Terrific race to begin the Belmont week, a full field of secondary allowance types for older horses going a mile and a sixteenth on the turf, likely to be rated good. The three main contenders are Cougar Bay (2-1), Pick Six (4-1) and Best Alibi (8-1).
Cougar Bay is a deserving favorite. By definition the fastest horse on performance figures, he returns fresh for Barclay Tagg, who’s been on a tear since returning from Florida and Kentucky, winning with five of 14 recent starters and is very effective when returning his charges on two months rest. Two starts back, Cougar Bay was a good fourth behind Grade 1 winner Einstein and also suffered through a tough trip in his last when an excellent third in a G2 event after making a bold, albeit premature, move to the lead. The shorter distance and class relief makes him a very tough out at a very short price.
Shug McGaughey is also going well with his returnees to this surface. In Pick Six, he has a developing four-year-old coming off an excellent placing in his season’s debut at Keeneland after breaking slowly and making a five wide rally that fell short of victory by a half length. He figures to benefit from that effort, has competitive, forward-looking figures and retains regular rider Johnny Velazquez. Nicely positioned inside, he owns a win on the Belmont lawn.
Best Alibi gets Lasix for the first time making his U.S. debut for Saeed bin Suroor, who’s 38 percent efficient with horses shipping to America for the first time. He’s been competitive in European graded company and his trainer is also adept with horses returning from lengthy layups and adding the diuretic for the first time. Veteran turf ace Jean Luc Samyn has the mount.
Taking Pick Six to win at 7-2 or greater and keying him in exacta boxes first and second with his two main rivals here.
Running Totals: (207) 66-44-24. Total Dollar Return: $409.00 [win selections only]