It’s an absolutely gorgeous day at Belmont Park today and we have a beautiful 10 race card to breakdown.
Race 1 (1:15pm): $64,000 Maiden Special Weight, 5 furlongs on the turf, 2 yr olds and up
Without a doubt, this was the toughest race to handicap (seriously though, I skipped and saved this race for last). All first time starters with the exception of the 4 (who has no business beating the rest of the pack). #2 Wink has Javier Castellano on top and its sire’s offspring has produced quality starters in the past. With this race being a quick turf sprint, you gotta hope Javier breaks early for the lead. #8 Alda is the next horse to consider, as Johnny V takes the saddle of this one and is 5-1 morning line odds. And lastly, it would be impossible for me to leave out #7 Girl Dad. May not have the most competitive figures of the group but Manny Franco is on top, and what can I say…I’m a sucker for a good story. RIP Mamba.
Race 2 (1:50pm): $25,000 Claiming, 6 furlongs on the dirt, 3 yrs old and up New York Bred fillies & mares
An interesting race here, as the two favorites both raced against each other at Aqueduct in February. In that race, #8 Bertranda beat the field and was followed by #4 Letmetakethiscall, who was over 3½ lengths behind when Bertranda crossed the finish line. Both horses look like the ones to beat this race but I’ll be riding #8 and fading #4. The next horse I’d look at would be #2 Bustin to Please. She’s got the early speed like the favorites, and has also been able to come from behind and secure a win in the final stretch – Let’s hope we get some value with this one. If you’re looking to fade the favorites, take a stab at #6 Flat Calm. The 6 has struggled to find her ground in 2019, but has posted solid speed figures in the past and could find herself on the board if she can break early.
Race 3 (2:23pm): $25,000 Claiming, 6½ furlongs on the dirt, 3 yr olds and up
#4 Lazarus Project has morning line odds of 6-1, which is great value considering he’s hit the board in 6 of his last 8 at this distance. Although he hasn’t won yet, he’s been racing against better fields, so don’t be surprised if you see him and Kendrick in the winner’s circle. If you like winners, #5 Long May You Run has found himself crossing the line first 17 times in the past and has hit the board 61% of the time. The obvious choice here is #1 Coltandmississippi, who is dropping down and has the best speed of the group. Having Irad on the saddle helps as well, keep this one in your P5’s.
Race 4 (2:55pm): $40,000 Claiming, 1 mile on the outer turf, 3 yr olds
Impossible to overlook the #1 King Of Ranch/#1A Pretendent combination. Both are rocking impressive early speed figures, and even if this goes off at 2-1 I’d take the value. Jose on the 1 and Kendrick on the 1A…you have to expect one of them – if not both – to be on the board in this one. I have a feeling this race will end up being chalk, so expect Christophe Clement’s #4 Arithmetic to come in as well with Manny Franco on the saddle. The 4 is 2/2 in career starts, both on the turf, and could quite possibly complete the hat trick today. If Irad stays on the #8 Rhythm Section and the value holds up, I wouldn’t mind taking him as well. Without taking any horse to win, my play here might be a trifecta and I’ll single either the #1 or the #4 in the 1st place slot…will put the play out on Twitter before the race.
Race 5 (3:27pm): $30,000 Maiden Claiming, 6 furlongs on the dirt, 3 yrs old and up New York Bred fillies & mares
#11 Kefalani had her best start last time out with Eric Cancel on the saddle, coming in 2nd on a sloppy Aqueduct track. Charlton Baker is the trainer for the 11, who has a solid ROI in dirt sprints. Can’t count out Irad and #13 Charlotte Webley either, who is absolutely the pony to beat this race due to her impressive early speed, just can’t die out in the final stretch like in previous races. Call me crazy, but there’s something about #9 Lovely Escort that has me loving over her 20-1 morning line odds. Certainly not the best of the pack, but certainly not the worst…
Race 6 (3:59pm): $62,000 Allowance Optional Claiming, 1⅛ miles on the inner turf, 3 yrs old and up fillies & mares
This is the type of race I absolutely love. Value all across the board and I actually am not a fan of the morning line favorite, #6 The Great Johanna. Instead, I prefer the second favorite #10 Noor Sahara as she makes her way to the States for her debut. Watch out for this Irad and Chad Brown combination. Next up is #5 Beale Street, who has been putting up consistently solid speed figures on the turf in her last few outings. With Javier on top and this fillie’s late speed, I could see this being a come from behind to get on the board. Lastly is #7 Miss Munnings, who has shown consistent figures as well but struggled her last time out when she just couldn’t find her stride. That was a Grade 3 race though, and Johnny V is back on the saddle, and this duo won their last time out at Belmont in 2019.
