Six stakes restricted to state breds highlight Saturday’s card at Belmont Park for Big Apple Showcase Day, with $900,000 up for grabs.
The feature on the card is the $200,000 Commentator Handicap for three-year-olds and upward which drew a field of 13 including defending champion Readtheprospectus, who will be making his first start off a seven month layoff.
His stablemate Zivo is the 2-1 morning line favorite with the duo saddled by Chad Brown, who is currently second in the Belmont Park trainer standings with 10 wins from 32 starters through Thursday.
The $125,000 Kingston going a mile on the turf gets the stakes action underway, with the second race post of 1:52 (ET). The race drew eight plus one main-track-only runner. The Christophe Clement trained Lubash is the 2-1 morning line favorite. The seven-year-old beat Kharafa (5-2) by a neck last out against state bred $75,000 optional claimers.
The third race on the card is the $125,000 Bouwerie for three-year-old fillies. Nine will line up led by the Bill Mott trained Flipcup (5-2), who won the state bred East View last December, and Henry’s Gal (3-1), who is coming off a gate to wire score in a New York Stallion Series race in her last start.
The $125,000 Mt. Vernon will be contested at one mile on the turf for fillies and mares and is the fourth race on the card. The Rick Violette trained Effie Trinket is 2-5 on the morning line and is always tough when she is in state bred company. She is coming in off a third in the Distaff Turf Mile (G3) at Churchill Downs.
The $125,000 Mike Lee is for three-year-olds going seven furlongs on the main track. Uncle Sigh, who battled with Samraat earlier in the year in the Withers (G3) and Gotham (G3) makes his first start since pressing the pace and fading to finish 14th in the Kentucky Derby (G1). The Gary Contessa trainee is the 4-5 morning line favorite.
La Verdad is the even money favorite for the $200,000 Critical Eye going a mile on the main track. The Linda Rice trainee has won seven of her nine career outings and is coming off a gate to wire win in the Distaff Handicap (G2) at Aqueduct on April 19. She has won her last four starts when facing state bred company.
Let’s head out to Belmont Park for Saturday’s featured race of the day:
Belmont Park Race 9 The Commentator Handicap Post time 5:40 ET
1 Prohibition 6-1
7 Readtheprospectus 8-1
5 Zivo 2-1
9 Weekend Hideaway 10-1
Prohibition has won five of his seven starts since the Cathai Lynch barn claimed this guy for just $7,500 last September. The gelding earned a career top Beyer Speed Figure three back (98) beating state bred Alw-2 optional claimers at the Big A in gate to wire fashion by 12 ½ lengths. He regressed in his following start, a fifth place finish on turf, and bounced back with a sharp win last out at Philly against open Alw-1 foes. He is back with state breds here and owns solid early and mid pace numbers Breaking from the rail this guy could be a danger to go gate to wire at a decent price.
Readtheprospectus is one of two in here sent out by the Chad Brown barn and this gelding is making his first start since last fall. He won this race last year, which was his sixth win in a row, then he took the state bred Spite the Devil. He went to the bench after failing to fire in the Empire Classic where he faded to finish seventh. He has won seven of his 11 career starts and has run well off the bench in the past. The barn is 25% winners with runners coming back off a +180 day layoff.
Zivo is also sent out by Brown. The colt has won four in a row and is a head away from having a six race winning streak. The five-year-old was a sharp winner last out at Aqueduct at a mile facing state bred $75,000 optional claimers. The third place finisher in that race was Sailmate, who came back to beat Alw-2 optional claimers in his next outing on May 23. He has not missed landing in the money in his 13 career starts and is a two time state bred stakes winner. His main knock here is his price may end up on the light side.
WIN: Prohibition to win at 9-2 or better.
EXACTA: 1,7 / 1,5,7,9
TRIFECTA: 1,7 / 1,5,7,9 / 1,5,7,9,10
Michael’s Belmont Park Report includes his selections, analysis, fair odds line, and wagering recommendations. Michael has been handicapping the New York circuit on a daily basis for nearly three decades.
Belmont Park Spring/Summer Meet Special: Michael’s full card reports for the entire spring/summer meeting at Belmont Park from now until July 13. The package includes the Belmont Stakes Day card along with three new events – the Belmont Stakes Festival on June 6-8, Stars & Stripes Day on July 5 and a May 11 Mother’s Day card featuring three graded stakes. In all, the schedule contains 62 stakes races worth $17.95 million, including 16 overnight stakes with purses of $100,000 each.