A field of nine will line up in Saturday’s $300,000 John A. Nerud (G2) at Belmont Park with the winner stamping a ticket to the Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) at Santa Anita on Nov. 2.
The Nerud is one of five graded stakes on the Stars & Stripes program at Belmont Park on Saturday. The races will be televised on NBC during a two-hour telecast that gets underway at 4:00 ET.
A Breeders’ Cup Challenge “Win and You’re In” race, the Nerud drew a field of nine led by Promises Fulfilled, the 2-1 morning line favorite.
The John A Nerud was formerly called the James Marvin Stakes from 2008 to 2013 and the Belmont Sprint Championship Stakes from 2014 to 2018.
Promises Fulfilled will be saddled by Dale Romans and comes into the race off a fourth in the Metropolitan Mile (G1) where he stumbled coming out of the gate. The colt was fourth last year in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint at 9-2.
He comes into the race with a 0 for 3 record in 2019 which started with a fourth in the Dubai Golden Shaheen (G1) and a third in the Churchill Downs (G1) before his fourth in the Met Mile in his most recent outing.
“He’s doing very well,” said Romans. “We freshened him up a bit after last year’s campaign and he came out of his last race well. He’s a young 4-year-old and he’s always been improving. Unfortunately, he happens to compete in the toughest division in America.”
Do Share is the second choice on the morning line at 7-2. The gelding was fourth in the Churchill Downs last out, 1 ½ lengths behind Promises Fulfilled.
Other major players include Nicodemus (6-1), who was fourth in the True North (G2) in his last start and Pat On the Back (4-1), who is perfect in two starts this year against New York breds.
The other stakes on the card are the Grade 1, $1 million Belmont Derby Invitational, the Grade 1, $750,000 Belmont Oaks Invitational, the Grade 2, $700,000 Suburban, and the Grade 3, $250,000 Dwyer.
Let’s head out to Belmont Park for Saturday’s featured race of the day:
Belmont Park Race 8 The John A. Nerud (G2) Post time 5:05 ET
4 Nicodemus 6-1
9 Promises Fulfilled 2-1
8 Pat On the Back 4-1
7 Do Share 7-2
The Linda Rice trainee is coming off a fourth-place finish in the True North (G2) last out at 6 1/2 furlongs. The colt raced at the back of the pack and came with a wide move, making a mild late rally to finish fourth. He caught a racing strip that was playing to inside speed that day. Two back he earned a career top speed fig winning the Westchester in the slop going a one turn mile. The Rice trainee earned a solid figure at seven furlongs beating Alw-1 foes in the slop. The colt is coming in here off two solid efforts and is going to be a decent price in this spot. If we get a little rain this afternoon that would be a plus for this guy as well.
The colt stumbled coming out of the gate last out in the Met Mile (G1), tracked the early pace and weakened in the stretch in a fourth-place finish, beaten 4 1/4 lengths to Mitole. The colt was three lengths behind that foe two back in the Churchill Downs (G1) at seven furlongs on Derby Day in a third-place finish. The colt reeled off three in a row last year including the H.A. Jerkens (G1) at the Spa. The cut back to seven furlongs will suit him and he owns the edge in early and mid pace numbers. There is not much early zip signed up to go here and he is a real danger to take this field gate to wire.
Pat On the Back
This five-year-old has done his best work against state breds, winning the Commentator at a mile last out by a nose in a game effort. He has done most of his best work going long but did win the state bred Affirmed Success two back in the slop at six furlongs. The Englehart barn is having a strong meeting, winning at a 25% clip and overall is 16% winners moving runners from route to sprint. He has enough tactical speed to handle the cut back to seven furlongs. He has an outstanding record over the main track here (10-5-3-2).
WIN: Nicodemus to win at 9-2 or better.
EXACTA: 4,9 / 4,7,8,9
TRIFECTA: 4,9 / 4,7,8,9 / 2,4,7,8,9