The $700,000 Man o’ War Stakes (G1) will be run as Race 10 at Belmont Park on Saturday afternoon. Contested at 1 3/8 miles on the inner turf course, it attracted a field of nine, with three four-year-olds, five five-year-olds and one six-year-old. The race figures to have a glacial pace and there is a strong chance that the inner turf course will be anything but firm. Despite the distance, it is run around only two turns and there is a good run into the first turn. HUNTING HORN (#1) (10-1) shipped here last year and was a good third in the Belmont Derby (G1) going 10 furlongs. He has traveled all over the world and should benefit if the turf comes up really soft. ZULU ALPHA (#2) (4-1) has run three triple-digit BRIS Speed ratings in his last four starts and has prospered since being claimed for $80,000 by Mike Maker last September. He won the Mac Diarmida Stakes (G2) at this distance two starts back at Gulfstream Park and draws inside with Javier Castellano – 24 percent with his turf rides this year. VILLAGE KING (#3) (15-1) was a Group 1 winner in Argentina, then raced evenly in four starts last year. At Gulfstream Park this year, he held well after being allowed to set dawdling fractions which he might be able to do again. Johnny Velazquez rides back – 28 percent riding for Todd Pletcher. ARKLOW (#4) (8-1) won going 1 1/2 miles in the Kentucky Turf Cup (G3) at Kentucky Downs last year. He didn’t run bad on a strange course in the Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1), then lost his rider in an allowance race at Keeneland last out. Brad Cox wins 27 percent second start off the layoff and 40 percent when he rides Florent Geroux. MAGIC WAND (#5) (3-1) was a Group 1 winner last year going 1 1/2 miles and races against the best females in Europe. In the Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational (G1), she rallied for second against males then did little in Dubai. Wayne Lordan rides lots of big winners for Aidan O’Brien, including the 1,000 Guineas (G1) aboard Hermosa. FOCUS GROUP (#6) (5-2) is a one-dimensional closer constantly improving as he matures. He was a good third two starts back at Woodbine in the Canadian International (G1) then won the Pan American Stakes (G2) at Gulfstream Park on firm turf. Chad Brown wins 28 percent first start after a win and 41 percent when he rides Irad Ortiz Jr. EPICAL (#7) (10-1) had a nice three-year-old season last year and came out this year with a good second going 10 furlongs in the San Marcos Stakes (G2) on good turf at Santa Anita. He came back and went gate to wire earning a monstrous BRIS Speed racing of 112 winning the San Luis Rey Stakes (G2) despite a slow early pace. As long as the turf doesn’t turn into a bog, he should gallop up near the pace. CHANNEL MAKER (#8) (6-1) had a good year last year, including taking the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic (G1) over soft ground. He has the ability to go to the front and Bill Mott’s stable is running on all cylinders. KULIN ROCK (#9) (20-1) was claimed by Mike Maker for $40,000 in October here and, after two starter allowance losses, he came back and missed by a length going this distance in the Mac Diarmida Stakes (G2). He won an allowance race as the 2-5 favorite to prep for this and picks up Kendrick Carmouche. ANALYSIS Epical is improving and comes off a monster effort. He has improved as the distances got longer and his natural speed has been a big factor. Focus Group can rally for a piece and Magic Wand will have no trouble with the distance and showed two back she can run well with male competition. WAGER Win #7 Exacta Box #7 with #2, #5, #6 PHOTO: Epical and jockey Tyler Baze win the San Luis Stakes (G2) on March 29, 2019, at Santa Anita Park © BENOIT PHOTO