Stars and Stripes Festival Betting Preview: Six Stakes on Tap at Belmont Park

A field of 14 will line up in the Belmont Oaks Invitational (G1), one of six graded stakes.  (© Cheryl Quigley |

A field of 14 will line up in the Belmont Oaks Invitational (G1), one of six graded stakes. (© Cheryl Quigley |

There will be plenty of fireworks Saturday afternoon at Belmont Park, with six graded stakes making up the Stars and Stripes Festival Day betting card highlighted by a the $1 million Belmont Oaks Invitational (G1) and the $1.25 million Belmont Derby Invitational (G1).

There is $1 million in guaranteed betting pools including an all-stakes Pick 4 starting in the eighth race with a guaranteed pool of $500,000.

The $500,000 Suburban (G2) and the Belmont Oaks will be televised live on NBC at 5:00 ET. The Belmont Oaks is a Breeders’ Cup Challenge ‘Win and You’re In” race for the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1) which will be contested this fall at Keeneland.

Here is a quick look at the stakes action:

Race 6 The $150,000 Victory Ride (G3)

The stakes action and the Pick 6 kick off with the Victory Ride, a 6 ½ furlong sprint on the main track for three-year-old fillies. Enchanting Lady is the 6-5 morning line favorite off her second in the Jersey Girl at Monmouth Park. She faces a couple of talented fillies including eight for nine Promise Me Silver and Beaumont (G2) winner Miss Ella.

Race 7 the $500,000 Dwyer (G3)

Last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) winner Texas Red makes his first start since a neck loss in the San Vicente (G3) at Santa Anita on Feb. 1. The five-month break and the short price may lead us to look for an upset. The Bill Mott trained Speightster makes his stakes debut after a pair of sharp efforts to start his career and Blofeld has won three of his four career starts.

Race 8 The Belmont Derby Invitational (G1)

Nine will go in this rich race, a 1 ¼ mile test for three-year-olds. Bolo was outrun in the Kentucky Derby (G1) but has bene best on turf while Divisdero is coming off a game win in the Penine Ridge, beating Takeover Target in a photo. Euro invaders Canndal and Postulation look a cut below, but we have seen some of these types of Euro shippers come over and run very well.

Race 9 The $500,000 Suburban (G2)

Last year’s Belmont Stakes (G1) winner Tonalist is the 3-5 morning line favorite and sure looks tough. He is coming off a third in the Met Mile (G1) where he ran into Honor Code and had to settle for the runner up spot. The extra ground will suit and he has won four of his five starts over the Belmont Park main track.

Race 10 The $1 million Belmont Oaks Invitational (G1)

The Chad Brown trained Lady Eli is going to be sent off at a short price as she comes into the race perfect in five career starts. She overcame traffic troubles last out to win the Wonder Again over the Belmont turf at 1 1/8 miles. American Oaks (G1) winner Spanish Queen could be a threat and Consumer Credit gives Brown another shot.

(Race 11 is below)

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


Belmont Park Race 11 The Belmont Sprint Championship G3 (Post time 6:23 ET) 

2 The Big Beast   7-2

3 Private Zone   8-5        

5 Clearly Now   5-1         

6 Stallwalkin’ Dude    6-1

Analysis: The Big Beast makes his first start since making a mild late run to finish fourth in the Carter ‘Cap (G1) as the beaten favorite. When this guy won the King’s Bishop (G1) last summer at the Spa I thought he was a cinch to win the Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) but got knocked to the sidelines with an injury. He has run well fresh and should be tight and ready to go off works at Fair Hill for the Tony D. barn that is 18% winners with runners coming back off a 61-180 day layoff.

Private Zone set the early fractions in the Met Mile (G1) and got run down in the stretch by Honor Code and Tonalist, two of the top older horses in training. The gelding has won two of his three starts over the main track here, taking the Vosburgh (G1) the past two years at today’s seven-furlong distance. The gelding owns solid early and mid pace numbers but he is going to have plenty of company early as there is plenty of speed in here.

Clearly Now tracked the early pace, came with a four wide move and faded to finish sixth last out in the True North (G2). He reportedly had displaced his palate in that race and had a throat procedure. He won this race last year and earned a career top speed fig in that victory. The blinkers come off and expecting to see him bounce back with a much better effort here.


WIN: #2 to win at 3-1 or better.

EX: 2,3 / 2,3,5,6

TRI: 2,3 / 2,3,5,6 / 1,2,3,5,6


Road to the Breeders’ Cup Package

Get Michael’s Best Plays Report each Saturday and Sunday including all of the U.S. based Breeders’ Cup Challenge “Win and You’re In” races from now to Oct. 8 and Michael Dempsey’s 2-Day Breeders’ Cup Report. Michael’s two day Breeders’ Cup Report includes his selections, analysis, fair odds line, and wagering recommendations for every race on the two-day championship event from Keeneland on Oct. 30-31.



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