A funny thing happened on the way to the Belmont Stakes day program: Southern California broke out!
In addition to the *Belmont Stakes, there are five graded stakes on Saturday’s race card, three of them Grade 1, a Grade 2 and a Grade 3.
And how many horses will particulate in this glut of graded splendor? Drum roll, please… 32, 10 from the Belmont notwithstanding.
Sing after me: Where have all good horses gone, long time passing, where have all good horses gone, long time ago, where have all good horses gone, out of town most every one, when will they ever learn, when will they ever learn?
But this is not a NYRA or a Santa Anita problem, this is an industry-wide problem thanks to the top of the sales market. There are too many places to ship to, too many “big horses” to duck.
“Step right up, folks, get your black type here.” But then why is it so hard to find horses that can compete at the highest levels of the sport on this side of the Atlantic? Damned if I know.
I can’t figure, e.g., why the 7-furlong G1 Woody Stephens only drew five entrants. There wasn’t one superhorse to duck. Steve Asmussen saddles two of the five, including early favorite Echo Town (9-5). We’ll continue whining about this another day.
Instead, we will effort to make some money on the Belmont day card. We think the best chance to make a lot for a little is in the late Pick 4. If our philosophy is correct, and the selections good, the reward will be worth the risk.
RACE 9: Anyone see Oleksandra’s runnerup finish in the G2 Monrovia? Left with too much to do, which is her style, and that of partner Joel Rosario, she roared home too late, making up six lengths in the stretch going 5-1/2 furlongs.
The extra sixteenth helps Oleksandra (7-2), as she’s 2-for-3 at the trip and her next defeat on Belmont turf would be her first in three starts. Moving into a Grade 1 against males, she drops 7 pounds to 117, not insignificant. Would take 5-2 straight if necessary.
And we’ll single her in the Pick 4, taking that same stand with Tiz the Law (6-5), so, two singles to start the sequence. After that it’s spread city, hoping to get lucky by going deep in a pair of inscrutable races.
RACE 11: NX3/Optional Claiming Allowances, 9F, Inner Turf
Too many are coming off layups, some extended, competitive vs. one another on figures, most hailing from top return barns with top riders:
Using both Pletchers [Largent (5-2) and Pillar Mountain (8-1)], Talk Or Listen (10-1), Breaking the Rules (6-1), Red Right Hand (15-1), Monarchs Glen (10-1) and Digital Age (3-1).
RACE 12: New York-Bred Allowances, 3 & up, 6F, Inner Turf
Typical turf sprint; very competitive, diverse styles, more layup, top connections–second verse, same as the first:
Using either or both Clement runners [Veterans Beach (4-1), Fly Fly Away (4-1)], Crack Shot (3-1), Simply (6-1), Qian B.C. (5-1), Turbo Drive (8-1), Power Up Paynter (15-1) and also-eligible What the Luck (12-1).
50-Cent P4: 2 // 8 // 1, 2, 3, 4, 6. 7, 9 // 1/1A, 2, 4, 7, 8, 10, AE-13 = $21
See Saturday’s Feature Race Analysis section for our Belmont Stakes betting strategy