Today’s feature, surprisingly, is on the dirt! Even though this state-bred “non-winners of 2 other/than, optional claiming $30,000 only drew eight horses, it’s a very competitive sprint. We’ll concentrate of three major contenders, from the inside, out: Sly Diamond Jim (5-1), Smash “Em Sammy (2-1) and Whistlin’ (7-2).

Sly Diamond Jim ships down from Finger Lakes because, frankly, since he entered the Englehart shed, he’s run through all his conditions and is entered here for the $30,000 tag, the only way he could start.

He ships down looking for his seventh straight victory. He owns excellent performance figures, can sit behind off what is expected to be a very hotly contested pace, has never been worse than second in three starts over the track and attracts Mike Luzzi, who’s ridden him before. He is good value at early line odds.

Smash ’Em Sammy hails from the Scott Schwartz barn, an outfit winning at a worthy 25 percent rate the last few months. He has good, consistent and competitive figures, fit’s the race shape very well as an off the pace runner and attracts Javier Castellano, riding in top form once again. His outside draw suits perfectly.

Whistlin’ loves Belmont Park, owing to the fact his best figure was earned on this surface, at this distance. Making his second start off a long layup, he’s fresh once again and has been training purposefully for the prolific Gary Contessa. Eibar Coa will suit the speed 4-year-old perfectly and should take advantage of his outer position to work out a stalking trip.

This will be as much a rider’s race as anything else.

We’re taking the value on Sly Diamond Jim to win at 7-2 or more and keying him first and second in exactas with the other two contenders.

Running Totals: (121) 42-28-13. Dollar Return: $244.50 [win selections only]