Six Grade 1 Races Highlight Belmont Stakes Day

Belmont Park Race Track

Six Grade 1 races including the $1`.5 million Belmont Stakes highlight an outstanding 13-race card at Belmont Park on Saturday. (Photo credit: Bigstock.com)

There is no Triple Crown bid, Kentucky Derby (G1) winner Always Dreaming and Preakness (G1) winner Cloud Computing will spend the day in the barn and early Belmont Stakes (G1) favorite Classic Empire is out with another foot abscess.

When there is no Triple Crown hanging in the balance, my phone goes silent as the mainstream media is off covering LeBron James and Sidney Crosby and there is more sports excitement in Nashville this weekend than in the Big Apple.

Maybe we should just go play golf today.

Ah, just messing with you. The NYRA has put together a 13-race betting card that pretty much has me forgetting all about American Pharoah.

The $1.5 million Belmont Stakes this afternoon will be supported by five Grade 1 races and there are 10 stakes on the 13-race card.

$750,000 Acorn: Eight fillies head to the gate led by Kentucky Oaks (G1) winner Abel Tasman, who overcame a speed friendly racing strip and the fact I picked her to score the upset at 9-1. She faces a toughie in Sweet Loretta, who stretches out off her win in the seven furlong Beaumont (G3) at Keeneland.

$750,000 Ogden Phipps: Songbird is seeking to end her one race losing streak as the 1-2 morning line favorite. She reeled off 11 wins in a row to start her career including seven Grade 1 wins. Her lone loss might have been her best effort. She was beaten a nose by Beholder in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1).

$700,000 Just a Game: Seven fillies and mares go a mile on turf and of course trainer Chad Brown will be well represented. He sends out Distaff Turf Mile (G2) winner Roca Rojo and Antonoe, who makes her second start since landing in the U.S. It is a strong field that includes Honey Fox (G2) winner Celestine, who won the race last year and Dickinson who won the Jenny Wiley (G1) in her last outing.

$1.25 million Metropolitan Handicap: The Met Mile selections are below and we have a wide-open field of 12. Some are criticizing the NYRA’s decision to move this race away from Memorial Day. I am not one of them.

$1 million Woodford Reserve Manhattan: The older turf division may not be the strongest right now, but this race is competitive with Dixie (G2) winner World Approval the 3-1 morning line favorite. Brown sends out Time Test who should be tough second off the bench.

$1.5 million Belmont Stakes: No Derby or Preakness winner and just one runner (Lookin At Lee) that participated in both of the first two jewels of the Triple Crown. However, we have a wide-open field of 12 including the Japan based Epicharis.

Sure, we are not going to see history today, but if we cash enough tickets we will get over it pretty quick.

My Best Plays Report for Saturday includes my nine strongest plays from Belmont Park and Monmouth Park.

Let’s head out to Belmont Park for Saturday’s featured race of the day:

 

BEL Race 9 The Metropolitan Hcp G1 (4:41 ET)

#12 Awesome Slew   6-1

#11 Tommy Macho   10-1

#9 Mor Spirit   5-2

#2 Rally Cry   5-1

Analysis: Awesome Slew should get a good trip breaking from the outside post and might even be a bit closer early than he has been in his last couple of outings. Last out he was more than a dozen lengths back and made a good late rally to finish in the runner up spot in the Churchill Downs (G2) over a wet track. The winner Limousine Liberal came back to win the Aristides (G3) in his next start at Churchill Downs on June 3. Our top pick earned a career top two back winning the Commonwealth (G3) at Keeneland going seven furlongs off a two month break. He comes in here very sharp and is going to be a fair price in this spot.

Tommy Macho was third last out in the Carter ‘Cap (G1). The Pletcher trainee tracked the early pace from the inside, got stuck behind foes in the stretch and as bumped and lost momentum briefly inside the final furlong. When this guy is good he can fire big figs but is not real reliable. He earned a 105 Beyer three back winning the Hal’s Hope (G3) for fun at Gulfstream Park going a one turn mile. He has a couple of wins over the main track here and will appreciate the extra furlong. After being below 3-1 in each of his five starts the 10-1 morning line looks enticing.

Wagering

WIN: #12 to win at 4-1 or better.

EX: 11,12 / 1,9,11,12

TRI: 11,12 / 2,9,11,12 / 2,5,9,11,12