Belmont Park Closing Day Picks & Analysis for July 11

Belmont Park is primed for its final day before it closes out the Spring-Summer Meet ... J.N. Campbell has you covered! Goodnight Belmont!
Belmont Park is primed for its final day before it closes out the Spring-Summer Meet ... J.N. Campbell has you covered! Goodnight Belmont!

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Sunday's card at Belmont Park includes 9 races that offer some excellent betting opportunities. They are celebrating "Closing Day" as the Spring-Summer Meet is complete. As usual, our turf-man has you covered, including a "spotlight" race of the day.

If you're looking for picks elsewhere around the country on Sunday, be sure to check out our free Horse Racing Picks via the gold button below.

Horse Racing Picks

Race 5: 7F (Turf) ALLW92k, 3+

The Belmont turf courses have taken excessive amounts of rain over the past few weeks, so it will be interesting to see if racing materializes on Sunday. One would think, what with “Closing Day,” that it would be wide-open … but safety is at a premium … check out the conditions, first.

If this one stays on the turf, and we do not face any scratches, then it looks as though After Five #10 could be a top contender from the barn of Wesley Ward. This conditioner continues to send runners to NYRA tracks, and steadily, over time, he has won rave reviews from bettors. Rewarded with top odds … rightly so. This colt out of The Factor (one of my favorite grass sires), won last time out @BEL going 6F in a MSW90k. The class rise may not be an issue whatsoever, and getting John Velazquez to pair up again is going to be great fun. Ward and Johnny V formed a nice partnership back at Keeneland in April … it continues.

The other Ward entry, River Tiber #5 is no slouch, and is a 3-yr-old colt that flashed promise in his last race at Churchill Downs on 27 May. He delivered the goods in mid-stretch in that 100k, and with Tyler Gaffalione back aboard, he can really elevate his game even further. These bloodlines that run through this son of War Front for Michael Tabor and Co. (ownership) look impressive. They didn’t pay $500k for this one at the Keeneland September Sale back in 2019 for nothing. With a pair of Ward speedsters drawn in here, it really is a toss-up to see which one crosses the wire first. Both have major upside, as they try 7F … nod to Johnny V. But it is squeaker …

Wagering Recommendation: $2 “Ward” Exacta Box, 5/10

 

Race 6: 6½F (Dirt) AOC100k, 3+  

The dirt sprinters take to the MT, and it will be a turn-n-burn, going 6 and then some … In a high-level ALLW Co. race like this, you want to find an entrant who combines the class and the breakaway ability to get the job done. I do not care much for the M/L favorite, Steve Asmussen’s Jalen Journey #1. The 6-yr-old qualifies as classy and can obviously be an engine upfront. But I thought last time, in an OC80k at Belmont on 10 June, that he got away a little too easy. There was some dueling going on, to be sure; however, I think this time around, he is going to find the fractions quite different. Some sneaky speed is signed on here, and I would be wary of a Godolphin homebred like Bill Mott’s Endorsed #7.

As an antidote to the presumptive favorite, I particularly fancy Todd Pletcher’s Basin #5, who looks like an inviting sprinter through and through. This colt out of Liam’s Map has some major upside after dropping down from competing in the Salvator Mile (G3) at Monmouth. That result wasn’t spectacular (7th), but I think he can rebound with this class relief. The addition of “blinkers” looks to be a solid choice, and so does returning to the services of Jose Ortiz. He is finishing up the Belmont Meet well, and can get this 4-yr-old back on track. Funny … this runner was once a Steve Asmussen charge, now he can give Pletcher a “win” for his barn at a decent price of 5/1.

Wagering Recommendation: $100 Bankroll, Graduated Wager, WPS #5 ($10-W, $15-P, $75-S)

 

Race 7: 6F (Dirt) ALLW92k, F&M 3+

Moving right along to the ladies’ side of things, here is a sprint for fillies and mares that should be handicapping challenge. Value seekers will try to find a way to get past Rudy Rodriguez’s Bella Sofia #4. It will not be easy. A young filly out of Awesome Patriot, she already has a pair of impressive performances. She won her debut, and when you break your maiden, winning by 11-lengths, that is making an impression. A month after that, her conditioner sent her into the Jersey Girl 100k (also @BEL), and she finished 2nd, losing by just a length to a Brad Cox ace. Now, coming into this spot seems like a cinch. But not so fast (pun) … Can she measure up against older types that have way more experience?

