RACE 8 Grade 1 Just A Game: 1,3,5,7
On Leave is 5-4-0-1 here at Belmont and 8-4-2-2 at the distance, only 2 out of the money finishes in her career. Jockey status in jeopardy with Manny Franco questionable but whoever rides has a serious contender here that should be stalking early leader.
3-Off Limits is my top selection here. She has a 5-3-1-0 record here and 7-4-1-0 at the distance. Won the G1 Matriarch to close out here 2017. So-so this year but discount Chad Brown on the turf on a big day at your own risk.
5-Proctor’s Ledge has never ran at Belmont before but has a very nice turn of foot as evidenced by her win on Derby day. Probably needs to be placed similar to that early on rather than further off the pace.
7-A Raving Beauty won U.S. debut easily but not versus the likes of these and is a suspicious favorite. Still revert back to Rule #1 of NY Turf Racing; discount Chad Brown on turf at your own risk
RACE 9 Grade 1 Metropolitan Handicap(Met Mile)
1-Mind Your Biscuits is a horse at first I thought of as a vulnerable favorite, and at 5/2 going a distance he’s never won at just a little over 2 months from racing in Dubai he seems to be very beatable. However was able to overcome that last year when he was victorious in the Belmont Sprint, and has a great record here. Not crazy about his rail draw but he’s on the ticket, mainly because this is a weak edition of this top race IMO
5-Good Samaritan has never been 1 turn on the dirt before, and I really think he could pull another Jim Dandy performance today. Rosario took MYB over him, but GS gets Jose Ortiz so I don’t think there’s any drop off in talent. Will be interesting to see how Jose rides, my guess is closer to the pace than previously. A must use for me at 10-1.
6-One Liner(pause) don’t laugh, no seriously, shut up. Lightly raced Colt who made a name for himself in 2017 by winning the Southwest Stakes makes 3rd start of form cycle for someone named Todd Pletcher, ever heard of him? Seriously, another whom I believe is probably better at this 1 turn mile than routing. Irad Ortiz should set a nice stalking trip for him, and this 4 year old by Into Mischief will be right there at the end at a nice price. Don’t say I never did anything for you!
10-Bee Jersey looks like the early leader on paper. Has won 3 in a row, 4 of 5 and is coming in off 3 straight improving BRIS speed figure tops. Now the difference between his last 3 wins at 1 mile and today are that those were 2 turns, this is 1. Still, a horse that has a chance to be loose on the lead on a day where tracks usually gear their tracks with speed holding is a double must use.
RACE 10 Grade 1 Manhattan
This is the race I am probably most confident in.
1-Robert Bruce is a perfect 7 for 7 including U.S. debut last out for Chad Brown in G3 Fort Marcy. Granted has not faced the competition that today provides but how can you failt, and more importantly not use a horse perfect in their career so far?
3-Hi Happy has won 2 in a row and now cuts back in distance a bit which is an angle I like in turf routes. Has done very little wrong in her 10 turf starts. Will probably be sitting right behind One Go All Go early on before pouncing on that rival.
4-Alexios Komnenos would really spice this Pick 4 up at 20/1 ML, granted his last two races not much to have confidence in but making U.S. debut FTL is worth a shot at that kind of price. Is a Group 3 winner from last year and the onltprevonly runner Trainer James Stack brought over here and ran on lasix, won.
10-Beach Patrol is obviously a must use, and at the same time a horse everyone wants to beat because will probably be less than 2/1. Ran okay in return on the real soft turf at Churchill on Derby day, looking for a much sharper effort today. Will be stalking early on but it would not surprise me to see Joel go for the lead about halfway through the race.
RACE 11: Grade 1 Belmont Stakes
1-Justify is a horse I almost left out because ever since the Preakness ended I’ve had my doubts on him winning here, and still obviously do. However there’s no denying his talent and he has already defeated all of the serious contenders in here. He doesn’t have to run faster than history today, just faster than the other 9 in here. Let’s just hope the rain holds off. The question is breaking from the rail does this almost guarantee he goes to the early lead? This whole Restoring Hope as a rabbit makes no sense to me. Justify has not shown that he will rate a couple lengths off the pace in any race, so why add another speed prescence to the mix??
4-Hofburg I better use, or fellow 5MTP cohort Brian Leckie will put me on blast on Twitter and DM for not using! Seriously, has seemingly improved every race, and had a very rough trip Derby Day on a track that wasn’t playing kind to his running style. If he wins would be the 4th horse by Tapit in last 5 years to win this race.
7-Tenfold was my pick in Preakness, and dang near did it. Lost by less than a length and was coming hard at the end. Is by Curlin who narrowly missed winning this race in 2007 out of a Tapit mare, whom we’ve already established does well here. Asmussen won this race 2 years ago with Creator.
8-Vino Rosso didn’t like the swamp on Derby day I’m thinking, and could have also regressed off the big effort in Wood. Pletcher has done very well in the Belmont the last 12 runnings, and VR winning would be no surprise to me.
$128 ticket for a $.50 play. Granted that’s a bit pricey, would suggest playing a ticket like this to split with another person or two, which is what I’ll be doing. If you are looking for a more economical ticket, singling in a race, while risky, does give you more options in the other races, and you only have to be ‘right’ one race. Whatever you play, good luck today!