up
#6 Wicked Title returns to the dirt here after a rough run on the grass a couple weeks ago. In her previous races, she’s done much better on the dirt and even went wire-to-wire on the Saratoga dirt last summer. Aside from this, trainer Chad Summers has a very impressive ROI for horses with blinkers on ($6.58 for $2 bettors). Note that I’ll be fading #5 Flashpackinbarbie here – have a bad feeling about this one dropping way down in class after a long layoff and iffy run last time out. That being said, it’s one you’ll want to include in your Pick 5/6’s. #1 Cairo Queen won at this distance on the dirt here at Belmont back in October. Since being under a new trainer she’s finished 2nd twice…looking to finish at a good price here. If you want early speed, #2 Let’s Maga is your go to bet. She went wire-to-wire last time out at this distance and gets a jockey upgrade this time around with Luis Saez.
Race 5 (3:27pm): $10,000 Claiming, 7 furlongs on the dirt, 3 yr old fillies & mares and up
God I hate $10k claimers…but with this one being smack dab in the middle of the card, so we’re going to need to nail it. #7 My Last Million gets blinkers this time and takes another drop in class. She’s been inconsistent recently, but I like this one at 8-1 ML. #5 Cotton Candy Cutie is also a good value call here at 10-1, and has the early speed I like in these short dirt races at Belmont. Speaking of early speed, #8 Malarkey has the best of the group, but at 3-1 ML I don’t like him as much as the others. That being said…he’s trained by Linda Rice and has Jose Ortiz in the irons, so that’s where the reasoning being the odds comes from. The favorite will likely be #6 Stay Fond, who is unlike the previous horses I listed and is more of a stalker that comes from behind with late speed. Tag stays off here too, so I wouldn’t be surprised if she dusts this group, I just don’t like the value.
Race 6 (3:59pm): $80,000 Optional Claiming, 8½ furlongs on the dirt, 3 yr olds
The favorite #7 Creed (6-5 ML) ran a hell of a race last time out a few weeks ago here. The track may have been muddy, but he beat the pack by nearly 8 lengths at this distance, and there was really no competition while putting up an 89 Beyer figure. Jose gets the saddle again and looks to repeat on this $650,000 colt. #2 Life Changer also won his last time out and was able to stay up front nearly the entire race. Joel Rosario is back on the saddle, who has done well when paired with John Terranova horses this year at Belmont. Can’t pass up on #3 Mister Winston either, who is a Chad Brown horse and gets Javier today. He won by half a length in his debut but is shortening up here…While I’d prefer him to go longer, I think Javier gets him to break earlier for the lead this time.
Race 7 (4:32pm): $80,000 Allowance Optional Claiming, 1 mile on the dirt, 4 yr olds and up
#3 Spinoff could end up being the post time favorite especially if Irad is having a good day. He’s been a little inconsistent however he’s been facing some of the most tough competition of the field – racing in last year’s Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes. #5 Win Win Win returns to the dirt this time around after losing last time out on the turf off of nearly a year layoff. The 5 was out of contention of his last race somewhat early, but I think the added distance treats him well. I don’t love this pick, however #9 Complexity can’t be overlooked here, as he’s won 3 out of 6 and won the G1 Champagne, which also happens to be a mile on the dirt here. If I could pick one more, it’d be #2 Sniper Shot.
Race 8 (5:04pm): $100,000 Mount Vernon Stakes, 1 mile on the outer turf, New York bred 4 yr old fillies & mares and up
Ahh, finally a race I feel somewhat comfortable using as a single in my Pick 5. #1 Fifty Five is a 6 year old mare coming off of an 8 month layoff but is looking to return to her winning form in this Stakes race. Castellano gets in the irons again, who is 7 for 11 on this pony, winning his previous two. She’s been great at this distance, has experience on the turf, and has without a doubt the most impressive speed figures of the bunch. Loving #1 in this one. If there’s going to be a horse that beats out the #1, it should be #3 War Canoe – a Chad Brown mare with 8 wins under her belt.
Race 9 (5:36pm): $40,000 Maiden Claiming, 1⅛ miles on the inner turf, New York bred 3 yr old fillies & mares and up
Not loving anyone in this one which always makes it tough. #1 Molly’s Nighthawk easily has the most experience here and should offer up good value come post time – even though she’s yet to win a race yet. #6 Cainudothetwist is a first time starter who has had two solid workouts here recently, but not positive how the switch to turf will treat her. Liking #2 Herwaze at 7-2 also, who gets Joel Rosario off of little layoff since her debut.
PICK 6 CARD:
Total cost: $86.40 for a $.20 ticket. If you have the extra change, throw the 3 in as well in Race 8 as some added insurance. Feel free to play this card any way – I always encourage you to add in horses you like and form Pick 3/4/5’s how you like them.
Best of luck today everyone! Be sure to follow me on Twitter @SpaSaturdays for real time updates of the races today. Thanks for reading!