Minister’s Joy is a worthy favorite, his 7-2 early line odds reflecting the open nature of this event. The veteran six year old was super sharp winning his lone Spa outing following a freshening, swooping wide under Javier Castellano (his specialty), and won under confident and mild hand urging. Trainer Shug McGaughey loses no efficiency with second-time off the layup starters. His performance figures are suitably fast, there has already been one winner from two subsequent starters since his last, and he returns to Belmont Park, where he’s won half of his four turf starts.
Late bloomer Formal Decree (4-1) continues to develop the right way for Saeed bin Suroor, who’s won with four of his last five starters and is a super 40 percent efficient with second-off-a-layup starters. Veteran Jean-Luc Samyn remains a reliable turf performer and his wide draw should insure that Formal Decree’s odds remain bettable value. Better yet, the five-year-old gelding stretches out to his best distance, at which he’s won half of six lifetime starts. Additionally, Suroor is 32 percent efficient in non-graded stakes.
Taking Minister's Joy at 5-2 or greater and an exacta box with Formal Decree.
Running Totals: (284) 86-59-33 Total Dollar Return: $515.80 [win selections only]