Belmont Stars and Stripes Festival on tap Saturday

A superb field will headline the $1.25 million Belmont Derby Invitational (G1) on Saturday, one of five big stakes races to be held at Belmont Park. Bobby’s Kitten, who is among the top three-year-old turf runners in the U. S., could be the one to beat in this well-matched field. Trained by Chad Brown, the fleet son of Kitten’s Joy was an easy winner of the Penn Mile over a nice group most recently and will be up close early.

Global View, a game graded winner on Kentucky Derby day for conditioner Tom Proctor, also brings in consistency and a turn of foot. Belmont S. (G1) third Medal Count is full of ability and the son of Dynaformer might ultimately be best on the turf for Dale Romans. Local prep winner Gala Award, Shug McGughey’s talented Mr Speaker and Dance with Fate, winner of the Bluegrass S. (G1) two back, are among the top U. S. entries in the field.

The international contingent is a fine one In here, led by UAE Derby (UAE-G2) star Toast of New York, who will make his U. S. debut. Other Euro imports include French stakes star Gailo Chop, who has won Group 3 races in two straight, Irish 2000 Guineas (Ire-G1) runner-up Shifting Power and possibly God Willing.

In the $1 million Belmont Oaks Invitational (G1) for three-year-old fillies on the turf, with the ultra-talented My Conquestadory, Grade 1 vixen Rosalind, the sensational Room Service and Tom Proctor’s Diversy Harbor joining Euro imports Flying Jib, Hug and a Kiss, Veda, Xcellence and Wonderfully.

A solid and well-matched group will vie in the 1 ¼ miles, $500,000 Suburban H. (G2) also on this fantastic card. Multiple Grade 1 winner Alpha, Met Mile (G1) third Romansh, Grade 2 hero Vyjack, 2013 Preakness S. (G1) third Mylute and Todd Pletcher’s Micromanage, are among the top draws in a field that could be as big as 12.

The $400,000 Belmont Sprint Championship (G3) is shaping up to be a good one, with Churchill Downs S. (G2) winner and Malibu S. (G1) second Central Banker, Tom Fool S. (G2) star Palace, multiple graded winner Clearly Now, Tom Albertrani’s Big Screen and the razor-sharp Salutos Amigos, who has been on quite a roll since landing in the barn of David Jacobson, all likely.

The $200,000 Dwyer S. (G3) for sophomores is often a nice steppingstone to a lot of other options this summer, and the field has a few very interesting contenders. Easy Goer S. winner Kid Cruz has now bagged a trio of black-type races this campaign and proved to have an affinity for this oval most recently for Linda Rice. This late-running sophomore really packs a punch and could go off favored in this spot.

Mexikoma was a strong third in a very deep allowance field at Gulfstream in the winter and looked like a three-year-old with a big future before being sidelined. The son of Birdstone could likely need a run, but we have always been a bit high on him and he gives the look of a Travers type with improvement and fitness. Nick Zito’s Grade 3 winner Spot, Todd Pletcher’s rising Tiz Dark and the capable Captain Serious from the barn of Michael Hushion, will also vie in this contest.