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After a fantastic opening weekend at Belmont Park, we start the new week with a very competitive eight-race card. We have two maiden special weight (MSW) races to preview as part of this Wednesday afternoon:
Belmont Meet Statistics (9/6 through 9/8):
Race 1: $75,000 MSW for 2-year-olds going 1 mile on the dirt
In his debut at Saratoga on August 10, #6 Ox Bridge (8/5) ran the best out of any runner not named Gozilla, who won going away before finishing a competitive third in the Runhappy Hopeful Stakes (G1) later in the meet. Todd Pletcher found him a much softer spot here, and he should enjoy stretching out from his 6-furlong debut.
Peter Brant and Chad Brown enter the coupled #1 Basie and #1A Brewmeister. Basie has been training like an absolute monster; expect him to fire right out of the gate. Brewmeister comes into this spot with a race under his belt, albeit on the turf. If both entries make the field, then expect Basie to make his way to the front and set up his stablemate for a stretch run late.
Kiaran McLaughlin has had a rough start to the meet (0-for-5), but wise bettors know better than to doubt any of his runners stretching out in their second starts (21%). #3 Ajaaweed (7/2) maintained solid position throughout in his debut but never fired after Luis Saez forced him to go five-wide. Joel Rosario gets the call this time and should better suit this colt’s running style. Expect Rosario to take him off the pace and fire home late while hoping for a quick pace up front.
#5 Starting Over (6/1) debuts for Jonathan Thomas over a track that his sire, Liam’s Map, broke his maiden. His recent 5-furlong workout suggests that the distance shouldn’t bother him, and it helps that John Velazquez gets the call from a barn for which he doesn’t ride often.
Ricky’s Picks: 6-1/1A-3-5
Race 8: $62,000 MSW for New York-bred fillies and mares, 3-year-olds and upward going 1 1/16 miles (8 1/2 furlongs) on the outer turf
The longer the race, the better that #6 Marquet Legacy (6/1) seems to run. After the long layoff from her debut, she was fractious at the gate and raced three-wide through the Saratoga inner turf course’s turns. Christophe Clement knows what he has with his turf horses, so expect Marquet Legacy to catch this field at the wire.
#7 Sandra’s Mine (5/1) has been 13/1 or higher in all seven of her starts despite the fact that ever since she debuted on turf four back, her running lines have improved each time. Eric Cancel took this filly to the lead last time out but couldn’t hold off Kerry’s Ring, the post-time favorite. With a lack of early speed signed on, Sandra’s Mine could be on the lead all by herself.
David Donk and company must be happy that #5 Sterling Beauty (4/1) doesn’t have to see a horse like Kerry’s Ring, Kid Is Frosty, or Niko’s Dream in here. After facing the same horses time and again, she finally gets some reprieve. Those fields were much more competitive than this one will be, so she has no more excuses. Expect her to show her very best as the class of the field.
The other Donk entry, #1 Petalite (9/2), comes out of the same August 15 race as many of these competitors. John Velazquez was very aggressive last time out, chasing Sandra’s Mine for the first 6 furlongs, but like Sandra’s Mine, she couldn’t hold off Kerry’s Ring who was much the best. Expect this filly to sit right off of Sandra’s Mine and try to pass her in the stretch.
Ricky’s Picks: 6-7-5-1
Good luck to everyone playing and be sure to follow me on Twitter @RickyP_15 for more NYRA race previews as we take a look at Belmont Park!
If you want further information on the other races for each card at Belmont Park and beyond, you can check the Racing Dudes’ Free Picks page or subscribe to their Premium Selections and get detailed analyses for every race, every card, every track around the country.
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