The $250,000 Belmont Gold Cup Invitational highlights an outstanding Friday afternoon card at Belmont Park, a good warm up to Saturday’s festivities where American Pharoah will attempt to become the first Triple Crown winner since 1978.
Day 2 of the Belmont Stakes Festival of Racing on Friday will feature a 10-race card that includes five stakes.
The nightcap is the Gold Cup, which drew a field of 11 turf marathoners who will travel two miles. Trainer Todd Pletcher will saddle the 3-1 morning line favorite Unitarian, who was third last out in the Elkhorn (G2) at Keeneland going 1 ½ miles.
The five-year-old son of Pulpit won the Allen Jerkens at Gulfstream Park two back at today’s two-mile distance.
The star of the afternoon is Stephanie’s Kitten, who will be the heavy favorite in the $300,000 New York (G2), the race proceeding the Gold Cup. The six-year-old mare won the Flower Bowl Invitational (G1) last fall over the Belmont Park turf and then ran second in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1).
The $250,000 True North (G2) is carded as the eighth race and drew a field of eight sprinters including Carter Handicap (G1) winner Dads Caps and Diablo Stakes winner Stallwalkin’ Dude.
Trainer Todd Pletcher will send out Rock Fall, who popped a 109 Beyer Speed Figure beating $100,000 optional claimers at Keeneland in his last outing.
The stakes action starts in the third race with the $150,000 Jersey Girl and the fourth race is the $250,000 Tremont for two-year-old going 5 ½ furlongs on the main track.
Let’s head out to Belmont Park for Friday’s featured race of the day:
Belmont Park Race 10 The Belmont Gold Cup Invitational (Post time 5:45 ET)
2 Innovation Economy 5-1
11 Reflecting 15-1
5 Red Rifle 7-2
3 Unitarian 3-1
Analysis: Innovation Economy is coming off a sharp win at Keeneland last out beating Alw-2 company over good ground going 1 1/2 miles and did it off a five-month layoff. The runner up Xtra Luck returned to win the Louisville handicap (G3) in his next outing on Churchill Downs on May 23. The colt broke his maiden over the turf here and looks as if he has enough pedigree to handle the extra ground. He is by Dynaformer out of a Gone West mare that has dropped three other turf winners including stakes winner Seaspeak ($270,262).
Reflecting was second last out against Alw-2 optional claimers, clipping heels just inside the final furlong and beaten just a length. He ran behind a couple of these foes in his precious three starts but now makes his third start since last fall. He ran third in this race last year, beaten just a length at 26-1. The Shug trainee looks as if he is going to be a generous price again here. He is reunited with Rosario who was aboard him in this race last year.
WIN: #2 to win at 7-2 or better.
EX: 2,11 / 2,3,5,11
TRI: 2,11 / 2,3,5,11 / 1,2,3,5,11
Belmont Stakes Michael’s Report includes his selections, analysis, fair odds line, and wagering recommendations for the entire Belmont Stakes Day card. Report will be available by June 5.
The third jewel of the Triple Crown features an outstanding day of horse betting that also includes the Grade 1, $1 million Manhattan, the Grade 1, $750,000 Longines Just a Game, the Grade 2, $500,000 Woody Stephens, the Grade 1, $1.25 million Metropolitan Handicap, the Grade 1, $1 million Ogden Phipps, the Grade 1, $750,000 Acorn, the Grade 2, $500,000 Brooklyn Invitational, the Grade 3, $300,000 Jaipur Invitational, and the $150,000 Easy Goer.