Not an easy spot to begin the week (seems like all spots difficult for us lately), an “optional non-winners of two other/than, $50,000 claiming,” at six furlongs on the Belmont turf. The favorite, a fast filly from California named Thru N' Thru (8-5), will be trying this distance and course for the first time. Like we said, however, she’s fast.

Two logical contenders are Queen Amira (5-1) and Willshefire (7-2). Let’s examine both.

While Bill Mott Queen Amira seems to lack a winning profile, her lifetime best effort came on this course under these conditions, that is if Wednesday’s course is firm. Since then, she’s competed at varying distances or over unsuitable ground. She needs a good trip to suit her late kick and might get that given the early speed signed on. The inside helps, as would a focused Kent Desormeaux (not always a given).

Willshefire comes from the white hot Barclay Tagg/Eibar Coa connections. She loves the distance and the course, with two wins at each, and has a versatile style that allows her to either front-run or stalk to victory. That seems the case here as she’s drawn outside the speedy Bob Baffert filly from Del Mar.

Given that their performance figures are all within a couple of lengths on the best game, the trip will be the thing.

Taking Willshefire to win at 3-1 or greater, keying her first and second in exactas with the other two fillies.

Running Totals: (113) 40-27-12. Dollar Return: $130.00 [win selections only]