God's Tipster's Saturday Belmont Park picks: Longshots in Belmont Stakes, True North, Brooklyn, Jaipur, more
Friday’s Race Recap from Belmont Park:
(All odds US)
Race 4: 3rd@ 12.70/1
Race 6: 2nd@ 27.50/1
Race 7: SCRATCH
Race 8: 3rd@ 7.90/1
Race 9: 6th@ 6.70/1
Race 10: 4th@ 4.50/1
In Race 4, heavily favored In Italian took them coast to coast winning yet another Grade 1 race. She wasn’t really pressed early and had plenty left in the tank late. In Race 6, Collaborate was taken well off the pace while favored Rotknee got a free pass on the lead. Collaborate came with a flying finish to grab second at 27/1 odds. Had someone pressed Rotknee early we would’ve been set for the weekend. In Race 7 we scratched. In Race 8 we were right to go against heavily favored War Like Goddess first time at Belmont but finished third with the “other” Chad Brown runner, McKulick. In Race 9, Randomized raced near the pace but never really factored as the Kentucky Oaks winner Pretty Mischievous wore down Munnys Gold and Dorth Vader for the win. In Race 10, Joel Rosario sat mid-pack with Amazing Grace early and gave her a perfect rail-skimming ride to take the lead turning for home but the two-mile distance got to her late and she faded to fourth.
Through the hazy smoke I see a Belmont Stakes champion striding down the stretch. WELCOME to a unique edition of the Belmont Stakes. We’ve had to deal with smoke and haze from the Canadian wildfires but we’ve made it to the “Test of the Champion”. A mile-and -a-half on the Belmont main track. We’ve got a STACKED card of races and with all of the cancellations these last few days I’ve handicapped a ton of races today. Let’s MAKE SOME MONEY!!!
Race 1: Romeinaday - 1 pt win (US Morning Line Odds: 20/1)
Our Belmont Stakes day kicks off with an unassuming turf sprint for maiden fillies and mares at 6 furlongs. None of the runners with prior experience look overwhelmingly imposing so I’m going to kick off the day with a longshot breaking on the inside, Romeinaday. This three-year-old daughter of Carpe Diem (11% with turf sprinters) was purchased for $180,000 which is more than 50 times Carpe Diem’s stud fee. So someone obviously saw something they liked. She debuts for the John Terranova barn which is winning at 15% on the year but has won with 24% of his turf sprinters over the last year and 16% of his debut runners. Romeinaday has a sneaky-fast drill buried in her workouts on February 19 from the gate and has been kept breezing every morning with no workouts marked “handily.” If she breaks poorly, she has no chance so a lot will depend on how she breaks, but if she can show speed from her inside post for these underrated connections she can start our day with a bang!
Race 3: Fearless - 1 pt win (US Morning Line Odds: 15/1)
The Grade 2 True North at 6½ furlongs is our sprint stake on dirt for older horses on today’s card. It features the return of Grade 1 Breeders Cup Sprint winner Elite Power and while that one is our 4/5 morning line favorite, his speed figures don’t exactly tower over his rivals today. He’s a nice horse but he did benefit from favorable pace setups in his major stakes wins last year including the Breeders’ Cup Sprint. He beat up on an overmatched field in the Vosburgh setting ordinary fractions while finishing up 7 furlongs in 1:23.4 and he was held back from today’s Grade 1 Met Mile because trainer Bill Mott felt the distance might be too long for him coming off a layoff. Strobe is a nice alternative, but he hasn’t yet shown the ability to win from off the pace and it’s highly unlikely he’ll have the early lead today over Today’s Flavor. Fearless is an interesting runner. A Grade 2 winner at a mile, they set him up to race marathons last year and he won the Grade 2 Brooklyn on Belmont day 2022. Many think they’re simply using this as a prep for longer and that may be the case but there are plenty of sprint races on the racing calendar. Why choose a Grade 2 against such tough company? Well, his speed figures fit well with these. Last year at today’s mile distance he finished second to Grade 1 winning Speaker’s Corner twice while that one was at the top of his game. With all the speed lined up here, his late closing running style should play favorably. The question is - will he be too far behind early to make an impact? He’s never been one to come from too far back and he’s running for dangerous connections. Upset special!
Race 6: Portos - 1 pt win (US Morning Line Odds: 15/1)
The 1½ mile Grade 2 Brooklyn is one of two mile-and-a-half races on today’s card and while the Belmont Stakes features 6 of 9 runners with long distance specialist Tapit in their bloodlines, this field of 11 only features 3, with Portos being the only one directly sired by Tapit. Tapit of course has sired 4 Belmont Stakes winners to date so they have a knack for navigating today’s distance here at Belmont. Portos has been a bit of a disappointment in his career. He began his career for Todd Pletcher who got him into marathon races but never really broke through. He was eventually claimed and raced around the U.S. – in Louisiana and Texas before recently returning to New York. He’s now running for new connections: Tom Morley and Flying P Stables with whom Morley has had success. Together, they’ve won 6 of 27 dirt routes on this New York racing circuit (22%), at an average payoff of $17.22. Here at Belmont they’re 3 for 6 (50%) with an average payoff of $25 (bolstered by wins by a runner named Locally Owned whom they also purchased from higher profile connections and turned into a successful marathoner.
