Tim Holland has an upset possibility for the Belmont Stakes, as well as picks for Churchill Downs, Woodbine, and Ruidoso Downs on a blockbuster Saturday afternoon of horse racing.
#11 Hackberry (5-1) makes his first start for trainer Sisterson after showing little last time in the Twilight Derby (G2) at Santa Anita in early-November. Son of English Channel finished a close fourth in the Del Mar Derby (G2) last year and Sisterson has won with two of his first 13 runners at this meet. Barn wins with just 6% of runners that have not raced for 90+ days, but colt has been working well and gets Geroux in the saddle.
Trainer Rusty Arnold wins with 23% of his runners second time off a layoff and saddles #1 Bama Breeze (8-1), who comes off an unplaced effort in the War Chant S. over a mile last month, his first start since an impressive debut win here last September. Son of promising young sire Honor Code was in behind traffic for much of his trip in the War Chant and has posted two decent works since for Arnold, who wins with 14% of his runners on grass. Gelding should appreciate the extra distance and Lanerie remains aboard.
Maidens going 6-furlongs include #2 Lucky Asset (10-1), who weakened to finish second in his debut after making a bid for the lead from off the pace at Turfway in mid-March. Trainer House wins with 15% of his runners that have not raced for 90+ days and son of Honor Code is a half-brother to Twilight Eclipse, winner of the Man O’War (G1). Bay has posted three bullet works recently and can be forwardly placed early with Graham in the irons.
#5 The Angry Man (8-1) finished well when fourth in his debut ovder 6-furlongs at Aqueduct in early-December, from which race the runner-up returned to win next time out. Son of Summer Front is a half-brother to two winners and has been working well for trainer Magner, who wins with 27% of his second-time starters. Gelding can be along from off the pace with Saez retaining the mount.
An upset possibility for the Belmont (G1) is #4 Modernist (15-1), who ran well from a wide post when third in the Louisiana Derby (G2) most recently in March. Dark bay was briefly freshened after his latest outing, but recent works include a sharp 5-furlong move in :59 1/5 here six days ago for trainer Mott, who wins with 16% of his runners that have not raced for 90+ days. While improvement is needed, connections evidently feel that the son of Uncle Mo is doing well enough to earn a shot.
Trainer Gargan wins with 25% of his runners that have not raced for 90+ days and saddles #7 Monarchs Glen (10-1), who has not been seen since weakening to finish third after being steadied and a touch rank early at Gulfstream in mid-March. Son of excellent turf sire Frankel has won four times on grass and Gargan is hitting an excellent 30% rate this meet. 6-year-old should find a stronger pace to settle behind with Lezcano up.
#1 Irvine (4-1) has not been seen since finishing fifth in an even effort on the main track in his debut last October. Son of Giant’s Causeway is a full-brother to Wood Memorial (G1) winner Eskendereya and has been working forwardly for trainer Carroll, who wins with 16% of her runners that have not raced for 90+ days. 4-year-old can be along from off the pace with Husbands in the irons.
With little other early speed entered, #3 Heza Prospector (6-1) may be able to go gate-to-wire. Gelding has not been seen since finishing second at Sunland in early-February, but recent works include a 4-furlong move in :47 3/5 here for trainer Marr, who wins with 21% of his runners that have not raced for 90+ days. 4-year-old has shown the stamina to win at this distance previously and regular rider Fuentes will be aboard.
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