The Belmont Stakes program features 13 races, including 10 stakes, and I’ll be picking my spots and playing multi-race wagers.
Here are some quick thoughts on the program:
Acorn (3rd race): Carina Mia is listed as the 4-1 morning line third choice, but her odds will be lower come post time. I’ll single the up-and-coming 3yo filly in horizontal exotics.
Ogden Phipps (5th race): Good spread race, with six of the seven runners bringing legitimate credentials into the $1 million event, and Carrumba is inside speed. After registering back-to-back 103 BRIS Speed ratings, she was forced to stalk behind a speedball pacesetter before finishing second in the Ruffian (G2) last out. The 4yo filly will be the one to catch at a decent price here.
Jaipur (6th race): Tough to have a strong opinion in 14-horse turf sprint and it’s interesting to note that only three runners have won at the 6-furlong trip on turf. Summation Time is one of those, posting a 1-1-1 mark from three attempts at the distance, and the 5yo exits a solid fourth in the 5-furlong Turf Sprint (G3). He’s 15-1 on the morning line and can outrun his odds in this spot.
Woody Stephens (7th race): With several blazing types signed on, the 7-furlong sprint will set up for an off-the-pace type. Star Hill caught the eye when breaking his maiden at the distance, scoring by a 7 3/4-length margin at Gulfstream in mid-February, and followed with a decent third in the Tampa Bay Derby (G2). He didn’t run poorly when fifth in the Blue Grass (G1) and rallied well for third in the one-mile Pat Day Mile (G3) last out. The Elusive Quality colt gets the right set-up and Star Hill is an early 20-1.
Just a Game (8th race): Recepta was severely compromised when clipping heels in the early stages of the Beaugay (G3) last time but rallied well for third. She appears capable of taking a significant step forward.
Manhattan (10th race): Flintshire is a deserving favorite, but the 6yo prefers more ground and likes to finish second (10 runner-up finishes from 19 starts). Ironicus recorded an impressive comeback performance in the May 7 Fort Marcy at Belmont and appears set for a huge campaign at age 5; I’ll give the late-blooming Shug McGaughey trainee top billing.
Belmont (11th race): Creator is my upset pick and I’ll include Exaggerator, Governor Malibu, Stradivari and Suddenbreakingnews in multi-race wagers.
Good luck on the blockbuster program!