Race 8: General Jim - 1 pt win (US Morning Line Odds: 7/2)
The Grade 1 Woody Stephens at 7 furlongs for three-year-olds came up a corker of a race with 13 entrants. We’ve got plenty of early speed and a few stalkers without a ton of late pace. I liked General Jim last time out when he won the Grade 2 Pat Day Mile on Kentucky Derby day and I like him again here. I’m hoping Luis Saez can sit the right trip and keep him out of trouble and he did a pretty nice job of that when he faced a similar sized field last time out. General Jim battled down to the wire with Fort Bragg and gradually wore down that stubborn foe. After a brief look at the Kentucky Derby trail, trainer Shug McGaughey popped blinkers on this guy and turned him into an elongated sprinter and he’s been an impressive 2 for 2. This is his second run off a layoff so as impressive as his last start was, I’m looking for even better run today.
Race 9: Mid Day Image - 1 pt win (US Morning Line Odds: 30/1)
The Grade 1 Jaipur is a 6 furlong turf sprint and drew a Breeders’ Cup quality field of turf sprinters. I’m swinging for the fences today with Mid Day Image at 30/1. After all it’s not every day you get 30/1 odds on a runner who’s won 3 in a row and 11 of 21 on turf. Mid Day Image has spent most of his career as a middle-distance turf runner but was privately purchased and moved to the red hot barn of David Jacobson (37% wins) where he quickly won a turf sprint at Laurel and then another here at Belmont just a week and a half ago. Jacobson has fantastic numbers with turf sprinters winning at a 28% clip (5 for 18). He has enough early speed to establish good position near the favorable inside and if he can have the lead turning for home with the rail he could prove tough to reel in.
Race 10: Cody’s Wish - 1 pt win (US Morning Line Odds: 7/5)
The Grade 1 Met Mile is always one of the best races on the New York racing calendar and this year is no different. Cody’s Wish is our deserving heavy favorite of five straight wins including three straight Grade 1 victories. Last time out he had a cakewalk when facing lesser foes than he’ll meet here, but I think he simply outclasses his rivals once again today. He’s been working up a storm in preparation for this. Not much else to say other than it’s a terrific story. If you don’t know the amazing story behind this horse and ownership, please read it here:
Race 11: Up to the Mark - 1 pt win (US Morning Line Odds: 8/5)
The Grade 1 Manhattan is run at a mile-and-a-quarter on the inner turf. I like Up to the Mark here. He’s been a revelation since trying turf. Quickly graduating through the ranks from optional claimer in January to Grade 1 winner last time out in May on the Kentucky Derby undercard. Up to the Mark looked like a winner for much of the race that day and won under hand urging. Today will be his first time trying a mile and a quarter and he’ll have to deal with Ottoman Fleet who’s no slouch in his own right shipping in and making his second start in the U.S., but to me I don’t think we’ve seen the best of Up to the Mark yet.
Race 12: Tapit Shoes - 1 pt win (US Morning Line Odds: 20/1)
The Grade 1 Belmont Stakes is nicknamed the “Test of the Champion” and features a competitive group of nine three-year-olds. This was a fun race to handicap because to me, on paper I see scenarios where eight out of nine of these runners can win. Il Miracolo appears overmatched. Of the other eight runners there’s about ten speed figure points that separate the best from the worst and as an added wrinkle, several on the lower side of the speed figure scale appear as if they’ll improve with today’s added ground. I’m looking for value here and to me Tapit Shoes fits that profile. Tapit Shoes hails from the barn of Brad Cox who won this race just two years ago with Essential Quality and seems the forgotten member of this barn with Angel of Empire and Hit Show likely to take more support at the windows. I loved his last race at Oaklawn where he battled on the pace from the start putting away the speedy Two Eagles River and Victory Formation (who sprints in the Grade 1 Woody Stephens earlier on today’s card) before gamely holding on til the very end to just get nipped by Red Route One, who had the perfect setup. Tapit Shoes has the rail post and dangerous early speed along with a rider change to Jose Ortiz, who’s winning at 27% for the meet. His sire Tapit has already produced four Belmont Stakes winners. His dam, Awesome Flower, ran 33 times in her career and running as far as a mile-and-an- eighth. That longest race on dirt also produced her top dirt speed figure. Distance is no concern. He’s a half-brother to multiple Grade 1 winning Cyberknife and is coming into this race as under-the-radar as a horse can come in. I give him a big shot if he can beat National Treasure to the lead early or sit just off that one from his rail post.
Race 13: Curly Larry and Moe - 1 pt win (US Morning Line Odds: 8/1)
New York bred runners close out the Belmont Stakes card racing a mile-and-a-sixteenth on turf. I liked Curly Larry and Moe Friday when he scratched, and I like him again today. He’s a New York-bred runner who’s been running against better who broke his maiden first-time turf going a furlong longer than he’ll go today. After his maiden score he was vaulted into the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf where he set the pace until the far turn. From there he faced recently stakes placed Far Bridge who would be 1/9 against these. Connections tried their luck at getting some Kentucky Derby points on dirt in the Grade Lexington before trying stakes company last time out on turf in Indiana. He’ll almost “soitenly” be overlooked in the wagering from his outside post and owns the best early speed of any of them. If he pulls off this upset, we’ll be “nyuk nyuk nyuk-ing” it up in the winner’s circle.
Best of luck to all our members playing Belmont Stakes Day at Belmont Park!!