Thursday’s feature at Belmont Park, a “non-winners of three other than/$75.000 optional claimer” is beaucoup tough. We always preach value, of course, but never was that more important than in today’s 6-furlong sprint.

Four of the seven entered can win, from the inside out; Council Member (4-1), Graynumberfive (15-1), Hither Lane (9-5) and Lucky Gamble (3-1). Unfortunately, they all look like they have either been pointing for this or fit the conditions snugly.

Council Member has been absent a long time but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Trainer Saeed bin Suroor is 35% efficient off layups of 90 days or more and an amazing 39% with horses making their U. S. debut. This horse boasts some European Group 1 lines and was effective on artificial dirt. Garrett Gomez gets the call.

Graynumberfive was claimed from a prolific trainer last out and Leah Gyarmati is not known for striking first time off the claim. But this horse owns a huge pace edge, a hot, speed rider in Mike Luzzi and is a big price on the early line.

Hither Lane is classy, goes well when fresh and clearly has been pointed toward this. He also fits the race shape well as a pace presser in a speed laden group. Nicely drawn outside, he is a likely perfect tripper. Javier Castellano is a nice fit.

Lucky Gamble is a hard-hitting six-year-old from a top barn and has tactical speed and a good kick. Hard trying, he finally gets away from the streaking Dashboard Drummer. Eibar Coa and Bruce Levine are a live team.

Hard to believe that Hither Lane can be less than 2-1 in this competitive field and that’s the way we’ll play it. Taking Hither Lane to win at 2-1 or greater, and a trifecta key of Hither Lane first and second with Council Member, Graynumberfive and Lucky Gamble.