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One of the reasons that makes horse racing so special is days like Saturday. There are four stakes on the Belmont Park card: the Fort Marcy (G2), the Intercontinental (G3), the Westchester (G3), and the Carter (G1), and many more graded stakes will be happening at Churchill Downs and Santa Anita Park.
Saturday’s early Pick 5 sequence at Belmont Park is pretty straightforward and should be entertaining.
Best of luck!
Race 1: $16k Claiming for 3-year-olds and upward going 6 furlongs on the dirt
#2 Getoffmyback is the horse to beat for multiple reasons. He’s won 12 of 42 starts that have been spent with multiple barns, including against this level by over 5 lengths in his last start. He’s also won two out of four over this track. The second-place runner in that start was #6 O Shea Can U See. He was cross-entered in a $10k claiming event on Friday, but his connections chose this spot instead. He closed well into a relatively slow pace to take second after being a step slow out of the gate. Look for him to come running from not as far back this time, which should improve his chances.
Race 2: $40k Claiming for 3-year-olds and upward going 6 furlongs on the inner turf
None of these horses stood out to me on paper, but on top I put #5 Just for One Day. After winning his lone turf start with Joel Rosario aboard, he went back to the dirt but ran poorly. He returns to the turf and gets Rosario back in the saddle while dropping down for a tag. Other Runners: #4 Standup, #8 Wild William, #11 My Eclair, #12 Bourbon Currency.
Race 3: Maiden Special Weight for 3-year-olds and upward going 6 furlongs on the dirt
#4 Pardsy finds himself running against open company at Belmont Park for his debut, rather than stay in California with trainer Doug O’Neill. He has the field’s highest price tag ($375k) and attracted Javier Castellano to ride. Watch out for this one! #5 Dreams of Tomorrow ran well in his debut against Basquiat, a talented Chad Brown runner. He gets Jose Ortiz to ride and Shug McGaughey is one of the more underrated trainers at Belmont Park. #6 First Line took a massive step forward in his second start for Orlando Noda, who just won with Super Twenty Seven in Thursday’s opener. If First Line improves from his last effort, then he could see himself in the winner’s circle.
Race 4: $40k Maiden Claiming for New York-bred 3-year-olds and upward going 1 mile (8 furlongs) on the outer turf
#2 High Tone debuted on the turf last summer at Indiana Downs. He looked slightly better against dirt foes at Oaklawn Park earlier this year, but he still struggled. He has the looks of a turf runner and Mike Maker wins 25% at this level. #5 Michael’s Bad Boy is by Noble Mission, one of the better turf sires, and drops in for a tag for the first time. Expect him to take a massive step forward as he makes his 3-year-old debut. #7 Petrus‘s trainer, Michael Dickinson, created the Tapeta synthetic surface in place at several tracks including Golden Gate Fields, Presque Isle Downs, and Woodbine. He hasn’t had a runner since November 2019, but he convinced Javier Castellano to ride, so there must be something there.
Race 5: Allowance for 3-year-olds and upward going 6 furlongs on the dirt
#1 Syndergaard is the deserving post-time favorite, having run strongly in several New York-bred stakes. I do like him a lot, but he tends to create problems for himself and get stuck in tough situations. He’s the most talented in this group, but he also hasn’t seen the winner’s circle since 2018. #5 Morning Breeze has finished second or third in 17 of his 30 starts, which indicates that he’s running the right races against the right group of horses. The layoff might be exactly what he needs to put his best foot forward and get his fifth win. #6 Binkster, on the other hand, has 1 more win in his career and from 11 fewer starts. Dylan Davis excels with runners who like to go gate-to-wire, and this is Binkster’s best distance.
$.50 PICK 5 (Races 1-5) 2,6 / 4,5,8,11,12 / 4,5,6 / 2,5,7 / 1,5,6 – $135
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