Belmont Park, Race 9: NY-bred Allowance N1X at 1 1/8 miles on turf
This was one of the few races that was left on the turf after torrential downpours yesterday so I’m looking for a horse that can not only handle the distance, but also the course conditions. Sandyinthesun (#1) is probably going to be about 20-1 when this field leaves the gate, but I think he has a big chance to win. I always like to root for this horse because he is the only horse currently in the stable of former jockey Robbie Davis and I think he’s finally found a spot where he can excel. He broke his maiden over a course labeled “good” at Aqueduct last year and I believe that his first two races this year served as perfect preps for this. First, he was brought back sprinting, which is just not his game, and last time he was in against a tougher field and was only beaten 2 lengths by likely favorite Unbridled Command. With another step forward, the added ground, and a positive jockey switch to Irad Ortiz, Jr., I think Sandyinthesun could come through for an upset.
Belmont Park, Race 10: The Mother Goose Stakes at 1 1/16 miles
On paper, the Mother Goose plays out to be a virtual match race between Believe You Can (#1) and Contested (#2). Some may argue that Zo Impressive will have a fairer shot with more pace, but I think she just doesn’t want to run much farther than a mile. Disposablepleasure had trouble in the Black Eyed Susan and was probably best, but I just don’t think she’s as good as the top two here.
Contested is probably going to be favored and may be a real underlay due to her undefeated record on conventional dirt and two triple-digit Beyers in a row. However, she has had two perfect trips in a row and now must negotiate 1 1/16 miles on a tiring racetrack. Believe You Can, on the other hand, has proven that she can go the distance and she showed the versatility to stalk another horse in her Kentucky Oaks win last time. She also won over a very similar surface to what she will face today in last fall’s Tempted Stakes in the mud at Belmont. These two look to be very close in ability, but I’m going to take Believe You Can in this spot because of the likely discrepancy in prices.
Race 11: Claiming $20,000 at 1 1/16 miles on turf
“Horse to Watch” Winloc’s John Lee (#13) may be overmatched in the spot because it came up a very salty $20,000 claimer. However, I’ve been waiting for him to get back in a turf route, which finally happens here, so I need to throw a few bucks on him. He was performing quite well in maiden claiming turf routes near the end of last year and just sort of got lost over the winter running in dirt sprints. He got back on turf for one sprint earlier in the meet, but he was left at the gate that day and could never make up any ground. This distance should suit him better. I just hope the competition isn’t too tough.
$5 Win 13