There is no Triple Crown in the balance, but a field of 14 will line up Saturday in the $1 million Belmont Stakes (G1) including Kentucky Derby winner Orb and Preakness winner Oxbow.
Seven runners that participated in the Derby and bypassed the Preakness will be in action, and we have the filly Unlimited Budget taking on the boys, as well as Freedom Child, who romped in the Peter Pan (G2) at Belmont Park on May 11 by 13 ¼ lengths.
The undercard is outstanding as well, with four graded stakes including the $500,000 Woodford Reserve Manhattan Handicap (G1), a 1 ¼ mile event on the turf that attracted a strong field of ten. Point of Entry, a three time Grade 1 winner last year who ran second to Little Mike in the Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1) is the 3-5 morning line favorite.
The $400,000 True North Handicap (G2) drew a field of seven quality sprinters including Justin Phillip, Fast Bullet, Sage Valley and Caixa Eletronica.
We will see one of the classiest fields of the day in the $500,000 Longines Just a Game (G1). Five of the seven in the field are Grade 1 winners including west coast invader Mizdirection.
The $400,000 Woody Stephens (G2) drew a field of 11 three-year-olds who will go seven furlongs on the main track. The field is led by the Todd Pletcher duo of Forty Tales and Capo Bastone, who were separated by just a neck in the Derby Trial (G3) on April 27.
I will have my full card report for Belmont Stakes Day available by Friday morning.
Analysis: Rodinia tracked the early pace and did not have enough punch left in the stretch in a fourth place finish last out against restricted $25,000 foes in her first start off a 5 1/2 month layoff. She finished behind a couple of these but was only beaten 1 1/4 lengths for the top spot. She comes back here with blinkers added and figures to be tighter second off the bench. She was claimed out of her last outing by the Martin barn that is 2 for 21 first off the claim dating back three years. The filly broke her maiden going a mile on the grass at the Big A back in '11 and has gone winless in 11 starts since but looks like a good fit in this spot.
Wickapecko faces winners for the first time here after breaking her maiden for a $35,000 tag last out in her seventh career outing. She looks headed in the right direction form wise and does not need to move forward much off her maiden score to win right back against this weak looking group.
WIN: #4 to win at 3-1 or better.
EX: 4,6 / 3,4,6,7
TRI: 4,6 / 3,4,6,7 / 3,4,6,7,8
Today's Featured Race of the Day from Belmont Park:
Analysis: Assured Victory set the early fractions and weakened to finish fifth last out on the main track going a mile against restricted $20,000 foes. The gelding cuts back to a sprint and returns to the grass. His last go on turf was a win versus $16,000 starter allowance foes at Atlantic City last spring. He has won two of his five starts on turf and is going to be a decent price in this spot.
Ziptronic went gate to wire to beat $25,000 non-winners of three or a race on turf since Oct. 27. The gelding was making his first start off a six month layoff for the Contessa barn. The gelding has won three of his nine trips over the grass here and looks capable of winning right back.
WIN: #4 to win at 9-2 or better.
EX: 4,5 / 3,4,5,6
TRI: 4,5 / 3,4,5,6 / 3,4,5,6,7
These are price plays for exotic players looking to find a couple of extra contenders to use in their trifecta and superfecta wagers. Or for those with smaller bankrolls, you might want to get in a small win-place wager.
Mike DempseyMike covers the New York racing circuit (Aqueduct, Belmont Park, and Saratoga) year round as well as Keeneland, Churchill Downs, the Triple Crown, and the Breeders' Cup. The 2015 Triple Crown saw Mike correctly predict American Pharoah to win both the Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes. Mike nailed the Exacta and Trifecta in the Belmont Stakes. Mike had a solid 2014 Triple Crown race season, correctly picking the winning horse in 2 of 3 races. He selected I'll Have another to win The Preakness, and nailed Union Rags to win the Belmont Stakes as his top pick. Mike also had past succes in the Kentucky Derby, winning with Animal Kingdom in 2011 and rode his top picks, Super Saver and Street Sense, to the finish line in 2010 and 2007 respectively. No handicapper in the industry works harder to bring you analysis that produces profits at the track! Mike's Reports include his selections, detailed analysis, a fair odds line, and wagering recommendations for the entire card. Join Mike each day with daily picks from Belmont and Churchill Downs or capture the 2nd jewel in the Triple Crown with Mike's Preakness Stakes package. You can also get his Weekend Best Plays Report in his Multi-Track package or sit at the track with him for 30 Days with his Monthly Horse Package!
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Jerry SessaJerry "Shots" Sessa has been involved in horse racing for over 30 years. He now brings his meticulous handicapping style to VegasInsider.com. When Jerry posts picks you are getting his best bets...when you win, he wins. Jerry opened the 2016 Triple Crown season by hitting his Derby Day best bet, Nyquist. He also nailed the Derby exacta for a $30.60 payout. On 4/16/16 at Keeneland, Jerry hit an $819 exacta that led to a $38k Trifecta & a $300k Super.
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