The calculation is that because of the $350,000 Guarantee, the New York Racing Association is likely to make a concerted effort to keep all four races on turf, especially given the liberal scratch policy if affords its horsemen when races are rescheduled to the main track. Lots of scratches reduces handle, which could cause the NYRA to dig into their pockets.
So, then, one handicapper's approach to the Belmont Guaranteed Pick 4:
Race 7: This would be a spread race under virtually any circumstances, a wide open $20,000 claimer for fillies and mares going a mile and a sixteenth.
Silent Joy switch to Nakatani in its second start for Dale Romans who’s proven most adept with his surface switches this year, is a worthy inclusion at 12-1 on the early line. Market Princess is making her first start at a reduced level for Bill Mott since her maiden win at GP this winter.
Royal Sighting (6-1) prepped for this sprinting and her lifetime best Equiform figure came on this course, at this distance. Truly Devoted (7-2) is coming off a delayed Turf Decline Line after racing close to a lively pace on Keeneland Polytrack May 13. Gypsy Preacher (5-1) makes her second start off a layup making a mini-stretch to her most effective distance; George Weaver in midst of career season.
Race 8 Grade 2 Sheepshead Bay: Aqsaam (4-1), rank in GP finale and gets switch to Rosie; Hit It Rich (7-2) a “now” filly that has improved markedly at marathon trips; Aruna (3-1), as classy as they come and hindered by dawdling pace last out and Distorted Legacy (6-1), who needed her recent season’s debut, are all logical contenders.
But it’s Aruna who has competitive in a series, and a winner, at the Grade 1 level, earning the best figures consistently, is the most logical single in this very tricky sequence for Team Motion/Dominguez.
Race 9: State-breds at the preliminary allowance level is another wide open scramble; no excuses, just a fact. Chilton (6-1) jumped up nicely for Bruce Brown switching to turf, getting Javier on the return call for a barn that 24% efficient with second after the claim starters.
Adirondack Dancer (7-2) made a favorable impression winning seasonal and turf debut at this trip, and breezed a bullet subsequently for return. Unbridled Command (3-1) has been very competitive with tougher rivals recently. Finn Again (6-1), uncoupled mate of Adirondack Dancer, jumped up to break maiden in first start at the state-bred level.
Ampersand (5-1) has done her best racing going long on turf, worked a bullet, and Violette profitable in all relevant categories.
Race 10: State-bred maiden sprinters complete the turf puzzle. Irish Humor (10-1) was a good third to Tiger Walk in turf debut at 2 and is training well for first start at 3 vs. New York-breds for clever Maryland connections. Life Of The City (3-1) makes Eastern and state-bred debut for Michael Stidham coming off SA dirt sprint; has the pedigree.
Gossip Column (5-2) was a good second in both turf starts going long at 2 and is training sharply for local a state-bred debut; attracts Ramon. Royal Blessing (5-1) beat half the 10-horse field going long in well-meant turf debut at Saratoga; sharp works for first start at 3.
50-Cent Sequence: 2, 6, 9, 10, 11 with 5 with 4, 5, 8, 10, 12 with 3, 7, 8, 11 Cost: $50