Very contentious sprint--a non-winners of three allowances/optional $75,000 claiming at six furlongs--to begin the Belmont Park week. There are young developing horses on the come vs. several with back class and back figures that could win on their best efforts. Making sense of it all is tricky.

We’ll concentrate on three logical contenders, from the inside, out: Grand Champion (2-1) Bound Notebook (5-1) and City Attraction (5-2).

Grand Champion is developing very well at 4 for trainer Jimmy Jerkens. His last score at Saratoga was impressive enough and, coming back with more than five weeks rest, will appreciate the change in venue back to Belmont, where he’s run his best race. He has tactical speed, kick and should save ground. Eibar Coa, with his choice of mounts, rides this one back. The colt has two sharp works subsequent to his last race and will be a tough out here.

Bound Notebook loses Coa to Grand Champion but picks up Cornelio Velasquez. Of greater significance, he’s back at Belmont where he not only races best but where his performance figures are better than his rivals. He figures to get a comfortable trip here, breaking from the middle of eight rivals but he needs not to lose ground on Belmont’s wide turn. Unlucky in his last at the Spa, he benefits from the mini-turnback to six furlongs.

City Attraction is streaking for Trainer Rick Dutrow, who’s won four of 11 starts at this meet. He’s worked four times since his last start at Saratoga, indicating excellent fitness and conditioning, Javier Castellano, aboard for the 4-year-old’s first win since last year, rides him back. Mate Holly Time should provide good pace insurance if he starts, likely since Garrett Gomez was named to ride.

Love to take the likely value on Bound Notebook, but Grand Champion just has too much upside potential here. Taking Grand Champion to win at 2-1 or greater, keying him first and second in exactas with his major rivals.

Running Totals: (104) 39-25-11. Dollar Return: $227.30 [win selections only]