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Ricky’s Rockets ?: Belmont Park Picks for June 19, 2020
Credit: NYRA

Ricky’s Rockets ?: Belmont Park Picks for June 19, 2020

We are officially one day away from the Belmont Stakes (G1)! Racing fans have waited a long time for this weekend, and with many ways in which the big races can play out, Saturday will not be short on excitement. 

Friday’s early Pick 5 sequence is highlighted by my single in race 4: a Chilean-bred making his first start for his new barn.

Best of luck!

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

#7 Competitive Hero makes his debut for a red-hot Brad Cox barn that started the meet 9-5-1-1. Jose Ortiz struggled at the beginning of the meet but has picked it up recently, and Competitive Hero has the highest price tag in the field ($135k), so somebody saw potential. The field’s other Cox runner is #10 Effinity who, like Quick Nick, he posted a recent bullet work. Effinity will be the first starter for his sire, Effinex, a New York-bred who won five graded stakes and earned over $3.3 million in his career.

Race 2: Maiden Special Weight for fillies and mares 3-year-olds and upward going 1 1/4 miles (10 furlongs) on the inner turf

This is an extremely difficult distance for runners looking to win for the first time. #2 All Others Follow has the perfect pedigree: her sire, Sea The Stars, won a record 6 Group 1 races in 6 months at age 3 in 2009 and was rated the world’s best horse that year, and he is a half-brother to the legendary stallion Galileo. She closed well in her debut at 1 1/16 miles and should enjoy the extra distance here. #4 Coilean Bawn has gone this far twice already, including once on turf when she finished second, beaten just 3/4 of a length. I am also using her Christophe Clement stablemate #6 Curly Wurly, who gets stamina influence from both families. Her sire, Curlin, won 3 at this distance; her dam, Antonia Autumn, won a turf stakes route; and she is a half-sister to Gio Ponti, the 2009 and 2010 Eclipse Award winner as Champion Turf Horse. All three of #7 In Front‘s races came against fillies who won their next starts. Her dam, Wonderful, is a full sister to the 2013 Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1) winner Magician, so she should have no problem handling this distance.

Race 3: $14k Claiming for 3-year-olds and upward going 6 1/2 furlongs on the dirt

#6 Ari’s Naughty Luca showed speed out of the gate last time out against a slightly better group, so with a relative lack of speed in this field, expect 7-pound bug boy Luis Cardenas to try going gate-to-wire. #7 Other Things Equal has a first and second to his name in two prior starts over this course, and after running against considerably better, he should enjoy the class drop and the cutback in distance.

Race 4: $32k Claiming for 3-year-olds and upward going 1 1/16 miles (8 1/2 furlongs) on the dirt

Rob Atras looks for his first win at the Belmont Park meet with the Chilean-bred #3 Leitone, who outclasses this field by quite a large margin. In three straight races against strict claiming competition, he won by multiple lengths. He doesn’t need to run his best to beat this group and should win his third Belmont Park race from as many starts.

Race 5: $40k Maiden Claiming for fillies and mares 3-year-olds and upward going 6 furlongs on the inner turf

Unlike the previous race, this one is wide open. A lot of these are either running with a tag for the first time, have every right to improve, or are making their debuts. #2 Mariposa d’Oro makes her turf debut for trainer Mike Stidham, who wins at 28% when making this surface switch and at 36% with first-time turf starters. Other runners I am using are #3 Lucky Lindsey, #4 Yellen, #5 Translate#7 Miss You Blues, #9 Shanny Go Nanny #11 Chic Bella, and #12 Always Alright.


$.50 PICK 5 (Races 1-5) 3,7,10 / 2,4,6,7 / 6,7 / 3 / 2,3,4,5,7,9,11,12 – $96

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