We are just one day away from the biggest day of the meet at Belmont Park. Entries have been announced and this year’s Runhappy Met Mile (G1) is set up to be one of the better races of the year.

Friday’s feature is highlighted by the License Fee Stakes, but first, we need to get through the early Pick 5 sequence with a lot of coverage and two major singles.

Best of luck!

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Race 1: Maiden Special Weight for 2-year-olds going 5 1/2 furlongs on the dirt

I am playing everyone in the field because only two of the runners have prior experience. #3 Winfromwithin, my top choice, is a son of Into Mischief who has been training well and could be one of Todd Pletcher’s next up-and-coming star trainees. Along with Winfromwithin, I’ll use #1 Indoctrinate, #2 Garoppolo, #4 Explain, #5 Beautiful Farewell, and #6 My Sea Cottage.

Race 2: $25k Claiming for fillies and mares 3-year-olds and upward going 1 mile (8 furlongs) on the outer turf

Without any MTOs, this will be a small seven-horse field, making it easy to single #1 Take Charge Tina. She won by a nose in her last start against claiming competition, and this field is significantly less talented than the $35k group that she defeated. She is worth relying on to get me through the next leg.

Race 3: $14k Claiming for fillies and mares going 6 1/2 furlongs on the dirt

Similar to the opener, this race is wide open – the morning line favorite is only 3/1. #3 Appletini is my top choice as she makes her second start after a three-month layoff. She is not the most talented runner in this group, but her early speed gives her the ability to quickly get ahead. Other than Appletini, I will be using #1 Movie Score, #2 Kinky Sox, #5 Lookbothways, #6 Hetty G., and #8 Big Bennys Tribute.

Race 4: Starter Allowance for fillies and mares 3-year-olds and upward going 6 furlongs on the inner turf

There are not many ways to go in this race other than singling #7 Keota. She finished third behind multiple stakes winners Jean Elizabeth and Girls Know Best in a turf sprint stakes on the Pegasus World Cup undercard. She is the best single that I have seen in quite some time.

Race 5: $32k Claiming for 3-year-olds and upward going 6 furlongs on the dirt

I am playing seven of the nine entries here. #6 Spokane Eagle makes his debut for the Michael Pino barn after getting claimed for $25k last time out. He has already won twice this year at this distance and top jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr., picks up the mount for the first time. The other runners that I am using are #1 Reed Kan, #3 Topper T, #4 Aristocratic, and #7 Seanow.

THE TICKET

50¢ PICK 5 (Races 1-5) 1-6 / 1 / 1,2,3,5,6,8 / 7 / 1,3,4,6,7 – $90