Betting Intelligence: Contenders to watch for June 10
While stars are out in force on Belmont Stakes Day, a few others offer food for thought. Are my notes actionable intelligence, or creativity run amok?
True North (G2) – Race 3 (12:29 p.m. ET)
Champion #4 Elite Power (4-5) ought to flaunt his class in his stateside return, and Godolphin’s up-and-coming #5 Strobe (2-1) is pegged as the logical alternative. I am curious, though, as to how #3 Anarchist (10-1) might stack up at this level. Still lightly raced, the Doug O’Neill trainee played second fiddle to the likes of Spirit of Makena and Brickyard Ride at Santa Anita (and to Motorious on turf). He shipped to Woodbine, joined Josie Carroll, and made the venture worthwhile by winning the Jacques Cartier S. (Runner-up Ice Chocolat runs later Saturday as a 30-1 shot in the Jaipur [G1].) Now Anarchist takes a class hike back on dirt with O’Neill. The consistent son of Distorted Humor picks up Joel Rosario, and could be worth using in the exotics.
Poker (G3) – Race 5 (1:44 p.m. ET)
#1 Chez Pierre (even-money) looms as the overwhelming favorite after demolishing a deeper field in the Maker’s Mark Mile (G1). Yet #6 Emmanuel (9-2) was well below his best that day. He turned the page with a close third in the course-record Dinner Party (G3) on Preakness Day, and the venue change to Belmont Park should help. With the prospect of a very lively pace, Emmanuel could get the set-up that produced his course-record victory in the Tampa Bay (G3). If his morning line odds were more attractive, #7 Filo di Arianna (4-1) would be of even greater interest. And maybe he will drift higher than Emmanuel by post time. These conditions suit the Mark Casse veteran to a tee. A champion on two continents, in Brazil and Canada, he’s capable of carrying his early speed in the right circumstances.
Ogden Phipps (G1) – Race 7 (3:02 p.m. ET)
#2 Search Results (4-1) paid the price for chasing Letruska in last year’s Ogden Phipps (G1), where she tired to third in her only loss at Belmont Park. That extreme pace helped #6 Clairiere (6-5), a true two-turn performer, get up in this one-turn, 1 1/16-mile affair. My hypothesis is that Saturday’s tempo is likely to be more typical, elevating the chances of Search Results. Adding to the intrigue, Search Results turned in a much stronger seasonal reappearance than she did a year ago. Judging by her subpar 2022 return, I was in wait-and-see mode for her 2023 comeback in the La Troienne (G1) on Kentucky Oaks Day, but she ran a mighty race in third. Back at her home base, where she captured the 2021 Acorn (G1) and 2022 Ruffian (G2), the Chad Brown mare could be ready for another major score. Obviously #4 Secret Oath (2-1) commands respect; my only hang-up is that her move needs to be timed with atomic clock-level precision.
Jaipur (G1) – Race 9 (4:19 p.m. ET)
Notwithstanding the presence of a couple of premier contenders in #12 Caravel (3-1) and three-peat-seeking #11 Casa Creed (9-2), this strikes me as an ultra-contentious turf dash with no shortage of players. I’m tempted by Brown’s #5 Dr Zempf (8-1) on the cutback from his flop in the Maker’s Mark Mile. Dr Zempf had form around Wesley Ward’s #2 Go Bears Go (12-1) when they were both Irish-based juveniles. Their paths diverged at three, as Go Bears Go stuck to the pure sprinting game, and Dr Zempf tried his hand going seven furlongs to a mile. He had more success at the former, including a win in the Ballycorus (G3) over elders. Dr Zempf won his stateside debut going 7 1/2 furlongs at Gulfstream Park, where hold-up tactics worked better than his aggressive front-running move at Keeneland. He’ll certainly get pace to run at in the Jaipur. As a son of Dark Angel, Dr Zempf could be right at home in a strongly-run sprint. We know that old foe Go Bears Go is as well, making him a live chance at a price too. Finally, I have to mention that #10 Big Invasion (6-1) was given a Royal Ascot entry, like Caravel, and he stands to have a better trip around Belmont than he had last time at Churchill Downs.
Metropolitan H. (G1) – Race 10 (5:04 p.m. ET)
Unless #1 Cody’s Wish (7-5) gets bottled up on the rail, Godolphin’s heartwarming tale figures to extend his winning streak. But I am eager to see #5 Charge It (6-1) back at the scene of his 23-length rout in the Dwyer (G3). It goes without saying that the Met Mile is light years deeper than the Dwyer, but this configuration brought out the best in him before, and could well do so again. I also like the fact that he’s dropping back in trip from the 1 1/8-mile Oaklawn H. (G2), where the blinkers did appear to have a galvanizing effect — until he got pinballed and checked in fifth. Charge It was a money-burner that day, not for the first time. Yet on Saturday, the Tapit blueblood might at last represent some value. Also of interest is top-class sprinter #3 Dr. Schivel (10-1) on the stretch-out. I’m usually not enamored of race choice dictated by potential stud appeal, but the son of Violence is too good to leave out of calculations.
Manhattan H. (G1) – Race 11 (5:54 p.m. ET)
Can anything prevent a formful result dominated by budding star #8 Up to the Mark (8-5) and Godolphin’s duo of #4 Ottoman Fleet (5-2) and #3 Warren Point (5-1)? The most interesting candidate to get involved at a price is #5 Soldier Rising (12-1), who should finally have a modicum of pace support. An honest type for Christophe Clement, the Frankel gelding has racked up a collection of minor awards, despite having the race shape often stacked against him. He’s been in the trifecta in five of six starts at Belmont; the lone exception was a belated fifth in the 1 1/8-mile Hill Prince (G2) as a sophomore. Soldier Rising is no plodder, as attested by his win in a 1 3/16-mile allowance last summer and placing to globetrotter extraordinaire State of Rest in the 2021 Saratoga Derby (G1). He’s entitled to hit the board again, at a minimum.
Belmont (G1) – Race 12 (7:02 p.m. ET)
You’d think that any pedigree play in the Belmont (G1) would involve a son of Tapit, but I find #3 Arcangelo (8-1) a mouth-watering prospect. And he still boasts a connection to Tapit, who is his broodmare sire. By the late-blooming superstar Arrogate, Arcangelo has been on a steep upward curve himself. Distance should be no object, as he hails from the immediate family of Belmont winners Rags to Riches and Jazil. Indeed, Arcangelo’s dam has an even closer tie to Rags to Riches, being by an A.P. Indy-line sire herself.
Since champion #6 Forte (5-2) saw his form boosted in absentia in both the Kentucky Derby (G1) and Preakness (G1), it would be eminently satisfying for him to gain compensation in the third jewel. Yet can he win the 1 1/2-mile “Test of the Champion,” having not raced since the April 1 Florida Derby (G1)? Maybe if the pace is slow enough, and it doesn’t turn into a true stamina test. But his task remains a stiff one. The Derby alumni typically have the upper hand, among them his Todd Pletcher stablemate #2 Tapit Trice (3-1) and #7 Hit Show (10-1), who ran a sneakily-good fifth at Churchill for Brad Cox. Still, this smacks of a year when a Triple Crown newcomer like Arcangelo could jump up.