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Belmont Day Pick 4 strategies with different takes on Justify

By John Mucciolo

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.

FREE Belmont Stakes PPS courtesy of Brisnet.com

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

Race 8

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.

Race 9

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.


Race 10

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.

Race 11

#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

Race 8

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.

Race 9

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.

Race 10

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.

Race 11

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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