Belmont Park opens with a renewal of the storied Grade 3 Westchester Handicap for three-year-olds and up at a flat one-turn mile around “Big Sandy.”

It has attracted a significant shipper and early line favorite Grasshopper (3-5) from the Neil Howard shed. The interesting horses are Divine Park (4-1) and Sightseeing (6-1).

When last seen, Grasshopper was being outrun in deep stretch by the talented Circular Quay after giving away his momentum at headstretch in the G2 New Orleans Handicap. As the soft-paced but pressed-throughout frontrunner, he could not hold off the winner in his second start of the year. He’s better with a target. Between today’s shorter distance and class relief, he’s extremely formidable in his third start of the season.

Divine Park came to hand in his last start, a comprehensive victory in fast time now returns to a dynamic by which he won his only start going a one-turn mile, the G3 Withers last season. Nicely positioned outside in a big field and with tactical speed, he will be a tough customer with Kiaran McLaughlin and Alan Garcia calling the shots. Whether he’s good enough for the like of Grasshopper is to be determined.

Sightseeing is going turf to dirt in his second start of the year for Shug McGaughey. His lone career victories have come on this surface in the one turn G2 Peter Pan last year that earned him a ticket to the Jim Dandy and Travers. A good third in the Travers, he was somewhat disappointing in Street Sense’s Travers. Shug is 22 percent efficient with the turf to dirt move and the very hot Edgar Prado takes the re-ride after his recent turf constitutional. Whether he has enough speed to overtake the favorite is another matter.

Taking Grasshopper to win with no price restrictions, optimizing the play with an exacta part wheel of Grasshopper and Divine Park first, with those two and Grasshopper for second, extra tickets with Grasshopper.

Running Totals: (200) 65-43-22. Total Dollar Return: $405.60 [win selections only]