Happy Independence Day!
I’ve put together FREE PICKS today for the entire card at Belmont Park.
As usual, I handicapped with value in mind and often list longer shots ahead of favorites. If there’s chalk that you like, feel free to use the horse in combinations with my top selections.
Good luck and have great 4th of July!
BEST BET of the Day
Race 6: #3 Thepowersthatbe (6-1 ML)
LADDER PLAY of the Day
Race 3: #3 I Grieve for U (12-1 ML)
LONG SHOT of the Day
Race 7: #1 Liz Lemon (10-1 ML)
Individual Race Selections
Race 1: 7-1-4-2
#7 Escapefromreality gets some class relief, to say the least, dropping down to this allowance $14k o/c level off of consecutive G3’s. While he flopped in the Gotham going a mile a sixteenth, he cuts back to 7f here. He broke his maiden sprinting and next out lost by just a neck to Go Get The Basil. Major jock upgrade with Castellano taking the mount, should sit a nice stalking trip and pass them in the stretch.
Race 2: 7-2-4
As much info as you can gauge from works, pedigree and trainer stats, these untested 2-year-old’s are always unpredictable. Ultimately, went with #7 Patent, who boasts some of the best 4f works in here. Son of AP Indy goes out for McLaughlin, who hits a shade under 10% with firsters. Of course, if you want a higher first-out hit rate, take a look at #2 We Miss Artie – $90k Ramsey horse/Pletcher-Velasquez will likely be bet down to favortism here.
Race 3: 5-3-4-7
Several in here are repeat losers at this level and will need an absolutely perfect pace set up to even hit the board. I’m going with #5 Street Lord on the basis of his stout recent (back to back bullets, including a 47 and 2 last week). Also note that he had some trip trouble, more so on debut, which make the losses forgivable. And, in reality, wasn’t shamed in his first try routing last out, finishing only behind the runaway winner in that one. I also like that he showed the ability to stick close to the pace setters because he might have to flash speed to pull this one off. Don’t see any runaway speed on paper. BUT, I would also give #3 I Grieve for U (12-1 ML) a close look. He’ll be written off for what looks, on paper, like an awful race on debut last out. However, he broke poorly in that race and never really got involved. He got two months on the bench and the connections bring him back here at the same level. He may be in over his head but seeing as there aren’t any real standouts in this field, I think a ladder would be prudent and potentially very profitable.
Race 4: 3-5-8-2
I loved #5 Discreet Marq in the Sands Point last out but this race sets up in an entirely different one. She was able to walk on the lead in that race but I expect her to see a lot more pace pressure today, specifically from the horse to her outside #7 Roses for Romney and from #2 Kelli Got Frosty to her inside. While I’m fairly certain those challengers will fade, Discreet Marq could stick around for the minors but I just don’t see her winning. I think the race sets up a lot better for #3 Unbelievable Dream. If you throw out the last race (where she sat off the slow pace set by Discreet Marq), she really showed what she could do from off the pace (when it’s hot, at least) taking a G3 at Keeneland two-back. There could be a lot of value in the exotics, especially if the race sets up for closers like #8 Adriatic Dream (12-1 ML).
Race 5: 4-1-9-5
Another group of “anyone’s guess” 2-year-old’s. Originally went with #6 Ainteasybeinggreen on top but that one scratched out. So, I don’t really have a great feel for this race. You can either keep an eye on the boar or identify a few singles in the early half of the pick-4 and then hit the ALL button here.
Race 6: 3-1-5-7
Again, I see a ton of pace in here and I’m sure that some of the likely faves (who happen to be the speedsters) will be able to maintain. So, I went with a bit of a price in #3 Thepowersthatbe (6-1 ML). Filly has shown various running styles in her short career but new jock, Saez, is sharp enough to realize that her best bet today would be to sit in right behind the pace. Going a mile in her last race on the dirt, she had nothing left late. I think the 6f distance is more within her range and to her liking. You’ve got to love Servis’ 27% second off the layoff and 25% turf-to-dirt! A lot of positive signs, which makes this one our BEST BET of the day.
Race 7: 1-4-3-8
Going for a price in here with #1 Liz Lemon (10-1 ML). She tries the turf for the first time in her fifth career start and you can expect improvement. While her first try against winners last out looked a little weak, it was over an off track and it was, after all, only her first try following the maiden breaker. She drops in from that $50k allowance level to this $35k o/c. She stands every chance to improve and the only downer is that the barn stats transitioning to the lawn aren’t great – in fact, they stink. If she and #4 Normandy don’t battle each other into submission, they should both be there with #3 Mah Jong Madness putting in a big run late.
Race 8: 2-8-6-3
If you throw out the Calder race last out for #2 Team, you find a nice series of turf races which indicate this horse will get to run under ideal conditions today. She’s 4 for 4 ITM at the distance, including two wins in her last two tries. Trainer scores high with fresh horses and this girl always seems to fire off the layoff. The truth is she might be in slightly over her head, seeing as she’s failed all of her recent graded stakes tests. That said, Rosario remounts after being aboard for her best race two-back (85 BSF). A repeat of the effort puts her in the thick of this one, especially if she happens to catch a fast pace.
Race 9: 6-1-4-5
While #4 Data Link is the best horse on paper, he is 0 for 2 at Belmont and we’re not going to make any money betting him. If you play the race, might want to take a shot on #1 King Kressa. He’s in the best form of his career and, unlike Data Link, has 3 wins and 3 other placings from 6 starts at Belmont. He also always hits the board and is especially dangerous when he shakes loose. The problem is #2 Big Screen will likely press him and a few others won’t sit far back enough to let him catch his breath. Still think he’s the most viable play if you’re going to try to beat Data Link. I also give an outsider’s shot to #1 Upgrade (10-1 ML), who gets a jock upgrade in Johnny V. His recent form over the turf seems to be improving and the mile distance should be ideal, if indeed the pace is hot.
Race 10: 5-2-1-3-8
Finale’s at Belmont have become something of a calling card for me the last few weeks. I’ve hit a lot of these races, which often feature repeatedly beaten maidens and low level claimers. The horse that stands out to me today is #5 Radiohead. Horse gets some much needed class relief, dropping in for a $20k tag after struggling at $30k+. He also gets to stretch out over the turf, which he’s sneakily compiled a nice little record over (2-2-2 in 10 career tries). I don’t see any speed in here and I think Cohen might try, and succeed in, stealing this one. I also have a feeling about #2 Gamblin Fever (12-1 ML). Horse jumps up to this level after failing against cheaper last out. But barn obviously has enough confidence to spot this old gelding against tougher and Prado stays aboard. This one isn’t impossible and he’d come at a huge price. Would box our top selections and maybe even drop a small ladder on Gamblin Fever.