Fitting that on the last weekend before racing shifts to Saratoga,
Todd Pletcher and Gary Contessa, one-two in the trainer’s standings
for virtually the entire Belmont Park meet, should have odds-on
favorites in the final two stakes.

Pletcher got the job done yesterday with Octave in the Coaching Club
Oaks. Contessa, who will win the training title by virtue of sheer
numbers while having a career year, figures to match Pletcher here,
winner for odds-on winner, with Accountforthegold (1-1) in today’s
Evan Shipman Handicap for older state-bred males going 1-1/16 miles.

On paper, he shouldn’t be beaten and it’s futile to try. On
performance figures, he is the fastest horse in the race, and by a
huge margin. His last race, the Gander, in which he won by almost
double digits, gives him a double-digit figure advantage over today’s
rivals. It’s hard to envision the 126-pound assignment deterring him;
not that top-weight and the rail are an enviable combination in
handicaps, but there has to be some drama in a horse race, yes?

The only other rival that interests us is Shuffling Madness (10-1),
making his second start off the layoff for Del Carroll. That layoff
was a four-month break, the only rest he’s gotten in over a year, and
his recent effort looked like a good prep for this. But it's the
scenario that's interesting. He has finished in the money in four of
five starts on this track, including a win, and owns a worthy 3-2-2
slate in nine starts at the distance. He’s one for nine at any other
trip.

We have no choice but to take Accountforthegold to win, no price
restrictions, and an exacta box with Shuffling Madness.

Running Totals: (64) 30-12-10 Dollar Total: $171.10