Though the forecast is iffy, with a chance of rain and thunderstorms this afternoon, we are expecting fast dirt and firm turf. First post is 2:55 pm EDT.
Belmont Park returns this afternoon, and that there will be racing in New York again is an absolute delight. It’s the best card in the country today, highlighted by a graded stakes race, the Grade 3 Beaugay, and we are focusing our plays strictly on the racing in Elmont, New York. Though the forecast is iffy, with a chance of rain and thunderstorms this afternoon, we are expecting fast dirt and firm turf. Let’s go.
$10,000 Claiming, 6 ½ furlongs, Dirt, 3 & Up
This claiming race drew a full field of fourteen. 3-Business Cycle is a strong play: the 7-year-old gelding has been a hot commodity at the claiming box in recent months, getting claimed four times since November, and the reason he’s been popular is that he’s an admirably consistent horse who seems to run his race every time. We think his typical effort is good enough to win this, and we especially like the fact that trainer Gary Gullo, who claimed him for $10k out of a race at Aqueduct in March, hits at a robust 22% with horses making their first start after being claimed. We also like that Business Cycle cuts back from a mile in his last to 6 ½ furlongs here. Look for him to stalk the leaders, and to win with a strong stretch drive. We will bet him to win at 7/2. The bet: Belmont Park, Race 4, $35 to win on 3-Business Cycle.
Allowance, 1 1/16 miles, Turf, Fillies & Mares 3 & Up
This first-level turf allowance for females drew a field of eleven. It’s a terrific betting race, one where we think several runners are live at big prices. Our pick is one of them: 11-Hungry Kitten, who starts for trainer Shug McGaughey. She’s a closer who returned from a layoff last out, running second in an allowance at Tampa Bay Downs on April 4. We think she’s going to improve today, for two reasons: one is that there is more speed in this race, which should set up her late kick; the other, which is probably more important, is that Belmont Park’s wide, sweeping turf course has historically been much kinder to come-from-behinders than the grass at Tampa Bay. We think this 4-year-old daughter of Kitten’s Joy is in with a big chance today, and at 12-1, she is absolutely worth a play. We will bet her to win. The bet: Belmont Park, Race 6, $30 to win on 11-Hungry Kitten.
Grade 3 Beaugay Stakes, 1 1/16 miles, Turf, Fillies & Mares 4 & Up
The Beaugay field came up short, with only six entrants. Two of them are heavyweights: 1-Rushing Fall, who starts for Chad Brown, comes into the race after running in five consecutive Grade 1 races, winning three of them; and 3-Got Stormy, who comes from the Mark Casse barn is also a multiple Grade 1 winner. They are 6/5 and 7/5 on the morning line, prices that are probably fair. We are going to shoot for an upset, and we will do it with 4-Call Me Love, a British-bred 4-year-old filly making her North American debut after eight races in Italy. She won five of those races, including a couple of graded stakes, and finished third in the other three -- she’s never failed to hit the board in any of her races, and that is impressive, as the Group races in Italy are no joke. She’s trained by Christophe Clement, who’s good with horses debuting in the U.S., and is by Sea the Stars, one of the top turf sires in the world, so the breeding to compete at the sport’s highest level is certainly there. We think she may just have a chance to upset the favorites, and at 12-1, we will bet on it. We will play her to win. The bet: Belmont Park, Race 9, $40 to win on 4-Call Me Love.
That’s all for today. Until tomorrow, enjoy the racing, be safe, and, as always, good luck at the windows.