Belmont, Race 4: Claiming $35,000B at six furlongs for fillies and mares
I do worry about the pace of this race because Unbroken Dream and especially Talent N Passion are supposed to go from the inside with Inaflash in close pursuit. I do not know if my pick Evasive Cat (#7) can rate so perhaps she will have to try and outrun all three of those fillies to the front, but I do know that she’s better than she looks. In her race two back she was chasing a very fast pace that completely collapsed and then last time she was the main speed in a race filled with early zip and very nearly hung on. She was claimed out of that race by David Jacobson and is confidently bumped up in class today. I think there are some signs that she’s finally getting back to the good form she displayed at the start of her career and any move forward for David Jacobson will make her tough.
$15 Win 7
$4 Exacta Box 2/6 with 7
Belmont, Race 5: The Spite the Devil Stakes at one mile for NY-breds
I concede that Readtheprospectus is the most likely winner of this race, but it’s not as if he has some huge edge on this field. His speed figures have only ascended into the low-90s and you have to decide if you think he’s going to be ready to repeat his absolute best performance off this three and a half month layoff. I don’t think it would be wise to take a strong stand against him in the Pick-6, but he is likely going to be an underlay.
I’m more interested in Zetterholm (#2), who I regarded skeptically when he made his return to the races off a one-year layoff in the Saratoga Sunrise Stakes. All things considered, I thought he put in a fine effort. He probably does not going to go nine furlongs, but he still managed to put in a menacing run coming to the top of the stretch prior to flattening out. He’s worked well since that race and I think it’s a positive sign that John Velazquez climbs aboard today. There should also be a fair pace for him to run into with Night Maneuver, Spa City Fever, and Most Happy Fella all possessing early speed. The good Zetterholm may be every bit as good as the favorite yet he will be three or four times the price.
$10 Win 2
$4 Exacta 1/3/6 with 2
Belmont, Race 9: Optional Claiming $35,000/N2X at 1 1/16 miles on the turf for NY-breds
I liked Mia Poppy (#8) last time and was completely wrong as he faded to be off the board while his entrymate, Tiz Gianni, ended up running well to be second. However, in retrospect that race featured a very fast pace that completely collapsed and Mia Poppy never really had a chance to win given those dynamics. It’s always hard to predict paces around here, but Lemon Peel doesn’t appear fast enough to go with Mia Poppy and none of the others are really front running types. If David Cohen and Mia Poppy can control the pace, I think he is every bit as good as likely favorite Sneaky Kitten, who seems to have an aversion to winning races, and can wire the field.
$15 Win 8