Thursday’s Picks from Belmont Park

We kick off Derby Week with a solid nine race card at Belmont Park on Thursday afternoon, then the action really picks up on Friday which is Kentucky Oaks Day at Churchill Downs.

Friday’s 13-race card at Churchill Downs on Friday features six graded stakes highlighted by the $1.25 million Kentucky Oaks (G1) for three-year-old fillies which drew a stellar field of 14 that will go 1 1/8 miles on the main track. The NBC Sports Network will cover the action from 12:00 to 6:00 ET.

The Todd Pletcher trained Malathaat is the 5-2 morning line favorite for the Oaks. The filly is perfect in four starts, winning the Ashland (G1) at Keeneland on April 3 in her 2021 debut. Can she win the Oaks off just one start since last December?

The last Oaks winner to have just one prep as a three-year-old was Gal in a Ruckus in 1995. There is no doubt the Pletcher trainee is talented but there are several other fillies that are going to offer some value.

Among those is Clairere (5-1), the Steve Asmussen trainee who ran second in the Fair Grounds Oaks (G2) in her last outing. She won the Rachel Alexandra (G2) in her previous outing.

The top two finishers of the Gulfstream Park Oaks are going to be generous prices. The winner Crazy Beautiful is 15-1 on the morning line and the runner up Millefeuille is 20-1 on the morning line.

Search Results (3-1) is no slouch for the Chad Brown barn, undefeated in three starts and Travel Column (3-1) won the Fair Grounds Oaks.

The $3 million Kentucky Derby (G1) on Saturday drew a full field of 20, with the undefeated Essential Quality installed as the 2-1 morning line favorite. The betting favorite has won six of the last eight editions of the Run for the Roses, but there are plenty of other contenders worth considering. We will take a closer look tomorrow.

‘America’s Day at the Races” on FS2 will cover the action on Thursday from Aqueduct from 12:30 to 6:30 ET. You can also stream the action from Belmont Park today on YouTube or by using the TVG App. The horse betting company TVG is offering new players a 50% deposit match up to $250 .  In addition, AmWager is offering up to a $500 bonus for new horseplayers.

To purchase my Belmont Park Report for Thursday click here .

Now is the perfect time to purchase my Monthly Package. It gives you a month of Belmont Park Reports daily and my Best Plays Report each Saturday and Sunday and my Kentucky Oaks, Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes Reports.

Purchase my Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby Reports . My Oaks Day report is now available, and my Derby Day card will be posted by Thursday afternoon.

Here is the opener from Belmont Park to get the day off to a good start: 


Race 1 Md $40,000

  • #4 Big Easy Empire    3-1
  • #5 Holy Emperor   7-5
  • #8 Johnnypump   5-2
  • #7 Centurion   6-1

Analysis: Big Easy Empire returns off a 2 1/2-month break and catches an easier spot after a third last out at Fair Grounds against $50,000 foes in his second career start and first on turf. He was bumped early, tracked the early pace and finished up well. It does not appear to have been a very tough group, five have come back to run and none lading in the top four in their next starts. He is in good hands with the Stidham barn and is out of the dirt stakes winner Moon Philly ($354,979) who has dropped two winners including one turf winner. He gets a jock upgrade to Carmouche.

Holy Emperor exits a couple of tries for $50,000 at Santa Anita where he rallied to finish in the runner up spot in both outings. He has now come up short 14 times, landing in the money in five of those starts. Irad picks up the call for Falcone and this gelding has been competitive versus much tougher than these including a nose loss last August at the Spa versus maiden special weight company. The main knock is going to be the light price. 


Race 5 OClm $80,000N1X

  • #5 Caldee   5-2
  • #6 Siraneuse   5-1
  • #4 Island treasure   9-2
  • #3 Technical Analysis   7-5

Analysis: Caldee makes her first start since last November for the Cox barn that is 25% winners with runners coming back off a 61–180-day layoff. This gal broke her maiden at the Spa in her second career start and then was a good second in the Ms. Grillo (G2) in her first start against winners. Last out she prompted the early pace and weakened to finish fourth in the Chelsey Flower over soft ground here. The runner up Fluffy Socks came out of that race to Jimmy Durante (G3) in her next outing and then was beaten just a head in the Memories of Silver in her most recent start. This looks like a good spot for her return here.

Siraneuse stalked the early pace, came with a good run to take over the lead and draw away to break her maiden on the Tapeta in her debut at Turfway Park going a mile, sent off as the 3-1 favorite in a field of 10. Five have come out of that race to run back with one second and three fourths the best finishes. The $450,000 purchase is by Tapit out of an Unbridled's Song mare that has dropped one other dirt winner, no turf winners. She is in good hands with the Thomas barn that is 22% winners (with a +ROI) with runners making the firs start on grass. She should take to the surface switch and the 5-1 morning line looks fair enough. 


These are price plays for exotic players looking to find a couple of extra contenders to use in their Pick 4 or Pick 5 wagers. Or for those with smaller bankrolls, you might want to get in a small win wager. 

Belmont Park

  • R3: #4 Except Temptation   12-1
  • R3: #7 Lulus in Charge   10-1
  • R6: #6 Kitten’s Cat   12-1
  • R7: #6 Obsessed   12-1
  • R8: #5 Utmost   10-1
  • R9: #11 Clamor   15-1 

Good luck today!