A field of eight will go postward in a very competitive edition of the $250,000 Jaipur (G1) at Belmont Park on Saturday.
The pace of the Jaipur will go through #4 Pure Sensation and #6 Hidden Scroll, and I think that the tempo could be swift with the pair dueling from the start. I give an edge to the runners coming from off the pace.
#1 KANTHAKA — Top-three contender makes his first run since moving to the barn of Graham Motion. Jimmy Creed gelding was a nice third in the 2019 Daytona (G3) in his only turf run to date, which was also the last time he raced in the afternoon. Chestnut goes out for an expert layoff trainer, so a positive result would not be surprising with Jose Ortiz up.
#2 OLEKSANDRA — Classy Animal Kingdom mare always fires and has won or placed in five straight, all in the stakes ranks. The 6-year-old faces the boys today, but she has competed well against them in the past, and she also dons a 2-for-2 mark on the Belmont lawn. Drysdale trainee had a fine 2020 debut and could move forward second off the bench.
#3 TEXAS WEDGE — Miller pupil is a Grade 2 winner sprinting on the green and rates an obvious chance in his local bow. Colonel John gelding has a versatile running style and might get the jump on the late runners turning for home on Saturday. Javier Castellano will be in the silks.
#4 PURE SENSATION — Ageless 9-year-old was an even fifth following a slow break as the favorite in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1) in November. Gray from the Clement shedrow was third in this race in 2018, and he is proven more than capable of firing off the shelf. Potential pacsetter will have Irad Ortiz Jr. in the stirrups.
#5 STUBBINS — Top pick impressed me with his Grade 3 victory at Keeneland, which was followed by a closing fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1) last campaign. Dark bay son of Morning Line finished a troubled third in the recent Daytona (G3), and I fully expect the 4-year-old to improve second time off the layoff. Luis Saez inherits the mount atop the powerful closer.
#6 HIDDEN SCROLL — Enigmatic son of Hard Spun dumped his rider in a local allowance tilt when making his turf debut on June 3. Colt from the Mott barn continues to train like a serious runner, and he could surely take to the combination of the turf and cut back in trip on Saturday. John Velazquez returning to ride is a major positive.
#7 WHITE FLAG — Second from the Clement barn is something of a Belmont specialist sporting a 7-4-1-2 mark on the local turf. War Front 6-year-old has a strong turn of foot on his best day, but he faces a tall task in a seasonal debut against this type of competition.
#8 LONHTWIST — Kentucky-bred is still in search of his initial stakes victory, and he comes off a poor showing on the surface two weeks prior. I will let the O’Brien pupil beat me in this ambitious spot.
- $20 Win and Place: #5 Stubbins ($40)
- $10 Exacta Box: 2-5 ($20)