After more than a month of handicapping Kentucky tracks (Keeneland & Churchill) we’re moving our tack out to New York for some racing at Belmont Park. Some of the fields on today’s card are a little harder to read than others but, as usual, I posted analysis for the races I’m most confident in.
As always, I went looking for long shots on today’s card and I tend to handicap with value in mind. So, if you like a favorite that I haven’t listed, you might want to keep the horse in combinations with my selections.
Race 3: #10 Romancing the Gold (4-1)
Race 7: #6 Risk Factor (7-2)
Individual Race Selections
Race 1: 8-3-1-5
Really like #8 Jemaru. Didn’t miss by much first time on the stretch out when he was in for a smaller tag. Now, he gets bumped up by the connections and should fit for $15k. Also has back-form on a wet track (he is out of Rainmaker, after all) and is capable of wiring this field. If we get him somewhere around the 6-1 ML, worth taking a shot with a healthy WPS play.
Race 2: 6-2-5-3
#2 Hay Shares gets the class test today after starting the career flawlessly, coming in off a $14k o/c win. He has the fortune of drawing the rail, which will benefit this speedster but he’ll have to sustain it going a mile for the first time today. I like the chances of #6 Bigger Is Bettor catching him late. This one just missed last out after enduring some trip trouble. Might look like he’s a notch below but most of the recent losses came over the Aqueduct inner. Go back to October and you’ll find that he ran one of his better races over a wet track going the same exact distance here at Belmont (83 BSF in that one – avg last out BSF for others in here is in the mid-70s).
Race 3: 10-6-4-13-2
MTO #10 Romancing the Gold draws into this field and should love the off-going. Blew away an allowance level field four back over a track listed as “good.” He’s 0 for 1 at Belmont but the lone miss was in a $100k stakes race last year. Top jock, Irad Ortiz, stays aboard first off the claim for Linda Rice, who hits at a solid 22% debuting her fresh claims.
Race 4: 7-2-4-6
Race 5: 7-1-4-6
Race 6: 9-1-5-8
Race 7: 6-4-1-8
On paper, #4 Much Stronger is the best of the speed in this speed-filled race. But I think he’s going to get a healthy amount of pressure from at least two horses to his outside. So, I’m going to look for better value with #6 Risk Factor (7-2 ML) and hope that he can rate just off the pace. This guy has continued to get better with each of his first three starts. Prado remounts after being aboard for the maiden-breaker two-back at Gulfstream. Horse can be forgiven for the 3rd place finish last out in stakes company, beaten after bumping -losing just a head to legitimate foe, City of Weston.
Race 8: 10-5-9-4
#10 Sam Sparkle has run two of his best races on an off-track at Belmont. Should have the tactical speed to sit a comfy trip and win going away. Give #5 Hackleton a long look. He’s 15-1 on the morning line and showed signs of recent improvement over the Aqueduct inner. Has flashed early speed and could the jump on this field.
Race 9: 13-7-10-4-2
The minors seem up for grabs but pretty confident #13 Ultimate Empire takes this one going away. His last out BSF is higher than anything any of the others here have put up and was beaten just a length by similar in that one. Gets the jock upgrade to Castellano and should be tough to beat if he takes to the damp track – and he should, considered one of his best career efforts was over this wet course routing last October.