Our last post looked at the Belmont Derby and this one will look at a few spots around the outstanding Stars & Stripes Saturday card at Belmont.
We’ll start with the Oaks and then go elsewhere on the card.
Belmont Oaks – Grade 1 (Race 8, 3/yo fillies, 10 furlongs, turf) – This race starts with #12 Sistercharlie (5-2), who comes out of a troubled second in the French Oaks 20 days ago.
Pick it up around the 1:38 mark and Sistercharlie is the horse in green in the 2-path. She has all kinds of trouble starting with being stuck in behind horses, and she had to steady. When she finally got a seam, she really flew home and is definitely the one to beat here.
#8 New Money Honey (7-2) is the top US-based hope, but she set a very slow pace in the Wonder Again last time. Her race at Keeneland wasn’t good (though maybe she didn’t handle the turf course). Still, as the Breeders Cup winner from last year, she figures to be an underlay.
Our play in this race will be to get one of three runners into the exacta with Sistercharlie:
- #1 Coasted (15-1) – She’s always had talent to be competitive in a race like this one. Coasted got a premature 3-wide move in the Herecomesthebride at Gulfstream in March and then probably didn’t handle the Keeneland turf course in April. Then last time in the Wonder Again, she got another tough trip, breaking slowly and then again making a premature wide move. As long as she breaks well today, she should get a good inside-out trip under Joel Rosario and is a big price.
- #2 Beau Recall (15-1) – We don’t know if she’s really good enough for this, but she has had no chance in her last few races, chasing the impressive Sircat Sally on speed-favoring turf courses in California. Perhaps the extra distance and deeper course will help.
- #10 Fifty Five (8-1) – We’ve always liked this horse and thought she ran very well to beat La Coronel in the Florida Oaks before being compromised by a wide trip two-back at Aqueduct and then by the very slow pace last time in the Wonder Again.
If one of these three win, we won’t get shutout, but the main play will be using them in the exacta with Sistercharlie.
Race 2 (3/up F&M, NY-breds, OC 40k/n2x, 8.5 furlongs, turf) – #8 Selenite (2-1) has been claimed by John Toscano from Brad Cox, a very tough trainer to claim from, and has one workout (on June 11th) since her last start on May 18th. We’ll play against with #5 Bonita Springs (8-1). She ran in some tough open-company races in Florida over the winter before coming back to New York. Last time, she was inside behind a pace that fell apart and got totally stopped in the lane. She’ll be a fair price today and is the upset pick.
Race 5 (3/up OC 62k/n2x, 8.5 furlongs turf) – These 8.5 furlong turf races on the inner turf start on the turn and really hamper wide post positions and that’s where the two favorites start. #10 Whatawonderfulworld (4-1) is the horse to beat after breaking slowly last time and putting in a good run behind Get Jets in his first start off the layoff. #11 Turbo Street (3-1) adds blinkers after a tough trip in which he got stuck behind runners in the lane.
Our pick, however, is #1 Mighty Mo (6-1) off the layoff for Bill Mott. He ran very well in a salty Gulfstream allowance race won by Highland Sky in February – in fact, Mighty Mo got blind-switched by that rival in the lane before rallying late again. His previous race featured an early move on the backstretch in a race that collapsed.
Race 11 (3/up, Md 75k, 8 furlongs, turf) – #1 California Swing ran pretty well last time in a similar heat but did have to weave a bit through traffic inside. He only has run twice going long on the grass and once had a terrible trip getting stuck inside. He might be a good alternative and comes out of a race where only the winner made up late ground.