Todays feature at Belmont Park, the final Grade 1 of the summer meet, was supposed to be more coronation than horse race. Then Belmont heroine Rags To Riches spiked a fever, was declared, and what do we get? One promising, one very promising, and one accomplished favorite and, oh yes, another Todd Pletcher-trained favorite in a big race.

Its a less than inspiring betting race and a handicapping puzzle that requires more guesswork than analysis.

Not sure how one defeats likely odds-on favorite Octave, winner of the Grade 1 Mother Goose last time out. Remarkably, she never has taken a backward step on performance figures in her entire career.

Octaves won at nine furlongs and probably has enough class and pedigree to get a mile and a quarter. Its just that shes no cinch to love the route, and comes back relatively quickly for an outfit that you know would have preferred to have more time between races.

There really are only two realistic alternatives. One is undefeated in three starts and was very impressive winning a listed stakes last time out. The problem is Lears Princess never has run on dirt and might be running here only because Rags And Riches isnt. She is by the long-winded Lear Fan and just might be up to this. Key word here is might.

Folk is the most interesting. Shes as fast as the favorite on performance figures, has won three of four lifetime starts on dirt, appears to have been pointed toward this and has the best distance pedigree in the field. She is the speed of the speed, likely will gain a loose early lead but 10 furlongs off the bench all the way in front is a tough go, especially with a proven Grade 1 winner stalking her all the way.

If Folk only had one prep. If Lears Princess only had one race on conventional dirt. But they dont.

Reluctantly, were taking Octave to win, no price restrictions, exacta key boxes with Folk and Lears Princess.

Running Totals: (62) 29-12-9 Dollar Return: $168.10 [does not include Fridays results]