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Jockey Irad Ortiz rides Diversify to the 2017 Jockey Club Gold Cup victory (Susie Raisher)
Jockey Irad Ortiz rides Diversify to the 2017 Jockey Club Gold Cup victory (Susie Raisher)|NYRA
Thoroughbreds

Throughbreds Saturday - McMudders Picks Belmont, Laurel, Parx, Delaware Park, Monmouth

Mick McMudder

Mick McMudder

Playing the jockey angle. With virtually every venue in play, following the jockeys can be a great way to determine which horses are well meant by their connections. If a jockey shows up where they don’t usually ride − Alex Cintron in Canada for instance − it means that it is a big race day or the horse is very well intentioned, or both. What it means at that rider’s regular track can be even more enlightening since somebody needs to pick up those mounts. For example, there are only 13 named riders at Belmont today and four of those have single mounts. So this sets up to be the hot jockey day. Look for someone to run off six or seven wins. Leading candidates? Irad Ortiz at Belmont, Nik Juarez at Monmouth, Carol Cedeno at Delaware, and Trevor McCarthy at Laurel. But then again, the best riders get the best mounts . . . That is only magnified on days like today.

Weather: Sunny and humid with late day storms. Last night’s storms seem to have affected each venue differently.

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Belmont Park Race 4 (3:08 p.m. ET)

3-Gleason looks ultra tough on paper but he has been off for a while for repairs and loses his regular pilot. Trainer Todd Pletcher is tough with 90+ days away (31%) but 6th career start at 4 tells Mick that this one has issues. 4-Mandatory Payout gets the aforementioned Irad Ortiz but is taking a huge step up in class from a maiden $20K score. Trainer Rob Atras is not as successful at Belmont as he was at The Big A but he is 38% first after the maiden score. 1-Spectator Sport goes out for new connections for the first time and this is Kendrick Carmouche’s only mount of the day. He will look to prove connections were right for tapping him here.

Belmont Park Race 4
$10 W/P/S 4-Mandatory Payout
$2 Exacta box 1,4
$1 Trifecta box 1,3,4

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Laurel Race 1 (1:10 p.m.)

3-Homeofthe Lombardi gets everything his way here. Early pace to set up his close, top rider and favorable post. 4-Picky Picky Picky stands to move up in second outing. 7-Stacksdenero needs to get a favorable trip since 6f may be too far. Should stay around for lesser.

Laurel Race 1
$10 W/P/S 3-Homeof the Lombardi
$2 Exacta box 3,4
$1 Trifecta box 3,4,7

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Parx Race 7 (3:37 p.m.)

5-Nth Degree gets a pilot change to the en fuego John Bisono (27% at Parx). This one has been knocking and the new driver puts her over the line first. 9-Whitney Cove drops out of Stakes company but gets stretched a furlong beyond where she appears most dangerous. Bet her at the quarter pole, not the finish line. 7-Calusa Ridge arrives from Indiana Grand where she won a first level allowance last out. These are tougher and the colony is tougher but getting leading rider Frankie Pennington helps.

Parx Race 7
$10 W/P/S 5-Nth Degree
$2 Exacta box 5,9
$1 Trifecta box 5,7,9

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Delaware Race 2 (1:45 p.m.)

Super cheap maidens do not typically interest Mick but they have been paying bombs recently at Delaware so here it goes. 5-Confusion is always a good place to start with these kind. He showed new life last out and gets cut in half here. Concerns about the pilot are outweighed by the ride on this one last time. 2-Bolter has a terrible name, especially if it indicates behavior, but gets a good rider and was close last time. Should be rolling late. 3-Sunni Blaze came close last time but everything went right for this one. Pedigree says more ground so it may not be time for this son of Premium Wine. The entry belongs on the bottom of the long exotics.

Delaware Race 2
$10 W/P/S 5-Confusion
$2 Exacta box 2,5
$1 Trifecta box 2,3,5
$0.10 Superfecta box 1,2,3,5

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Monmouth Race 6 (3:12 p.m.)

6-San Elijo gets cut in half and the return of jockey Nik Juarez. That should be enough in this weak group but the addition of blinkers should help, too. 2-Star Player is hard to get a bead on. This is a significant raise. A step up puts him in contention, a step back puts him in last. 3-Beacos Disco Pants was better at Delaware. He needs to find that form here.

Monmouth Race 6
$10 W/P/S 6-San Elijo
$2 Exacta box 2,6
$1 Trifecta box 2,3,6

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MICK’S QUICKIES

Monmouth Race 10 (5:15 p.m.) − Friendly Lover Handicap
4-Evil Monkey doesn’t run bad races but he has been sleeping through 2019 so far. Today he wakes up.

Delaware Race 4 (2:45 p.m.)
1-Bold Stroke runs for 50% trainer Ricky Hendricks. If Ricky keeps this up, he may need to forget about hurdles.

Belmont Race 6 (4:12 p.m.)
1-Free Enterprise is a firster for Chad Brown that has been training with the B team at Monmouth. Breeding and purchase price say this one was supposed to be good.