Belmont Park Picks: Wide Open Field Lines Up in Elusive Quality

Nine go in Saturday's $100,000 Elusive Quality at Belmont Park. (photo credit: © Cheryl Quigley | Dreamstime.com)

Nine go in Saturday’s $100,000 Elusive Quality at Belmont Park. (photo credit: © Cheryl Quigley | Dreamstime.com)

The Saturday feature at Belmont Park on the second day of the spring/summer meeting is the wide-open $100,000 Elusive Quality, a seven-furlong turf sprint that drew 12, with nine expected to start.

There are two main-track only entrants and Aztec Brave is likely to scratch to run Sunday at Laurel Park.

The Wesley Ward trained Green Mask is the 2-1 morning line favorite despite not having visited the winner’s circle since taking the Paradise Creek at Belmont Park on May 17 of 2014.

The gelding has lost his last seven starts, but has run well in most of those starts, including a close up third in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1) at Keeneland last October where he was beaten just three-quarters of a length by Mongolian Saturday.

King Kreesa is the second choice on the morning line at 4-1. The David Donk trainee makes his first start since a sixth place finish in the Shadwell Turf Mile (G1) at Keeneland last October. The gelding has won seven of his 15 career starts over the Belmont Park turf.

He won twice here last year.  He took the Poker (G3) last June. He then won the Forbidden Apple in July earning a career top Beyer Speed Figure of 107.  Both of those races were at a mile.

Trainer Chad Brown has been dominant in stakes in New York, winning 62 turf stakes in the Big Apple in the past five years, 35 of them graded. He sends out A Lot, who previously was in the care of Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott. The colt has won twice over the Belmont Park turf and is a generous 12-1 on the morning line.

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

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Belmont Park Race 8 The Elusive Quality (Post time 5:13 ET)

3 A Lot   12-1

5 Green Mask   2-1

4 Bye Bye Bernie   8-1

2 King Kreesa   4-1

A Lot returns off a 2 ½ month break and makes his first start for the Chad Brown barn that is 24% winners with newcomers to the barn. The colt cuts back from 1 1/16 miles where he checked in seventh in the Tampa Bay (G3). He was only beaten a head and a neck two back when a game third in the Tropical Park Derby at Gulfstream Park. He won here last May in his lone start at seven furlongs, taking the Paradise Creek. The barn is 27% winners moving runners from route to sprint and the 12-1 morning line looks generous.

Green Mask makes his first start since a disappointing effort at Sha Tin in the Hong Kong Sprint (G1). The Wesley Ward trainee had a troubled trip two back in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1) and was only beaten ¾ of a length in a third place finish. He has lost seven in a row, his last victory coming in the 2014 Paradise Creek here at this distance. Ward was sending out live runners at Keeneland and is 16% winners with runners coming back off a 61-180-day layoff.

Bye Bye Bernie makes his second start off the bench, last out checking in fifth in the Shakertown (G2) at Keeneland. In that outing he was outrun early, came with a four wide run, angled farther out and finished up with good energy. He should move forward off that outing and he won the Nearctic (G2) three back at Woodbine going six furlongs on turf.

Wagering:

WIN: A Lot to win at 6-1 or better.

EXACTA: 3,5 / 2,3,4,5

TRIFECTA: 3,5 / 2,3,4,5 / 1,2,3,4,5

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