Monday’s holiday card at Belmont Park features a pair of $100,000 stakes, the State Dinner for four-year-olds and upward going 1 1/16 miles on the main track and the Manila for three-year-olds going a mile on the turf course.
After Monday’s card we have a three-day break in the Big Apple, with racing resuming on Friday.
The State Dinner is restricted to non-winners of a stake in 2016 and drew a field of six led by Touchofstarquality, who showed some quality with a gate to wire score against Alw-3 optional claimers in his last outing on May 21 off nearly an eight-month layoff.
Trained by Michelle Nevin, the gelding has now racked up a record of 4-3-1 from nine starts and has earned $243,282. She breaks from the rail with the meet’s leading rider Jose Ortiz and is the 8-5 morning line favorite.
Trainer Todd Pletcher sends out Comfort (2-1), who beat second level optional claimers going this distance in his last start, which was his first start off a layoff. He won twice last year and was fourth in the Lexington (G3) at Keeneland in his lone stakes try. John Velazquez has the call and will break form the three post.
Kiaran McLaughlin sends out Brooklyn G2) third place finisher Elnaawi (7-2) who will break form the six post with Julian Leparoux aboard again.
Completing the field are Dontbetwithbruno (6-1), Allies Air Raid (10-1) and J S Bach (12-1).
The feature today is the Manila, which drew a field of eight, with seven slated to go on the turf with one main track only entrant.
Chad Brown sends out the morning line favorite Life Imitates Art (5-2), who won the Florida bred Sophomore Turf at Tampa Bay Downs in his last outing, but we will look for a bit more value with Too Discreet.
Let’s head out to Belmont Park for Monday’s featured race of the day:
Belmont Park Race 9 The Manila (Post time 5:45 ET)
#1 Too Discreet 7-2
#2 Giant Run 5-1
#3 Life Imitates Art 5-2
#8 Strike Midnight 5-1
Analysis: Too Discreet gets the call and it is tough to separate the top five in here. Our top pick is coming off a win in the seven-furlong Paradise Creek in his second start off an eight-month layoff. The colt came up short in his lone route, but that was in the Woodhaven where he weakened to finish fourth off the bench. He has plenty of pedigree to handle more ground, by Discreet Cat out of the stakes winner To Marquet ($198,236) that has dropped three other turf winners and two other stakes winners, top earner Discreet Marq ($1.2 million), a seven-time winner on turf.
Giant Run chased the early pace and weakened late to finish third in the Penn Mile (G3) last out behind a good one in Catch a Glimpse. It took five tries for this guy to break his maiden but he has run well in four stakes including winning the Cutler Bay and running a good second in the palm Beach (G3) in his first go against winners.
WIN: #1 to win at 3-1 or better.
EX: 1,2 / 1,2,3,8
TRI: 1,2 / 1,2,3,8 / 1,2,3,6,8
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