With the eyes of the racing world fixed on Churchill Downs on Friday, where the G1 Kentucky Oaks will be run on the eve of the G1 Kentucky Derby, Belmont Park has put together a fine product in its own right. Our in-house handicapper has delved deeply into the card, providing picks for every race as well as analysis of his strongest opinions throughout the day.
If you're looking for picks elsewhere on Friday, including Churchill Downs, be sure to check out our Free Horse Racing Picks via the gold button below.
Most Likely Winner: Minaun (Race 8) - There isn’t much standing in the path of this Chad Brown-trained European import. It’s tough to gauge her Euro form with any degree of accuracy, however she broke her maiden in a Group 3 at Cork, so it’s probably fair to assume she has a bit of quality. Now in the hyper-potent Brown barn, any semblance of talent she has is going to be amplified in her first North American start as she adds Lasix over a turf course that Brown dominates. If she can run at all she’s going to win.
Best Value: Doubly Blessed (Race 7) - There are a lot of potentially vulnerable favorites in this second-level allowance race, which is why I’m happy to take a nice price on the in-form Doubly Blessed. This horse had a three-race win streak snapped last out in the Stud Muffin at Aqueduct, however that’s hardly concerning considering the 1 â -mile distance of that race, and it’s not as if he ran poorly in that spot. His prior efforts going a mile at the Big A over the winter are very strong, and if he gets back to those races he should be able to handle whatever this field throws at him.
Other Races of Interest: Race 2 - Similar to my ‘Best Value’ play Doubly Blessed, Sicilia Mike (#7) feels like the right in-form horse in a race with so many others that have major question marks surrounding them. Sicilia Mike himself isn’t without some back class, and while he does have a penchant for settling for minor awards, he’s coming off a win at this level over Runaway Lute (#1), who figures to be among the favorites. If Sicilia Mike can maintain his current form or even improve as he shifts to Belmont Park, he should be able to beat this group at square odds.
Race 3 - Rocketry (#5) looks like the horse to beat in the Flat Out, but this former top dirt marathoner has seen better days despite winning the G2 Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance in his last start at Keeneland. That race has proven to be quite weak in retrospect, and Rocketry’s prior 2020 form was lackluster; I think it’s wise to play against him as he makes his first start as a 7-year-old. The horse I landed on is Musical Heart (#4), who has been terrific since being claimed by trainer Rob Atras and showed he can handle these distances in his last start in the Stud Muffin. I expect the winner from that race, Air Attack (#7), to regress here, whereas Musical Heart should give another solid account of himself.
*If you're interested in seeing payouts for these races, you can find them on our Results page linked to below*