In today’s featured seventh race at Belmont Park–never mind that it’s an NX3 optional claimer going for $87K while maidens are racing, also on turf, for $90K earlier–there are three proven stakes performers of the six horses entered. This makes the race harder, not easier.
The thinking is that the white hot Christophe Clement will be the tie-breaker; his Therapist (7-2) rating an edge over Lucullan (2-1) and Force the Pass (3-1). Lucullan, while good fresh, is making his first start in 424 days.
And we’re not sure that 7 year old Force the Pass is back to the level he was two years ago, even if Jorge Duarte is doing very good work for the Colts Neck operation.
As for Therapist, he was victimized by a wide-throughout trip in a quickly run Widener Turf mile but today is getting a switch to Joel Rosario .
Clement, in addition to holding a hot hand, is 24% effective in LAY-3 scenarios and gets one more turn on his favorite course pre-Saratoga. His recent defeat was his first loss in five starts on the Elmont lawn.
We expect him to go favorite over the very classy Lucullan because of the layoff and hot connections; Rosario has 8 wins from his last 26 rides in addition to nine in-the-money finishes.
We’d love 2-1, would probably settle for 8-5, will box the exacta with Kianan McLaughlin’s veteran and use Force the Pass exotically.
SUNDAY: Runaway Lute was a program scratch