Big day today . . .
Belmont Park takes the main stage, with five graded stakes, but there's plenty of good action elsewhere. There's so much good stuff, in fact that we need to get right to it. We'll look at some of the stakes races, and we'll also take a swing at the Cross Country Pick 5, which includes races from Belmont and Delaware Park.
We will note that we are handicapping for fast and firm everywhere. Let's go . . .
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Belmont Park Race 7 (4:30 p.m. ET) − The Belmont Oaks (G1)
1 1/4 miles, turf, 3-year-old females
Man, what a field this is: Four international runners, three from Europe and one from Japan, line up against five Americans. It will be fascinating to see how 2-Newspaperofrecord and 4-Concrete Rose, who are probably the best two 3-year-old turf fillies in America, fare against the horses from abroad.
We have noted this before, but we believe that the best American turf horses are a cut below the best turf horses in Europe. That is why we are going with French invader 1-Olendon here. This daughter of Irish stallion Le Havre is trained by ace conditioner Pascal Bary, and when Monsieur Bary ships a horse to the United States, one needs to pay attention − he does not come here to see the sights. Olendon looks to us like the most dangerous kind of Euro invader there is, a horse whose connections bring to America looking for firmer turf than they get over there. We think we're going to see something special in this one, and we will back Olendon eagerly and enthusiastically. We will bet her to win at 9-2.
Belmont Park Race 7
$40 W on 1-Olendon
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Belmont Park Race 8 (5:05 p.m. ET) − The John A. Nerud Stakes (G2)
7 furlongs, dirt, 3 and up
9-Promises Fulfilled is a strong play in this one. He was last seen finishing fourth in the Metropolitan Handicap at Belmont, but in that case, fourth is not bad. The field of the Met Mile was the deepest we've seen in quite some time. He's in against a much less robust group here, and he gets the coveted outside post. Go to the window − we will be betting Promises Fulfilled to win at 2-1.
Belmont Park Race 8
$25 W on 9-Promises Fulfilled
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Belmont Park Race 9 (5:44 p.m. ET) − The Belmont Derby (G1)
1 1/4 miles, turf, 3-year-olds
This is a crackling good race. A sign of the quality of this field is that 13-Digital Age, a Chad Brown trainee who's undefeated in three career starts, is 9-2 on the morning line. In another spot, we'd expect him to closer to even money. That he's 9-2 rather than odds-on shows that he's facing some salty runners here.
We like another Chad Brown runner here, 12-Demarchelier. LIke his stablemate, he is undefeated in three career starts, and the way he has won those races, particularly the way he finished in them, makes us think that he will relish the 10 furlongs here. He's a juicy 6-1 on the morning line, which we will jump all over. We will bet him to win.
Belmont Park Race 9
$40 W on 12-Demarchelier
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Belmont Park Race 10 (5:18 p.m. ET) − The Suburban Stakes (G2)
1 1/4 miles, dirt, 4 and up
The 9-5 favorite in this one is 1-Catholic Boy, an admirably consistent horse who has won stakes races on both turf and dirt. He will be tough, but we prefer the horse next to him, 2-Preservationist. This 6-year-old has never run this far, but we think he will love the distance − we think, in fact, that he may be a factor in the handicap division for the rest of the year. We will bet him to win at 5-1.
Belmont Park Race 10
$25 W on 2-Preservationist
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Delaware Park Race 7 (4:37 p.m. ET) − The Delaware Oaks (G3)
1 1/16 miles, dirt, 3-year-old females
The headliner here is 5-Jaywalk, winner of last year's Breeders Cup Juvenile Fillies and last year's champion juvenile filly.
But what do we do with her here? She has not been the same horse in 2019 as she was in 2018. She's run three times this year, and she's flopped in all of them, twice at a very short price. Maybe she's back, but taking a short price (she's 6-5 on the morning line) on a horse with a shaky record is not our idea of a good time.
We are instead going with a filly whose recent form is superb. That's 4-Fashion Faux Pas, who last out won the Light Hearted Stakes at Delaware Park by an eye-popping 14 1/2 lengths. We think she's ready for a repeat, and that will put her in the winner's circle here. We will bet her to win at 5-2.
Delaware Park Race 7
$20 W on 4-Fashion Faux Pas
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Delaware Park Race 8 (5:12 p.m.) − The Robert G. Dick Memorial (G3)
1 3/8 miles, turf, Females 3 and up
We like 3-Gaining in this spot. This Brad Cox trainee has finished second in her last two starts, both in stakes races, but we think she breaks through here. Both of her prior starts were longer − a mile-and-a-half for each − and we think this slight cutback in distance will help her. We see her stalking the leaders, taking over the race at the top of the stretch, and holding off the late runners. We will bet her to win at 3-1.
Delaware Park Race 8
$25 W on 3-Gaining
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Cross Country Pick 5 (4:37-6:18 p.m.)
This is a nice way to play the Pick 5 without all the waiting. Using races from two tracks allows the post times to be closer together than they can be with all the races at one venue. And it has a very fan-friendly 15% takeout.
Here is Our PIck 5 Ticket:
Belmont Oaks (BP7): 1 (Olendon), 2 (Newspaperofrecord)
Delaware Oaks (DP7): 3 (Avalina), 4 (Fashion Faux Pas), 5 (Jaywalk)
Robert G. Dick Memorial (DP8): 3 (Gaining)
Belmont Derby (BP9): 3 (Seismic Wave) 5 (Plus Que Parfait), 12 (Demarchelier), 13 (Digital Age), 14 (Rockemperor)
Suburban (BP10): 1 (Catholic Boy), 2 (Preservationist)
The Ticket By The Numbers:
[1/2] – [3/4/5] –  – [3/5/12/13/14] – [1/2]
This is 60 combinations, and we will play it at the 50-cent level, for a total investment of $30.
That's all for today. Good luck at the windows.
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