Race 7 (4:32pm): $53,000 Maiden Special Weight, 6 furlongs on the dirt, 3 yrs old and up fillies & mares
#5 Bankers Daughter should be considered here. Dylan Davis is yet to find the winners circle while on top but has come close a couple times before. Should her early speed hold up, I’m loving the value of this pony at 10-1 in the morning. The favorite, #11 Jewel Of Arabia, finished in third in her debut last summer in a stakes race here at Saratoga. With two unsuccessful trips, the 11 returns and is going for gold this time around, just not positive whether or not I like the value around it. Javier Castellano is on the saddle of #4 Vivazano, who is a first time starter trained by Phil Gleaves, who has a good ROI with first timers for gamblers. At 20-1 morning line odds, this is the value that I drool over. Will be hitting that across the board.
Race 8 (5:04pm): $62,000 Allowance Optional Claiming, 6 furlongs on the outer turf, 3 yr olds and up
#3 Explorationist’s best Beyer figures came on the turf at Gulfstream Park earlier this year, and with his return to the grass this race and Johnny V in charge, would be stupid to leave out at 8-1. Aside from the 3, the only other ponies I truly like happen to be the two favorites. Hard to pass up on #2 Chewing Gum, who has been incredible on the turf, as well as #1 Sayyaf – who seems like he can handle just about any distance and still perform well.
Race 9 (5:36pm): $125,000 Commentator Stakes, 1 mile on the dirt, 3 yr olds and up
What a race we have here! Without a doubt, the #7 Mr. Buff is the best horse of the selection, as he’s won his last 3 races and absolutely destroyed the pack by 20 lengths his last time out recording a career high 106 Beyer figure. It’s going to be tough leaving this one out of any bets, but I won’t be sending the 7 to win. #1 Bankit is the horse I’ll be rooting to win. Irad Ortiz hops on his saddle for the first time, which could be a nice change up. The Irad and trainer Steve Asmussen dynamic duo has historically rewarded bettors too. To add some value to this card, I’ll be taking #5 Blewitt as well, who won last time out in Florida going gate-to-wire and has impressive early speed. At 15-1 in the morning, I’m really liking this one across the board.
Race 10 (6:08pm): $64,000 Maiden Special Weight, 1¼ miles on the inner turf, 3 yr olds and up
The first horse that caught my eye was #10 Seize The Hay, a Pletcher trained beauty that raced well in its debut at Gulfstream in March, coming in second but putting up an impressive come from behind performance. He’s back on the turf today under similar conditions, and I think Johnny V might have this one. Next I have #8 Astronaut, who also ran a hell of a race on the turf at Gulfstream in April but came up just short of the win. This horse can handle the distance and has the speed to lead the pack, so long as he gets up early. Lastly, we have the #6 Bail Out. Little bit of an ironic name considering it’s the last race of the day and this one’s odds are 15-1 at the moment. That being said, this horse has more experience on the turf than any of the others, and has even put up solid numbers in those races. I’ll take the end of day Bail Out here.
TODAY’S PICK 6 CARD:
Going with the Pick 6 here that begins in the 5th race…Some of these late races have great value and I couldn’t stay away from the Stakes race. A $.20 ticket here is going to cost you $43.20, not too cheap but not too expensive…Honestly, I’m just hoping to stay alive for more than 1 race this time for entertainment purposes.
Thanks for reading, and be sure to follow @SpaSaturdays on Twitter for live updates. Let’s have a Friday ladies and gents!