Eight fillies and mares line up in Friday’s $80,000 License Fee, a six-furlong sprint on the inner turf course at Belmont Park.
The Al Stall trained Dalika is the 5-2 morning line favorite. The filly is coming off a very impressive win versus Alw-2 optional claimers at Churchill Downs on May 21, her first start off a five-month layoff.
It was her first turf sprint since landing in the U.S. She went 1 for 7 last year, all in turf routes, her win coming against Alw-1 company last June at Churchill Downs at nine furlongs.
“We just want a race with a fast pace,” Stall, Jr. said. “When she has that it in front of her, it helps. Her last race was visually very impressive. Joel just jogged her past the wire. One turn with a solid pace is what she needs. She runs a better race when you don’t grab her and it turns into a wrestling match.”
A filly that has a shot of pulling off a mild upset is Getmotherarose, who failed to fire in the Intercontinental (G3) in her last start at seven furlongs. She has done her best running at today’s six-furlong distance where she has won four of her seven starts.
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Thomas Sends Out Pair of Contenders
Trainer Jonathan Thomas will saddle a pair of runners. Escapade (9-2) was fifth last out in the Lightning City at Tampa Bay Downs and Bridlewood Cat (4-1) was a close up fourth in the Correction at Aqueduct back in March and is making her turf debut.
We have five stakes on tap on Saturday’s card highlighted by the $500,000 Runhappy Metropolitan Mile (G1) and the $400,000 Manhattan (G1). The Met Mile is a Win and You’re In” race for the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1).
Let’s head out to Belmont Park for Friday’s featured race of the day:
Belmont Park Race 9 The License Fee (5:36 ET)
3 Getmotherarose 6-1
8 Dalika 5-2
6 Escapade 9-2
5 Souper Escape 12-1
This filly was outrun last out in the Intercontinental over yielding ground which was won by Newspaperofrecord who ran them off their feet and then came back to win the Just a Game (G1) in her next outing. Our top pick cuts back to her best distance while dropping out of graded stakes company. She has won 4 of 7 at six furlongs on turf. She won the Honey Fox (G3) three back at a mile at Gulfstream Park. She figures to bounce back with a much better effort and will be a fair price in this spot.
The Stall trainee came off a five-month break with a sharp effort beating Alw-2 optional claimers at Churchill Downs going 5 1/2 furlongs. She came with a good late rally and drew away to win by two lengths with plenty left in the tank. The runner up Mentality came back to win the state bred Hessonite here on June 26. She ran second in a couple of stakes last year going long, in the restricted Riskaverse at the Spa and a game second in the Mrs Revere (G2) at Churchill Downs on yielding footing last November. She looks as if she is sitting on a big one here.
One of two in here sent out by the Thomas barn, this mare makes her first start since February where she prompted the early pace and weakened late to finish fifth beaten 1 3/4 lengths in the Lightning City at Tampa Bay Downs going five furlongs. Four have exited that race to run back and three have won including the winner Jean Elizabeth, who won the Whimsical (G3) at Woodbine on June 21. The Thomas barn is 31% winner with runners coming back off a 61-180-day break. Her lone trip at six furlongs on turf came here in the maiden ranks back in ’17 where she ran second. She owns solid early and mid pace numbers and picks up Castellano.