A total of eight stakes races for Empire State-bred runners will highlight an excellent 11-race card at Belmont Park on Saturday. I have tabbed a three-race sequence in the middle of the day that is of interest to me and will offer value.
Race 6 — Empire Distaff
A field of seven fillies and mares will contest the 1 1/16-mile affair, and I will spread to start my ticket. Defending champ #2 Ratajkowski is a must use for Graham Motion. Chestnut mare loves the Belmont strip with a 5-4-0-1 local mark, and she could peak third time out in 2020.
#5 Critical Value has two powerful stakes victories on the oval and exits a nice third-place allowance result in a tough spot most recently. She will be a major factor with expected improvement on Saturday.
I will also toss in #6 Lucky Move and #7 Mrs. Orb, who are each value plays that will appreciate the expected contested pace in the opening leg.
Race 7 — Hudson H.
The 6 1/2-furlong dash will see nine go postward in a competitive event. I will go two-deep in the middle leg of the sequence. #2 Captain Bombastic is four-for-five when facing state-bred foes, which includes a trio of stakes triumphs for Englehart. Sophomore colt is perfect from three starts over Big Sandy, and he is the class of the cast.
I loved the allowance tally by #6 Big Engine on the surface last time out for Linda Rice. Not for Love 5-year-old has a fine turn of foot in a field with an abundance of pace, and the chestnut is a great one to have on the wager under repeat pilot Lezcano.
Race 8 — Mohawk S.
The final leg attracted eight, with one being a main-track only participant, for a 1 1/16-mile turf test. #8 Cross Border is one of two prime contenders in the cast for Mike Maker, and he gets the slight edge in my view. English Channel 6-year-old has faced graded company in four of his last five endeavors, and his latest outing with New York-bred foes resulted in a dominant 6 1/4-length stakes romp at Saratoga.
Grade 2 winner #7 Somelikeithotbrown exits a fine runner-up result in the Dinner Party (G2) at Pimlico, and the Maker pupil is an obvious win threat on Saturday. Classy son of Big Brown was a good third in the Fort Marcy (G2) in June in his latest local appearance.
#5 Therapist is a multiple stakes winner at Belmont and wouldn’t be a surprise for Clement. The Freud gelding comes in fresh and has proven to be capable of running with open foes in the past.
I would feel really good being alive to this trio to close out the play.
Suggested Pick-3 ticket:
$1 Pick 3: 2,5,6,7 with 2,6 with 5,7,8 ($24)