As a matter of course, backing early speed on the grass over anything but a speed-favoring, hard surface is sheer folly. Color me reckless, especially since this speed type is disadvantageously drawn outside.

Today’s feature at Belmont is the restricted Naskra’s Breeze Stakes, limited to older state-breds going a mile and a sixteenth on the inner turf. We’ll concentrate on several performers; from the inside, out: Dave, Sabellina and Retribution.

Dave (5-2) is one of the logical favorites. He hails from a very live barn for owners that won Sunday’s finale on the turf. Dave has kick and a modicum of positional speed. Nicely drawn inside, he attracts JR Velazquez and trainer Barclay Tagg is profitable with returnees from a five-week layup. Classy, he fits this group very nicely.

Sabellina (10-1) is interesting because she is a female vs. males from a live, underrated turf barn and attracts turf ace Garrett Gomez, whose chilly grass style fits the mare perfectly. The six-year-old is a four-time winner on this course and finished well too late in a recent sprint prep for this. She’s now set for best.

Retribution (9-2) should provide excellent value relative to his chances for victory. A three-time Belmont winner and somewhat of a distance specialist with two wins at the route, he enters this off a two-sprint regimen, a profitable scenario for trainer John Hertler.

Hertler has an excellent record in non-graded stakes as well and reaches out for the aggressive Cornelio Velasquez. Retribution is the dominant speed who will control tempo here.

Taking Retribution to win at 4-1 or greater, an exacta key box first and second with Dave and Sabellina, and a trifecta key box, in all spots, adding Classic Pack (15-1) to the mix.

Running Totals: (58) 29-12-9 Dollar Return: $168.10 [win selections only]