We’re back for another great day of racing at Belmont Park! Just 9 races featured in today’s card again, highlighted by the Hessonite Stakes in the 8th. Check out my preview of today’s card as well as the tickets I’ll be playing. Let’s start this weekend off well, ladies and gents!
Race 1 (1:15pm): $40,000 Claiming, 6½ furlongs on the dirt, 3 yr olds and up
The standout here in the first is recent winner #4 Star of the West, who put up a great performance in these same conditions at Belmont Park at the beginning of the month. He gets a jockey upgrade here as well with Irad Ortiz, and is looking to improve once again. Yesterday at Belmont, early speed played extremely well on the dirt, so if the 4 breaks early and gets on the rail, he should easily beat the pack. While I’ll likely single the #4 here, the other horse that I think offers value is #1 Big Boy Mo at 8-1. He’s put up some pretty consistent figures and broke his maiden last time out here a few weeks ago. I like him getting the inside post here, and this jockey/trainer combination has brought in some solid money for bettors here at Belmont as of recently. If you’re looking to bet a tri, don’t leave #2 Dangerous Edge off there either.
Race 2 (1:50pm): $20,000 Maiden Claiming, 6 furlongs on the dirt, 3 yr olds and up
This was probably one of the more difficult races to handicap, seeing as there weren’t any horses that I absolutely loved but also didn’t find too much reasoning to back value here. The morning line favorite is #3 Cobble Hill, who is yet to snag a win but had a great run out here at Belmont finishing 2nd. Irad is back in the irons, and if he plays this race smart and lets the pace drop towards the latter half of the race, the 3 will certainly have enough in him to blow by the leaders. That being said…like yesterday, I expect speed to play big again today, meaning I do not like the value of Cobble Hill especially should he drop below even money. Instead, I prefer #6 Lost In Rome, who is sitting at 5-1 morning line odds and has recorded consistent speed figures in his runs. I hesitate to take him, however, because he came in two behind Cobble Hill a few weeks ago. Lastly, #2 Carters Got Sass gets Manny Franco on top this time around who should break early for the lead. This gelding has been unable to hold the lead in his previous times out, but I like him trying this 6F distance out again.
Race 3 (2:23pm): Allowance, 8½ furlongs on the outer turf, 3 yr olds and up
Chad Brown’s #1 Good Governance is the absolute favorite here and for good reason. On paper, this is actually a solid field of horses, but I just don’t see any of them beating the 1 here. It’s been a bit since he’s raced, which was last August when he was beat by a nose in the G3 Saranac in Saratoga, but he’s out for revenge and Irad Ortiz will be setting himself up for one hell of a day at Belmont Park. The next horse I’d look at if you’re looking to fade the favorite is definitely #2 Gauguin, who is a Mott trained horse that’s run consistently well on the turf. At 9-2, he offers value but needs to learn how to be a finisher if he wants my full respect.
Race 4 (2:55pm): $25,000 Claiming, 6 furlongs on the inner turf, fillies & mares 3 yrs old and up
Taking #11 Teletype here, who offers some of the best speed of the group. I see Dylan Davis breaking for the lead out of the gate and testing the limits of this one. He had a good run last time in his return to the grass, but fell short in the final furlong. Good thing this race is shortened by a furlong! If the favorite #3 First Appeal doesn’t burst ahead in the final stretch, I think the 11 gets the w here. Nonetheless, the 3 deserves all the respect he’s getting. He just raced last friday, and usually I am not a fan of short layoffs like this but in a shortened race and dropping down in class, Brad Cox likely has a good feeling about First Appeal.
Race 5 (3:27pm): $10,000 Claiming, 7 furlongs on the dirt, 3 yr olds and up
Off the bat I like #7 Tale Of Mist who is dropping in class after a couple of difficult runs against tougher competition. The drop should treat him well as should the added distance, since he was able to win at this length back in December. However, this trainer (Randi Persaud) is yet to finish a race in the money at this meet (0-13)…Hard to trust…but I like him here. Next is #1 Blue Belt, who has both experience and consistency. Although he hasn’t won a race since August 2018, he’s finished in the money multiple times at this level before and should be considered at anything around 3-1. I said before I figured it’d be a big day for Irad Ortiz and I think this race could be one where he continues to prove that. He rides #5 Javelin, a duo that just beat the #1 horse last time out at the beginning of the month. I’m not overly convinced with this one, and not loving him at 6-5 odds, but can’t count him out.
