Belmont Day has become the finest collection of races on the calendar in my opinion. It will play host to 10 stakes races, including a staggering six Grade-1 tilts led by the $1.5 million Belmont Stakes.
Justify will lead a talented field postward on June 9 in his bid to go down in racing lore as its next Triple Crown winner. Unbeaten dynamo is reportedly doing great and will be a tough beat with his best.
Since backing Justify to win will not produce a whopping payoff, we have to get creative in our wagers. I like the Pick 4 in this case. And if you love Justify, it will allow you to spread in the races leading up to the Belmont.
Over the past five years, each Pick-4 wager ending in the Belmont Stakes was in the tax threshold for a $1 base play. The topper was last year when it came back a handsome $6,021. Even in 2015, the sequence ending with our most recent Triple Crown winner, American Pharoah, it came back more than $2,300 (for $1).
I will take a look at a couple of scenarios involving the probable odds-on favorite and the Pick 4. The first involves singling Justify:
Justify Single Pick 4 Analysis
The Just a Game (G1) came up especially tough in 2018 with very little separation in the one-mile turf affair from the morning-line choice to the longest shot on the board. Even #2 DREAM DANCING at 20-1 has to be considered since she’s a Grade-1 queen who earned a lifetime-best BRIS Speed figure last time out.
I will click the “all” button to get it started.
Metropolitan H. (G1) attracted a well-matched field of 11 and I will spread here as well. #10 BEE JERSEY is in superb form and looks like the controlling speed of the cast. Steve Asmussen pupil will receive a serious class test in the one-turn mile but is a must use as the pacesetter on a roll currently.
#11 AWESOME SLEW is my second choice and I am rooting for the five-year-old to earn a Grade-1 trophy. Mark Casse pupil has been consistently very good for some time and is sure to improve off of his fourth-place showing in the 2017 edition of the Met Mile.
#1 MIND YOUR BISCUITS, #2 BOLT D’ORO, #3 LIMOUSINE LIBERAL, #4 MCCRACKEN and #5 GOOD SAMARITAN will also be on the ticket.
A baker’s dozen will go postward Manhattan (G1) at 1 ¼ miles on the inner turf and I’ll use three of them. #10 BEACH PATROL is a high-class turf performer and the one to beat for Chad Brown. Five-year-old son of Lemon Drop Kid had a great prep for this when a stubborn second in the Turf Classic (G1) on Derby Day. And he shows a bullet drill in the interim.
#1 ROBERT BRUCE, also from the Brown shedrow, took the Fort Marcy (G3) here in his U.S. debut and moved his career mark to a sublime seven-for-seven. Chilean champion has won races from six furlongs to 1 ½ miles, and he is a must use from the rail.
#8 SADLER’S JOY was a closing third in this race in 2017 for Tom Albertrani. Chestnut by Kitten’s Joy wants longer but is classy and the pilot change to Javier Castellano is intriguing. Five-year-old could get a solid pace to rally into at a fair price.
#1 JUSTIFY from the rail closes out the ticket.
Justify Single 50-cent Pick 4: All with 1,2,3,4,5,10,11 with 1,8,10 with 1 = $84
The next scenario takes a contrarian position regarding Justify and focuses upon a pair of rivals in the Belmont Stakes.
Justify Vulnerable Pick 4 Analysis
The Just a Game is a difficult handicapping assignment. #3 OFF LIMITS is my top pick but I will use all eight runners for the purposes of the Pick 4.
Will spread five-deep in a contentious edition of the Met Mile with #1 MIND YOUR BISCUITS, #2 BOLT D’ORO, #5 GOOD SAMARITAN, #10 BEE JERSEY and #11 AWESOME SLEW.
Brown has the two most logical horses in the field with #1 ROBERT BRUCE and #10 BEACH PATROL. I will put my faith in a barn that has dominated the turf racing scene.
Justify will be used on my tickets but I can’t knock anyone who is trying to beat the unbeaten 3-year-old.
Under this scenario, #8 VINO ROSSO and #4 HOFBURG are the plays. I highlighted the duo as long shot contenders in a previous post and give both 3-year-olds a definite chance.
Justify Vulnerable 50-cent Pick 4: All with 1,2,5,10,11 with 10 with 4,8 = $80
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