The $1 million Guaranteed Pick 4 kicks off with the eighth race, the $500,000 Just A Game (G1), and while many horseplayers may elect to single Winter Memories at her 6-5 morning line odds, both Tapitsfly and Hungry Island deserve a good look.
The ninth race is the $400,000 Woody Stephens (G2) for three-year-olds going seven furlongs on the main track.
Derby Trial (G3) winner Hierro is the 5-2 morning line favorite, but there are several in the race that look capable of turning the tables including Bourbon Courage, who suffered his first career start in the Derby Trial when fourth.
The $500,000 Woodford Reserve Manhattan Handicap (G1) did not draw a deepest field of turf runners compared to previous years, a field of eight going 1 ¼ miles.
Dixie (G2) winner Hudson Steele is likely to go off as the betting favorite, but Boisterous has won four of his six trips over the Belmont Park turf, and Desert Blanc, who finished second in the Ft. Marcy (G3) behind Boisterous in his U.S. debut fits if he moves forward for trainer Chad Brown.
The final leg of the Pick 4 is the $1 million Belmont Stakes (G1), which is now missing the I’ll Have Another, who likely would have gone off at odds around even money.
Union Rags and Dullahan were very close in the early betting, and Paynter figures to garner some attention off his back to back triple digit Beyer Speed Figures.
Let’s head out to Belmont Park for today’s featured race of the day:
Belmont Park Race 8 The Just a Game G1 (3:59 ET)
1 Tapitsfly 3-1
4 Winter Memories 6-5
5 Hungry Island 5-2
7 Up in Time 12-1
Analysis: Tapitsfly looks as if she was going to be tough last weekend in the Mint Julep (G2) at Churchill Downs but her trainer Dale Romans elected to scratch her and await this tougher spot. Last out she tracked the early pace, grabbed the lead and could not held off the hard charging Hungry Island late, finishing second in the Distaff Turf Mile (G2). She has only won 2 of her last 13 starts, but she draws the rail here and catches a field void of much early pace. If she is able to shake loose early and set moderate fractions that is going to leave the two logical favorites in here with plenty to do late.
Winter Memories came off a 6 1/2 month layoff with a good looking victory in the Beaguay (G3) over yielding turf here. She is perfect in four trips over the Belmont Park turf. The runner up in her last outing was Gitchee Goomie, who came back to win the state bred Mt. Vernon in her next outing on May 27. She cuts back to a mile here and figures to move forward in her second start off the bench for the Toner barn.
Hungry Island beat our top pick last out and has won three of her five trips over the turf here. The filly also likes to come from off the pace and might be at a tactical disadvantage here. She has landed in the money in 11 of her 12 career starts, the lone exception a close up fourth in last fall’s Garden City (G1) here, a race won by Winter Memories.
WIN: #1 to win at 5-2 or better.
EX: 1,4 / 1,4,5,7
TRI: 1,4 / 1,4,5,7 / 1,3,4,5,7
Michael’s Report includes his selections, analysis, fair odds line, and wagering recommendations for the entire Belmont Stakes Day card.
The third jewel of the Triple Crown features an outstanding day of horse betting. The supporting stakes include the $500,000 Woodford Reserve Manhattan Handicap (G1), $500,000 Just A Game (G1), $400,000 True North Handicap (G2), and the $400,000 Woody Stephens (G2).