Player Quick Pick - Belmont - 10/4/2014

October 4th, 2014

by D.S. Williamson

Although rain is expected to hit Elmont, NY on Saturday, the mood figures to be sunny at Belmont Park. Four stakes are on tap at Big Sandy, including the Grade 3 Hill Prince, a $400,000 stakes race that doesn’t figure to lose too many participants with or without the rain.

Belmont Park 9 | 5:02 pm ET

Grade 3 Hill Prince 3yo going 1-1/8 mi. (T)

1 – Ring Weekend – 4/1 – The gelded son of Tapit won’t mind it at all if the turf comes up wet on Saturday. Ring Weekend was absolutely brilliant in the Grade 3 Saranac over the good going at Saratoga in his last. It was an awesome, power house performance, where the Graham Motion trainee sat two lengths off of a fast pace before exploding in the stretch to claim a 2.75 length victory. The win in the Saranac was easily Ring Weekend’s most impressive since the gelding took home the Grade 2 Tampa Bay Derby by 3 lengths in March. It appears that Ring Weekend is finally coming around and turning into the top horse that so many thought he’d develop into during the spring. If that’s the case, every other horse in this will be running for second. Irad Ortiz is turning into one of the better jockeys on the East Coast. He’ll make sure that Ring Weekend breaks quickly enough from post-position one so that the horse doesn’t get into trouble early.

9 – Mr. Speaker – 5/2 – The morning line favorite could very well be a 7/5 odds on chalk right before the gates open in the Hill Prince on Saturday. It looked like he was going to threaten in the Grade 1 Travers in his last before flattening out and finishing fifth by 7.5 lengths. Before the Travers run, Mr. Speaker took home the Grade 1 Belmont Derby at 1 ¼ miles over this turf course. That was a brilliant run by the Claude McGaughey trained three-year-old because he made up close to 9 lengths from the first call to the second call. If McGaughey has the son of Pulpit on his toes in this, anything close to the morning line could make Mr. Speaker an overlay. He appears to be that good over the lawn. Jockey Jose Lezcano has been aboard for the horse’s last 7 races. He’ll know when to push the button on the Phipps Stable bred chalk that has class oozing from his ears.

3 – Blacktype – 8/1 – If there is an upsetter among the International contingent; it will most likely be Blacktype. The French import has a lot of things going for him. First, he has a competitive 2-2-2 record out of 8 starts. Second, he’s been working brilliantly over the Belmont turf and third, he is being conditioned by turf master Cristophe Clement. Clement wins 29% with shippers to the U.S. and 27% with horses going first time for him. If Ring Weekend or Mr. Speaker aren’t on their A games, Blacktype will be right there to make them pay. Horseplayers should take this import very seriously in the Hill Prince Stakes.