(Hopefully this will go better than our Sunday picks at Woodbine who combined to beat exactly zero horses)
Belmont – Race 5 – Assuming they stay on the grass today at Belmont, there is a horse we had put on our watch list that returns today in race five, a two-year old Maiden Special Weight for New York-bred turf runners. #7 Burkie (10-1) made his debut at Saratoga on August 16th and we thought ran very well going five-and-a-half furlongs (he subsequently ran on dirt on September 3rd but that can be forgiven). Burkie broke two lengths slow in his debut, moved up on the turn, then had to dive back towards the inside when horses angled out in front of him and he didn’t get totally clear before flattening out late. It was a better than it looks debut and the winner of that race returned to be beaten three lengths (running sixth of 12) in an open stakes race at Kentucky Downs, improving his figure but six points.
UPDATE – 12:18 PM – Burkie is a vet scratch.
Belmont – Race 8 – Gimma Stakes – #7 Newport Breeze (5-1) ran one of the most bizarre races of the Saratoga meet in the Seeking the Ante on August 25th. She was up on what was a very fast pace before dropping out of contention on the turn. After appearing totally beaten, she re-rallied late and just missed, coming out of nowhere in the last furlong. That race featured a huge pace, and so does this one. She’s drawn well on the outside and the race sets up well for this California-based runner who won an open Maiden Special Weight race at Del Mar, defeating Dancing Belle, who would subsequently finish second in the Grade 2 Sorrento and fourth in the Grade 1 Del Mar Debutante.