Scully: Pick 3 plays with Belmont Derby

July 7th, 2023

The $750,000 Belmont Derby (G1) heads four stakes at Belmont Park Saturday, and I’m keen to play English invader The Foxes, who cuts back to a favorable 1 1/4-mile trip in his U.S. debut.

After winning three of four starts, including notable triumphs in the Dante (G2) and Royal Lodge (G2), the classy colt was in position to strike but came up empty in the final furlong of the 1 1/2-mile Epsom Derby (G1) last out, weakening to fifth. That led trainer Andrew Balding to ship one of the top three-year-olds to America.

The Foxes might have been odds-on in previous editions, but the 7-2 morning line choice will meet a deep group of rivals, by American standards, that includes Far Bridge, Kalik, Redistricting, and Webslinger. And English-based Silver Knott, a nose second in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) at Keeneland last fall, has made two of his last three starts stateside.

Oisin Murphy will be in to ride The Foxes, and I’ll play him straight at anything close to his morning line. I’ll seek added value in a pair of Pick 3s surrounding the Belmont Derby.

The first Pick 3 ticket begins in the eighth race, the Belmont Oaks (G1). The Belmont Derby (10th race) starts the second.

Race 8, $1 Pick 3: 1,7 with All with 11 = $24

In the first leg, #7 Aspray is my top choice, and #1 Mission of Joy will be included off a convincing win in the Regret (G3). I’ll spread in the second leg, an entry-level allowance on turf, using all 12 runners in the main body of the field.

Race 10, $1 Pick 3: 11 with 1,3 with All = $24

The Victory Ride (G3) serves as the second leg in the sequence, and the 6 1/2-furlong sprint is loaded with speed. I’ll use #1 Interpolate and #3 Vahva from off the pace. All 12 runners entered for the 12th race, a $40,000 maiden claimer on turf, will be used in the final leg.