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The biggest weekend of the Belmont Park fall meet’s calendar is upon us this Saturday, September 28, 2019.
This year’s theme is “quality over quantity” because although the field sizes might be small, the talent level is top-notch. Several high-end horses will enter the gates in hopes of showing enough to convince their connections to head to the Breeders’ Cup.
A total of four stakes races will be held at Belmont Park on Saturday. Take a closer look at each one:
Trainer Luis Carvajal, Jr., enters #4 Imperial Hint (3/5) as the likely prohibitive favorite, thanks to defections that will cut the race down from its originally-drawn six entries to just four. The defending champion enters off of a record-breaking effort at Saratoga in his second straight Vanderbilt Handicap (G1) score.
“He’s come out of the Vanderbilt great and been training up to the Vosburgh in good form,” said trainer Luis Carvajal, Jr. “The timing of this race works perfect for us. He really gives his all. He gives 100% every time he runs, so we try to space his races out.”
TOP PICK: #4 Imperial Hint (3/5)
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All but a lock to be named the Eclipse Award winner for Older Female, #1 Midnight Bisou (2/5) will look to extend her unbeaten record in 2019 to seven. The Steve Asmussen trainee already stamped her ticket into the Breeders’ Cup Longines Distaff (G1) after a hard-fought effort put her on top in the Personal Ensign Stakes (G1) at Saratoga.
“I think, more than anything else, she has continued to both physically and mentally mature as she has gotten older,” said co-owner Jeff Bloom. “There’s really no magic to it. We’re pretty proud of her 3-year-old campaign, but certainly she’s much better this year. Oddly enough, she seems to get better with each race, including the Personal Ensign where she battled with Elate. One would think that would take something out of her, but she was jumping out her skin after the race. She’s just really continued to grow.”
TOP PICK: #1 Midnight Bisou (2/5)
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Without a doubt, the best betting action for a stakes event on Saturday’s card is the Pilgrim. Nine juvenile colts will enter the gate, led by #7 Structor (5/2) for top New York trainer Chad Brown. After earning a 60 Beyer for winning his turf debut at Saratoga on August 31, the Palace Malice offspring will try to continue to make good on his $850,000 price tag.
TOP PICK: #2 No Word (3/1)
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Despite only five horses entering the gate for the top race of the fall meet, this year’s edition is the toughest in recent memory. #2 Code of Honor (8/5) enters as the morning line favorite following his impressive victory in the Travers Stakes (G1) at Saratoga. The 3-year-old pupil of Shug McGaughey has done well in both starts at this distance, having placed second in the Kentucky Derby (G1).
“I think it’s a good spot for him,” McGaughey said. “It’s a small field so hopefully the speed will show a little bit. We’ll just let him run his race. He came out of the Travers fine and he’s coming back a month off of that effort but he seems to be doing really well. I think he’ll run his race, and we’ll see if he’s good enough. There are some nice horses in the field but if he goes over there and runs his race I think they’ll know he’s in there.”
TOP PICK: #2 Code of Honor (8/5)
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Get our FREE PICKS for the rest of the Belmont Park card here. Plus get PREMIUM PICKS Saturday for Belmont Park and an additional 24 tracks all for one low price here.
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