The $200,000 Bold Ruler Handicap (G3) will top a nice card at Belmont Park on Saturday. One of three stakes offered, the seven-furlong dirt dash attracted six and I will go outside for my top pick.
Grade 2 winner DELTA PRINCE (#6) (7-2) gets the best post slot and the classy five-year-old will relish the return to dirt racing. The son of Street Cry exits a pair of Grade 1 tilts on the lawn, finishing a neck second in the Fourstardave Handicap (G1) at Saratoga followed by a decent fourth in the Woodbine Mile (Can-G1).
The dark bay has been equipped with blinkers since returning from his Canadian voyage and, if his last pair of bullet works is any indication, Delta Prince will run huge on Saturday. The Stronach homebred has gate presence and I think the cut back in distance might also be a very good thing. Irad Ortiz Jr. will be in the stirrups.
The race will likely go through the talented COAL FRONT (#4) (7-5) in his first appearance in 13 months. The Todd Pletcher pupil has big early speed, and the once-beaten colt is awfully good when he’s right.
The dark bay son of Stay Thirsty has trained steadily since late July in preparation of his return. The four-year-old is the pace of the race with John Velazquez riding.
NO DOZING (#1) (2-1) wouldn’t be a surprise with his top performance in this spot. The Arnaud Delacour trainee was a solid fourth in the Kelso Handicap (G2) last out in a swiftly run event. The Union Rags gelding is a two-time winner at the distance and will have Joel Rosario in the controls.
$40 Win #6 DELTA PRINCE = $40
$10 Tri Key 6 with 1, 4 = $20
Earlier on the card, juveniles will go one mile on the outer lawn in the Awad Stakes. A THREAD OF BLUE (#5) (5-2) is an improving sort ready to make his presence felt in the stakes ranks. He is my top selection.
Trained by Kiaran McLaughlin, A Thread of Blue was second in his lone turf start to date. The expensive son of Hard Spun was in behind a dawdling early pace but rallied well to be a clear second on that day. The colt was behind subsequent Grade 3 victor and Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) contender Current, making the performance creditable.
Following his turf try, A Thread of Blue broke his maiden in nice fashion on the dirt, and he drilled a bullet half-mile on the Belmont main surface in the interim. Junior Alvarado retains the mount.
$60 Win #5 A THREAD OF BLUE = $60
Sophomores will vie in the $100,000 English Channel Stakes going a mile. Trainer Graham Motion’s ROBIN HOOD (#4) (12-1) intrigues me at a square price and I will take a shot.
The Scat Daddy colt is steadily improving in advance of the English Channel, with room for further growth. The bay exits a daylight allowance win on the all-weather at Presque Isle Downs and I think it is very interesting that Jose Ortiz went to ride him on that occasion.
The Kentucky-bred has been more interested since adding blinkers three prior and he could sit a nice trip while in range throughout. Manny Franco has the assignment.
$20 WPS #4 ROBIN HOOD = $60