Race Previews

Belmont Oaks Preview: Wide Open Field Sets Sights on Grade 1 Event

Paved Winning the Grade 2 Honeymoon Stakes at Santa Anita (Credit: ©Benoit Photo)

The Grade 1, $1 million Belmont Oaks is slated for race 8 with an approximate post time of 5:46 p.m. ET this Saturday and will air nationally on NBC, followed by the Grade 2 $700,000 Suburban Handicap and the Grade 1, $1.2 million Belmont Derby Invitational. A solid field of 10, which includes seven graded stakes winners, will look to pick up this major win at 1 1/4 miles over the inner turf track.

Trainer Chad Brown sends out a pair of solid runners in Significant Form and Mighty Scarlett to this race. Both are exiting Belmont’s Grade 3 Wonder Again Stakes. Significant Form was second, while Mighty Scarlett was third, but Brown believes that his two horses are coming into the race in sharp form. Both are training forwardly for the race.

“They both ran well,” Brown said of his fillies’ performance in the Wonder Again. “It was a bit disappointing for Significant Form as the favorite. She had every chance to win turning for home and it just wasn’t her day. I’m confident, given the way she’s training, that she can rebound off that effort.”

La Signare enters the race off of two strong efforts since arriving from France, finishing second to Toinette in her U.S. debut on April 11 at Keeneland before going gate-to-wire to win the Wonder Again. She will look to make it two in a row here, and her early speed makes her dangerous.

“We’ll see what the pace scenario is,” said trainer Brian Lynch. “If there’s no pace, I don’t think we’ll try and get too creative. We’ll let her do her thing again. I don’t know if they’ll let her get away with pedestrian fractions like she got away with in the first half. But if there’s a bit more pace, I wouldn’t be surprised if she can sit off of them a little bit anyway.”

The full field from the rail out: Significant Form, Chipolata, Paved, Capla Temptress, Toinette, Athena, La Signare, Thewayiam, Fatale Bere, and Mighty Scarlett.

Top Choice

#1 Significant Form – This looks to be Brown’s best chance to win this race. As a 2-year-old, she won the Grace 3 Miss Grillo Stakes here before finishing fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf to round out her season. This year, she dominated rivals in the $100,000 Memories of Silver Stakes before finishing second last time out in the Wonder Again. She is going to be ready to bounce back here in this spot, and the pace dynamics here will better suit her.

Horses to Use in Multi-Race Wagers

#5 Toinette – This daughter of Scat Daddy has now won three in a row and became the first horse to ever beat Rushing Fall when she defeated her last time out in the Grade 3 Edgewood Stakes at Churchill Downs. A win like that gives you all sorts of confidence coming into this spot, and her breeding suggests that this distance will not be a problem. There is nothing to dislike about her coming into this race.

#3 Paved – This filly ships from Southern California with a big shot. Three races back, defeated the boys in the $100,000 El Camino Real Derby at Golden Gate Fields, and last time out, she dominated rivals by over 3 lengths in the Grade 2 Honeymoon Stakes at Santa Anita. If she can bring that sort of race to this event, then she will be a major threat.

#7 La Signare – She picked up a big victory last time out in the Wonder Again, which certainly makes her a player here. She was left alone on the front end and cruised around the track while no other competitors ever got close to her. She will likely not get that trip again here, though, so we will see if she can show some versatility.

#8 Thewayiam – She has been fantastic this year, winning three in a row before finishing a close second in her last two starts. Here, she must stretch out in distance which seems to be the only question mark for her. Last time out, she was finishing fast at a mile before being narrowly defeated in the $200,000 Penn Oaks by Got Stormy. She certainly looked like she could go longer in that spot, so we will see if that holds true.

Exotic Plays

#4 Capla Temptress – This European shipper is no stranger to the United States, having shipped here twice last year. One of those trips was to Woodbine, where she won the Grade 1 Natalma Stakes, and the other was to Del Mar, where she finished seventh in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf. Since then, she has made just one start, which was a very close fourth in the Group 1 Poule d’Essai des Pouliches Stakes in France. She’s a bit of a mystery in this spot.

#10 Mighty Scarlett – Two races back, this Scat Daddy filly broke her maiden nicely at Keeneland before jumping up against stakes company in her last start and finishing third in the Wonder Again. That was a tough spot, but this will be even tougher for her. With Brown, though, you always have a chance, especially on the turf.

Party Crashers

#6 Athena – This Aidan O’Brien shipper wheels back quickly after struggling at Royal Ascot to a fourth-place finish in the Group 2 Ribblesdale Stakes event on June 21 and a third in the Group 1 Juddmonte Pretty Polly Stakes at Curragh on July 1. She has only won once in her eight-race career, so she might be a bit outclassed in this spot. However, you can’t ever count out a guy like O’Brien, the best trainer in the world. He brings this horse in for a reason, and if she is a big price, then she wouldn’t be the worst play.

Throw Outs

#2 Chipolata – She has done all of her running in France, where she is 2-for-10 lifetime and has hit the board in 5 of 10. Now she will run for trainer Christophe Clement for the first time and will target a campaign in the United States.

#9 Fatale Bere – This filly is a bit inconsistent but is a multiple stakes winner. Two races back, she won the Grade 3 Providencia Stakes, but followed that up with a well-beaten seventh-place effort in the Honeymoon last time out. Here, she faces a tough international field that she may not be ready to take on right away.

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