Garrity's Saturday Stakes: The Belmont Park card features the Just a Game, Vagrancy, New York and True North
Our plays today are all at Belmont Park, which puts on a terrific Saturday card that includes four graded stakes. The headliner is the Grade 1 Just a Game, which trainer Chad Brown will try to win for the fourth consecutive year.
The weather forecast in New York this afternoon is iffy: it’s going to be hot, and it’s going to be humid, but the X factor is rain: Late Saturday morning, conditions were still good, but the radar was ominous, with showers and thunderstorms possible on Long Island all afternoon. We will say a novena and hope they can dodge the raindrops, and we’re playing for fast and firm. Let’s go.
Belmont Park, Race 7, 4:32 pm ET
Grade 3 Vagrancy Handicap, 6 ½ furlongs, dirt, Fillies & Mares 3 & Up
The Vagrancy drew a field of seven, and it’s a fascinating race to handicap. The 7/5 morning line favorite is 5-Come Dancing, who was probably the best female sprinter in New York last year, but who is coming off two disastrous races, and who as a 6-year-old, may have lost a step. She may win, but at a short price, we think she’s an underlay, and are looking elsewhere.
We like 1-Royal Charlotte, who starts for Chad Brown. She had a good 2019 campaign as a 3-year-old, and her first start as an older horse was a decent second in the Harmony Lodge Stakes at Belmont Park on June 5. That race was on a muddy track, which was probably not her favorite, but she still earned a decent speed figure, and if the track comes up fast, we think she’s sitting on a big race. She has a good combination of speed and closing ability, which should translate to a good stalking trip from her rail post. We will bet her to win at 7/2. The bet: Belmont Park, Race 7, $40 to win on 1-Royal Charlotte.
Belmont Park, Race 8, 5:04 pm ET
Grade 2 New York Stakes, 1 ¼ miles, Turf, Fillies & Mares 4 & Up
The New York has seven older females going ten furlongs on the inner turf course at Belmont, and while there isn’t a bad one in the bunch, we think that the pace is going to compromise the chances of most of the runners. There is less early speed here than in any race we’ve looked at in a month, and the early fractions may be the slowest of the Belmont Park meeting. There are a couple of very good closers in this field, but the lack of pace is going to make it very, very tough for any of them to win.
The projected pace makes 9/5 morning line favorite 1-Call Me Love an empty-your-pockets win play. She may set the pace, or she may be just off it, if the filly on the outside, 7-Mean Mary, wants the lead, but either way, the pace should be slow, and Call Me Love has shown in the past that she can finish strongly even near the lead. She will get first jump on the closers, squirting away at the top of the stretch, and the come-from-behinders just aren’t going to be able to catch her. We will bet Call Me Love to win, and we will do so enthusiastically. The bet: Belmont Park, Race 8, $60 to win on 1-Call Me Love.
Belmont Park, Race 9, 5:36 pm ET
Grade 2 True North Stakes, 6 ½ furlongs, Dirt, 4 & Up
Eight go in the True North, and in contrast to the race before it, this field has an abundance of early speed, so much, in fact, that we think the winner will be coming from off the pace. We like 4-Wait for It, a shipper from Parx who starts for trainer Ed Coletti. He does not have the name recognition of the favorites, nor does he have a glittering resume, but he tries hard every time he runs, and we think that the race is going to set up perfectly for him, especially since he’s cutting back to a sprint after running in a number of route races. Look for him to be toward the rear early, and moving late. We will bet him to win and to place at 12-1. The bet: Belmont Park, race 9, $15 to win/place on 4-Wait for It.
Belmont Park, Race 10, 6:08 pm ET
Grade 1 Just a Game Stakes, 1 mile, Turf, Fillies & Mares 4 & Up
Chad Brown starts the two favorites here, 6-Uni, who’s 7/5 after winning last year’s Breeders Cup Mile; and 4-Newspaperofrecord, who’s 8/5 after she made her 4-year-old debut a winning one, taking the Intercontinental Stakes at Belmont on June 5 in front-running fashion. We’re against both of them, at least from a wagering standpoint, as we have questions about the form of both, and they will both be very, very short prices. As always, when we identify underlays, we look elsewhere.
We like 1-Beau Recall. She’s a Brad Cox-trained 6-year-old mare who won a couple of big races last year, graded stakes at Churchill and Del Mar, which shows that she can compete at this level. She has a few races in her past performances that are less competitive, but we think those are strictly a function of pace: she’s a stretch-runner, and needs the right pace scenario to set up her late charge. We think she’ll get it today, and that makes her very live, at juicy 10-1 odds. We will bet her to win and to place. The bets: Belmont Park, Race 10, $25 to win/$10 to place on 1-Beau Recall.
That’s all for today. Until tomorrow, enjoy the racing, be safe, and, as always, good luck at the windows.