A field of eight including the Bill Mott trained To Honor and Serve will head to the gate in Saturday’s $350,000 Suburban Handicap (G2), the featured race on the Belmont Park card.
The four-year-old colt is coming off a career top speed figure in a third place finish in the Met Mile (G1) behind Shackleford and Caleb’s Posse.
A strong field will take on the colt including Stay Thirsty and Mucho Macho Man, both veterans of the 2011 Triple Crown, and Trickmeister, who has won six of seven career starts.
The race preceding the Suburban is the $150,000 Victory Ride (G3) for three-year-old fillies.
While the race is not as good of a betting race, it will be interesting to watch as Agave Kiss attempts to stay undefeated, seeking her seventh victory in a row.
The Rudy Rodriguez trainee is perfect in six starts and has won her starts by a combined 30 lengths.
She started off her career trouncing state breds in her first two starts, and then reeled off four straight stakes wins in open company including the Cicada (G3).
Ramon Dominguez gets the call for the second time and the filly is 2-5 on the morning line.
She faces three fillies coming off wins including Inaugural winner Gypsy Robin, who has won four of her six career starts.
Eddie Keneally ships in Jamaican Smoke from Churchill Downs where the daughter of Latent Heat ran big beating first level allowance foes in her first start against winners.
Completing the field are Emma’s Encore, Tu Endie Wei, and Sea Island.
My Best Plays Report for Saturday will include a few of the many stakes from around the country. There are eleven graded stakes on the calendar, and I will scope most of them out and look for a couple of good betting opportunities.
Michael Dempsey provides his selections for Belmont Park each racing day. Mike’s Best Plays Report is available each weekend, with his strongest plays and selections including the top stakes races.
Let’s head out to Belmont Park for Saturday’s featured race of the day:
Belmont Park Race 9 The Suburban Handicap (G2) Post time 5:06 ET
7 To Honor and Serve 9-5
5 Trickmeister 6-1
1 Stay Thirsty / 1a Caixa Eletronica 7-2
4 Hymn Book 6-1
To Honor and Serve is coming off a career top speed fig in a third place finish in the Met Mile (G1) last out. The colt did not have the best of trips, sitting in tight toward the inside, was eased back to find some room, had to wait briefly nearing the quarter pole, and then did not have enough punch when angled toward the outside in the final furlong. The colt came off a five month layoff two back to win the Westchester (G3). He won the Cigar Mile (G3) last fall in his last start of ’11, but he actually may be better at nine furlongs. The Bill Mott trainee looks primed for a top effort here in his third start off the bench.
Trickmeister took the field gate to wire last out to win the Vanlandingham Stakes off a three month break. The lightly raced five year old has won six of his seven career starts, his lone loss coming in the Donn Handicap (G1) back in February. Note that jockey Ramon Dominguez is sticking with this guy despite being the regular rider of Mucho Macho Man. The Rick Dutrow runner has some early zip but needs to avoid getting hooked up early with Endorsement, who looks quicker.
Stay Thirsty tracked the early pace but could not get to our second choice last out in the Vanlandingham while lugging in midstretch. The colt was making his first start since running 11th in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) last fall. The Todd Pletcher trainee is 0 for 4 over the main track here but has run well including a runner up finish in the Belmont (G1) and a third in the Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1). The colt figures to be fitter for his second start off the bench. His entrymate Caixa Eletronica earned a career top winning the six furlong True North Handicap (G2). He did win the Charles Town Classic (G2) at nine furlongs over the tight turns at the West Virginia track. He may be suited better for one turn.
WIN: To Honor and Serve to win at 9-5 or better.
EXACTA: 5,7 / 1,4,5,7
TRIFECTA: 5,7 / 1,4,5,7 / 1,4,5,6,7