Belmont at Aqueduct: Next The Key to 2024 Brooklyn Stakes

July 4th, 2024

Defending champ #6 Next (4-5) will aim to retain his crown in the $200,000 Brooklyn S. (G2) at Aqueduct on Friday, and I see no reason why he won’t. Trained by William Cowans for owner Michael Foster, the gelded son of Not This Time took his seasonal debut by a facile 11 lengths at Churchill Downs on May 1 and shows six well-spaced morning drills in the interim. He has won six of his last seven races since focusing on dirt marathon events by a combined 73 1/2 lengths, and he is as dominant in his division as any horse in training in their respective divisions (with respect to Thorpedo Anna and Cogburn). Regular pilot Luan Machado will be in the silks aboard the six-year-old gray. 

Brooklyn Wagers:

$25 trifecta 6 with 3 with 2 ($25)
$10 trifecta 6 with 2 with 3 ($10)

Finding Value in the Brooklyn Stakes at Belmont at Aqueduct

The way to find any kind of value in the contest is by tabbing the second- and third-place finishers in the race. Recent Suburban (G2) victor #3 Crupi (7-2) is a logical inclusion with Irad Ortiz Jr. in the silks. A clear third in the Pegasus World Cup (G1) to commence the year, the Curlin colt has never run this far but surely gives the impression of a colt who might thrive at 1 3/8 miles. He overcame the bias to win at Saratoga in his latest effort, and the underrated chestnut also owns a pair of stakes wins at Aqueduct, as well. The Todd Pletcher pupil will be fairly popular at the windows at post time. 

I’m not sure how classy Bill Mott’s #2 Dai Vernon (10-1) is, but I do feel that he will evolve into a marathon specialist of sorts with more seasoning. A distant second to Next at 12 panels most recently, the Good Magic colt didn’t appear troubled by the trip in that performance, and he comes in fresh for an excellent layoff trainer, too. The four-year-old Kentucky-bred is not especially swift from the gate, but there is pace in the race, and jockey John Velazquez will have the top-three contender saving ground for much of the tussle. He will add value to the verticals. 

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