Race 6 (3:59pm): Maiden Special Weight, 1 mile on the outer turf, New York bred 3 yr olds and up
#5 Justintimeforwine is the one I’m going with here. He’s shown some good speed figures on the turf at this distance before and gets Mike Luzzi again, who has all but closed with him. Liking the early speed and thinking he could break his maiden here. #9 Lord Cadbury is a first time starter in this one but gets Joel Rosario on top which should be considered. It’s a shot in the dark but at 12-1 I like him. Did you really think I’d lead Irad off this one? Nope! #10 Aintitfunkynow is 7-2 here and is trained by Michael Maker, who has been putting good horses on the turf recently. Liking this one to come out of the gate hot and set the pace.
Race 7 (4:32pm): $40,000 Allowance Optional Claiming, 8½ furlongs on the inner turf, New York bred 3 yr olds and up
The favorite here is #5 Doups Point, who is a Clement trained horse with Rosario on the saddle. As of now, this horse is 7-2, and if those odds hold until post time, I will be hammering him. Back on the turf this time which is a little sketchy, but I love the late speed this one has to offer at this distance. Luis Saez returns to the irons of #9 Rinaldi, which is a bonus considering the duo is 2 for 3 in their times out. The 9’s last race didn’t go as well, however that was in the G3 Saranac in Saratoga, where he finished 4th just a length and a half behind the leader. This one should break for the lead early, and if he does then Saez will have his eyes on wiring the field. I like the chalk here, I’m sorry! But, if we’re looking for value here I’d look at #1 The J Y, who gets the inside draw – a decent advantage for horses with speed at Belmont. Liking him at 6-1 and hope he can drop even further in odds.
Race 8 (5:04pm): The Hessonite Stakes, 6 furlongs on the outer turf, New York bred fillies & mares 4 yrs old and up
Yesterday’s stakes race didn’t nearly live up to the hype, as there were literally only two horses in it, so let’s hope today it’s a bit different. Like I said yesterday, if a horse’s name is related to Saratoga in some way, I tend to be biased towards it. Now when it’s name has Saratoga in it and it’s one of the favorites…well, I kinda have to take it. With that, #7 Saratoga Treasure is dropping here after facing tougher competition in the Intercontinental and looks to return to form. I’m also liking #5 Mentality, who is coming off of a 2nd place finish back in May at Churchill. She’s clearly used to the Belmont turf as well, since she’s won on it in 4 out of her 6 appearances. Add to this the fact that she’s had some impressive workouts recently too, this is a must take at 7-2.
Race 8 Bets:
$15 EXB: 5/7 ($30 bet)
$2 TRIB: 5/6/7 ($12 bet)
Race 9 (5:36pm): $25,000 Maiden Claiming, 6½ furlongs on the dirt, New York bred fillies & mares 3 yrs old and up
Ending the day at Belmont Park with a wide open race here…which will be scary should we be alive still in the pick 6, but I think we’ve got this one. #2 Vitanza is offering some of the best value of the field at 10-1, and she has recent experience at this distance. She tired her last time out and fell back, but I like the jockey change to Gutierrez, who raced her well their last time out. Liking the Asmussen trained #3 Hayezhee as well, who is sitting at 6-1 morning line odds, great value for this filly. She’s dropping slightly after two losses at the $40,000Md level, and Junior is looking to continue to improve with this one. Can’t count out Luis Saez and #9 Mopolka here either. The 9 is the morning line favorite for the right reasons, and gets Saez on the saddle today, a nice upgrade from her previous attempts. She has blinkers this time around, and will absolutely be a threat in this one. Should she break early and should speed be playing, I wouldn’t be too surprised with a wire to wire performance.
EARLY PICK 5 CARD:
4 (no replacement for the scratched #4)
R4: 3/11/4 (added the #4)
Total cost: $36 for a $.50 ticket.
PICK 6 CARD:
R8: 5/7 (Really want to single #7 here…but can’t get myself to do it)
Total cost: $64.80 for a $.20 ticket.
As always with my Pick 5 and 6’s, I recommend mixing and matching some of the horses you prefer in them. I try and keep costs down so that if you like larger tickets, you can feel free to add to yours.
Thanks for checking out my preview of today’s card! To follow along throughout the day and see what I’ll be betting in real time, be sure to follow @SpaSaturdays on Twitter.