I don’t think so … On top, I like Chad Brown’s entry because Primacy #7 made her 4-yr-old debut in a tough spot in the slop at Churchill Downs on Derby Week. That was a very challenging race (even though it was a field of 6), and I would imagine that failing as the favorite wasn’t that surprising. Now, she has the chance to take an even bigger step with Javier Castellano aboard, and we all understand what Brown can do when it comes to preparing for a 2nd out go. She is more fit this time around, and I like the connection to Union Rags as a sire.

Along with her, let’s also find a way to work a price in. How about something around 15/1? Trainer Saffie Joseph deserves respect as a conditioner, and he has a sneaky good entry in this race named Midtown Rose #5. The mare out of Gary D has much to like as a local entrant. In 2 tries at Belmont, she effectively moved from a Clm20k up to an ALLW92k Co. contest. That speaks to ability, and she appears to be in good form. Joseph gets together with Tyler Gaffalione, and they can make a ruckus with this one. Let’s work her in, even if her speed figs are lacking that needed punch.

This race could be the most interesting one to bet on all day …

Wagering Recommendation: $2 Trifecta Box, 4/5/7

 

Race 8: 1½ (Turf) River Memories S. $150k, F&M 4+

The final “Non-G” of the Belmont Meet is this one … going 12 furlongs, that is right, 12 furlongs I said, on the grass. The turf should be somewhere between yielding and good, depending on if the weather cooperates. At this point, looking over the field, money is going to flow in a couple of directions, as bettors try to sort out a favorite.

Certainly, Christophe Clement is holding a strong hand as he brings a pair into this race. Mutamakina #2 was a bit of a pricey buy back in 2017. Al Shira’aa Farms had her sparking the crowds in France for 2 form cycles, and she ran against some quality competitors—including BC Queen Audarya. Once she made it to the states in late 2020, she did win a G3 at Aqueduct brown turf. Her ability to handle this distance, based on her breeding, should not be an issue whatsoever. Getting Joel Rosario is a good bit of news too.

As for others that will garner attention, look no further than the other Clement entry, Call Me Love #4. If you like a class climber, then here is your wager. The well-bred mare out of Sea the Stars (IRE) won last time, which is a good sign, in a OC100k route at Belmont. She is going to have to rely on those bloodlines, if her connections want to have their picture taken in the winner’s circle. It will not be easy, but some value is to be had at 6/1.

Still, if you want a shorter price, then do not miss Virginia Joy #5 from Chad Brown’s midst, nor Luck Money #3 from the barn of Arnaud Delacour. Both have strong back class, and each could be be a “shoe-in” for one of the minor awards. I cannot see that either of them would be a poor play, especially since Manny Franco and Javier Castellano have these mounts, respectively.

One other to add to that mix, is a turfer that last year really turned on the jets late to score by just a head in the Flower Bowl (G1) for Shug McGaughey. That was a “signature win” for Civil Union #6, and was one of the highlights of the October BEL Meet. Since then, the War Front mare has missed repeatedly in the BC F&M Turf (G1), the Beaugay (G3), and most recently in last month’s New York (G2). Those were all very tough contests … I am not sure if she can regain that prior form … that is a real question mark at this point.

Don’t get me wrong, I am impressed with this trio, but I am thirsting for a price, like a man stranded out in the desert. Think lemonade like Peter O’Toole in Lawrence of Arabia … Speaking of odds which could hit the double-digit range if we are lucky, what about Luis Saez’s Delta’s Kingdom #7? Here is a runner with upside, and at 6/1, I am thinking she will head towards being a massive overlay by the time 2 minutes-to-post rolls around. Trainer Bill Mott has this one pointing the right way, and looking through her form, she has some fine-looking tries on the turf. Take for instance her attempt in the Bewitch (G3), a 2nd to War Like Goddess … that was not a poor attempt. She has the stamina to get this distance; she just needs to settle early. If her late turn-of-foot can improve under Saez, then she could win the day. Look for this one late …

Wagering Recommendation: $25/$50 WP #7

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Enjoy some action from the final day of the Belmont Meet! The tradition from Elmont marches on …

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