Sunny Ridge eases to victory in the 2018 State Dinner Stakes at Belmont Park (Chelsea Durand)
Sunny Ridge eases to victory in the 2018 State Dinner Stakes at Belmont Park (Chelsea Durand)|NYRA

Thoroughbreds Sunday - McMudder Picks at Belmont Park, Laurel, Monmouth

Mick McMudder

Mick McMudder

Earthquakes are not a laughing matter but people’s reactions to them can be.

When the 7.1 trembler struck Las Vegas on Saturday night there were two sporting events being aired live, the NBA Summer League and the World Series of Poker. The reactions at the two venues were completely different. The NBA suspended the games because some audio speakers were swaying but the roof would have fallen in before anyone at the RIO was leaving their seats. Proving once and for all, gamblers gamble. And horseplayers bet. Which means to do it profitable over time, you need to be very selective. Mick failed to be sufficiently selective Saturday, got spread too thin before the profitable races even came his way. Hopefully, you did better with bank roll management. Mick will do better Sunday.

Weather: More sunny, less humid, lower chance of storms. Yay!

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Belmont Race 8 (4:18 p.m. ET) – State Dinner Stakes

When a 5 year old is making his seventh career start after an 11 month layoff and two poor races, the punters need to think very hard about other horses to back. 6-Sunny Ridge is the on form horse here having won a G3 last out. He won this race last year. But most importantly, jockey Jose Lezcano is winning 60% of the time for trainer Jason Servis. 3-Candygram comes in on a good form cycle, got a brief freshener, and is trained by an upset winner of a big race this weekend, James Jerkins. 5-Just Whistle lands here rather than in a similar stake at Delaware Saturday. Did trainer Michael Matz keep the better horse home or is this the better one?

Belmont Race 8
$10 W/P/S 6-Sunny Ridge
$2 Exacta box 3,6
$1 Trifecta box 3,5,6

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Laurel Race 3 (2:10 p.m.)

This is a race that could be titled the battle of the two droppers. 7-The Robert ran a stinker last out and has shown declining form since coming north and switching to dirt. In addition, he has been training at Delaware, which is trainer Claudio Gonzalez’s B team, so he is not well considered by connections. 3-Kingston Pike is a different kind of dropper. He is ultra consistent but has been a cut below his competition. So rather than try again, his connections have dropped him to a more productive level. 2-Lead Astray is another dropper that seems to have significant distance limitations making this distance a concern.

Laurel Race 3
$10 W/P/S 3-Kingston Pike

$2 Exacta box 3,7
$1 Trifecta box 2,3,7

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Monmouth Race 8 (4:10 p.m.)

A classic battle of young versus old. 2-Stay Smart represents the young, a 3 year old filly first off her maiden breaker. 1-Banana Anna represents the old. A 7 year old mare making her 48th career start, many being in the lower claiming ranks. But this is a State bred restricted race so they are running for almost $60K with very little competition. 4-Channel Surfing deserves consideration just for the connections but appears to be behind the top two.

Monmouth Race 8
$10 W/P/S 1-Banana Anna

$2 Exacta box 1,2
$1 Trifecta box 1,2,4

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Belmont Race 3 (1:34 p.m.)
2-The Joke’s On You takes his maiden voyage with a suspect group. Doesn’t need to be much to win here.

Belmont Race 9 (4:51 p.m.)
1-My Happy Place towers over this group. Even without an entry mate.

Monmouth Race 4 (2:10 p.m.)
3-Rhythm Park has found some old mojo since coming off the self but the switch back to dirt is a concern. On his better days, the best here.

Laurel Race 7 (4:10 p.m.)
7-Bull Shark is either better than these or will get exposed here. Based on connections, go with the first.

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