Belmont Park, Race 4: Maiden claiming $16,000 at one mile
I don’t have too much to say about this one other than that I don’t trust the favorites, D’Tiger (#5) and Secret Shifters (#7), so I’m going with the horse that is, to me, the next best alternative. Praetorian Guard (#8) is clearly bred for dirt, but has inexplicably spent four of his six starts racing over turf, without any success. His one in-the-money finish was a decent third behind Desert Storm in a maiden special weight at Belmont this spring. A repeat of that performance would probably win this even if the favorites are on their game. His subsequent dirt start was not as good, but it was also versus maiden special weight company and now he plunges in class to this $16,000 level. If the class relief moves him up at all, he will be tough to deny.
$10 Win 8
$2 Exacta Box 7-8
Belmont Park, Race 6: Claiming $16,000B at 1 1/16 miles on the turf
East Indies (#10), who has been a member of the “Horse to Watch” list since April, appears to have finally found a spot where he can be competitive today. The question is whether he still can run at all and whether or not his jockey, Wilmer Garcia, will take advantage of the huge pace edge he should have over the rest of the field. The horse in the race with the most natural ability is obviously Yankee Fortune but there are major red flags surrounding him as his form has declined in two recent starts and he now drops in claiming price from $35,000 down to this bottom level. He can win, but I won’t take him at a short price. Once you get past him, there really is no one in here to be scared of and I believe, provided East Indies gets to the front, he will have an excellent chance to pull off the upset.
$15 Win 10
$5 Place 10
Belmont Park, Race 8: Maiden special weight at seven furlongs on the turf
I’ve been waiting for In Speight Ofitall (#3) to be entered back in a turf sprint since his debut early in July when he showed a terrific turn of foot through the stretch to get up for second going six furlongs. After a failed experiment on dirt, he is now back on his preferred surface and should be very tough to hold off late. I would also give a long look to Lasso based on the company he was keeping in his two starts out in California and the obvious turf influence he gets from his sire, Rahy. However, it feels like every public handicapper is picking this horse and I expect him to be an underlay. Also, don’t completely dismiss another of my “Horses to Watch” in here, Relentless Road (#8). He set insane fractions in two routes at Saratoga while racing for a tag and now jumps back up into maiden special weight company. He should be in front early and perhaps the turnback in distance will work to his advantage.
$15 Win 3
$5 Win 8