Two great days of racing at Big Sandy down and this awesome card to go. Two important observations regarding the dirt at Belmont. The first is that the rail is golden. The second is that speed is holding. Catalina Cruiser was the only runner to get up on the outside and he is a freak who proved Mick wrong. So track bias needs to be a big part of any handicapping considerations today. Throw out the deep closers on dirt (Sorry Mopotism and Proud Emma) and go with rail speed. That should go all the way through to the big race. One other angle to watch is the dominance of the sire Tapit in distance races today. He has been a leading sire for years but today gets the chance to have his offspring dominate a top race card. And lastly, today is all about Belmont. The other tracks can wait.
Weather: Mostly sunny to partly cloudy with lower humidity and pleasant temperatures.
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Belmont Race 7 (3:22 ET) – Acorn Stakes (G1)
1-Serengeti Empress gets the rail and a slow starter to her outside. How much better can it get for a filly that wants the lead and has shown she can get the trip? This is a really simple race to predict . . . if Lasix works again for 1-Serengeti Empress as it did last race but not the race before, then she wins, but what if it doesn’t? 3-Cookie Dough appears to be the lady in waiting here, especially given her early natural speed and excellent speed saving pilot. She may be best at 7f going forward but if she can grab the rail, it could carry her around. 5-Fancy Dress Party is late to the party but she could still be the belle of the ball. She is undefeated but goes beyond 7f for the first time. The works aren’t awesome coming in but do they need to be? At least she will keep the pace legitimate.
Belmont Race 7
$10 W/P/S 1-Serengeti Empress
$2 Exacta 1-3
$1 Trifecta box 1,3,5
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Belmont Race 8 (4:04) – Woody Stevens Stakes (G1)
3 year old boys at 7f. This is a fast group but there is a lot of class here, too. 1-Honest Mischief was slow to develop and broke his maiden last out but that was an impressive effort that landed the highest speed figure run by any of these. Have confidence in trainer Chad Brown to have this one properly placed since Juddmonte Farms has huge confidence in him to do just that. The early lick and the rail are huge positives as long as he breaks well. That has not been a problem in his previous starts. No one from the outside may get the trip so look for them underneath. 9-Mind Control is quality but the post hurts him immensely. 8-Hog Creek Hustle looks to be the closer in here and could get up for the minor awards and pay well for doing so.
Belmont Race 8
$10 W/P/S 1-Honest Mischief
$2 Exacta 1-9
$1 Trifecta box 1,8,9
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Belmont Race 9 (4:46) - Metropolitan Handicap (G1)
Let’s get ready to rumble! And a rumble it should be. 2-McKinzie and 3-Mitole are separated by a single post position and they may be separated by even less at the finish line. 3-Mitole has the gate speed advantage but 2-McKinzie is no slouch early. The advantage here goes to the horse cutting back in distance, 2-McKinzie. The race is too short for 5-Thunder Snow but he should hit the board with a late run as could 1-Coal Front.
Belmont Race 9
$10 W/P/S 2-McKinzie
$2 Exacta box 2,3
$1 Trifecta [2-3]/[2-3]/[1-5]
$0.10 Superfecta box 1,2,3,5
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Belmont Race 11 (6:37) - Belmont Stakes (G1)
Mick does not like a single horse in this race. There, he said it. Why? Because the good horses drew outside and that is not where you want to be and the unworthy drew inside. So this looks like a race that someone gets lucky in. 4-Tax is the most likely horse to get a dream trip inside and a rail shot. He has good tactical speed and should be close, the right place in this race. But is he good enough? On a fast track, he may be. 9-War of Will is a phenomenal athlete but was favored by post position in Baltimore. He can close but it will be tough with 10-Tacitus at his throatlatch coming for home.
Belmont Race 11
$10 W/P/S 4-Tax
$2 Exacta box 4,10
$1 Trifecta box 4,9,10
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Belmont Race 3 (12:47) - Easy Goer Stakes
6-Alwaysmining looks to get back into the win column after a less than stellar Preakness. The bad thing is that he didn’t belong in the Preakness. The worse thing may be that he only runs well at Laurel. If he belongs here and takes to the track, then he is the pick.
Belmont Race 4 (1:22) – Longines Just A Game Stakes (G1)
4-Rushing Fall has the best thing going for her that any older female runner can have, and that is Chad Brown as her trainer. That and the best class and speed figures in the race.
Belmont Race 5 (2:01) – Ogden Phipps Stakes (G1)
1-Come Dancing needs the lead and the rail draw should help but this is a huge class challenge for her because 2-Midnight Bisou will be with her every step of the way. Even with a five-horse field, this could be the most exciting stretch duel of the day.
Belmont Race 6 (2:41) – Jaipur Stakes (G1)
This is a challenge between recent form in 8-World of Trouble and back class in 6-Disco Partner. Age before beauty, going with the 6.
Belmont Race 10 (5:36) – Manhattan Stakes (G1)
So which Chad Brown runner wins this race? Try the French import, 7-Olympico, in an upset of heavy favorite 8-Bricks and Mortar. His Fort Marcy run was very good on a deep and tiring turf. Today will be different but the outcome will be the same.
Belmont Race 13 (8:00) – Brooklyn Invitational (G2)
It was 1-Marconi and 6-Rocketry in that order last time out and look for much the same here as the lightly race son of Tapit has awoken as a 4 year old. This could be a monster day for the sire who could prove he is the top sire of distance horses in America.