As excited as I am for a new race week, I’m also a little upset that this will be the last week at Belmont Park before we ship to Saratoga. It’s been a fantastic meet to this point, so let’s end it on the right note.

Thursday’s early Pick 5 is a challenging one with a major single in the second race.

Best of luck!

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Race 1: Maiden Special Weight for 2-year-old fillies going 6 furlongs on the outer turf

The opener is a tough one, but I’ll make the Mark Casse trainee #6 Frankel At Ascot my top choice. She’s by Frankel, who was perfect in 14 starts overseas and is a son of the legendary stallion Galileo. However, on this continent, he’s 0-for-6 with debuters and 2-for-19 with first-time turfers, so I’m also going to use #1 Contained, #2 Alda, #4 Illegal Smile, and #7 Steal My Sunshine.

Race 2: $10k Claiming for 3-year-olds and upward going 6 furlongs on the dirt

#3 Stoney Bennett is SCRATCHED!! Will be using #8 Javelin as a single!

Race 3: Allowance for fillies and mares 3-year-olds and upward going 1 1/4 miles (10 furlongs) on the inner turf

#2 Whatdoesasharksay got her lone win going this distance here last year and held her own in the same race on June 21. There’s not much to go off of for #4 Ebony. She makes her U.S. debut for Graham Motion, who excels at 29% with first-timers in North America. #5 Hungry Kitten tries 10 furlongs for the first time after facing Madita and Xanthique – both quality fillies on the NYRA circuit – last time out. #6 Setting the Mood faced winners for the first time in her last start, where the rail draw really hurt her after the outside speed came down and forced her into an uncomfortable spot. Starting on the outside should suit her much better.

Race 4: $40k Maiden Claiming for New York-bred fillies and mares 3-year-olds and upward going 6 1/2 furlongs on the dirt

#4 Love Me Tomorrow has the propensity to show speed but fail to hold on in the stretch. She gets back to dirt, where she ran her best effort 2 starts back, missing victory by a neck. #5 Allure Fortune drops in for a tag for the first time. Jeremiah Englehart’s runners win 33% at this level, making her a must-use. #6 Madam Deputy is by Constitution, the red-hot sire of Tiz the Law, whose offspring win 23% of their first starts. #7 Belleza drastically improved in her second start when given the chance to run on dirt. She will need to take another step up to beat this group, but now in for a tag, she should run much better than her two maiden special weight races.

Race 5: $35k Claiming for 3-year-olds and upward going 1 1/16 miles (8 1/2 furlongs) on the outer turf

#3 War Film has faced much better in the past, but when he dropped to the claiming ranks this year, he didn’t fire. He owns a win and a second at the distance and his best effort, albeit a long time ago, is good enough to win. #5 Another got a brutal trip last time out and finished ninth by only 2 lengths. If Jose Lezcano steers him into open space, watch out. #6 Quiet Out East enjoyed returning to the turf last time out, winning by over a length. Manny Franco has been on him the majority of his career and should have him forwardly placed in a field lacking early speed on paper.

THE TICKETΒ 

50Β’ PICK 5 (Races 1-5) 1,2,4,6,7 / 8 / 2,4,5,6 / 4,5,6,7 / 3,5,6- $120