The Belmont Spring/Summer meet is now in full bloom, with a nine-race card scheduled for Friday, which is followed by a fantastic day of racing on Saturday that includes four graded stakes. Our in-house handicapper is on hand to break down the action, with picks for the whole card and analysis of his strongest opinions throughout the day.
If you're looking for picks elsewhere around the country on Friday, be sure to check out our Free Horse Racing Picks via the gold button below.
Most Likely Winner: Austrian (Race 3) - After a solid winter for trainer Danny Gargan, Austrian is ready to break through this first-level allowance condition for New York-breds, especially after a strong third-place finish last out at Aqueduct. This horse is in excellent form right now, and he should appreciate the added furlong he gets in this race. There isn’t much serious competition for him to deal with in this spot and if he runs back to any of his last three races he should win this race.
Best Value: Cherokee Song (Race 7) - There really isn’t much depth in this starter allowance race for fillies and mares on the turf. Ocean Air is the horse to beat, but she wasn’t overly impressive last time beating maiden claimers and is going to be dramatically overbet. I much prefer Cherokee Song as a matter of price. This filly is going to get ignored in the wagering due to being trained by Randi Persaud, however she’s been solid on turf, at least compared to this group, and is actually dropping in class for this race. I think she’s in good form right now and if she can keep the momentum going she’s going to be a surefire overlay.
Other Races of Interest: Race 1 - There are a couple different ways to go in this intriguing optional claimer for New York-bred fillies and mares, but I’m siding with the returning Pecatonica (#3), who figures to offer the best price among the contenders. If you excuse a dismal try to conclude 2020 at Aqueduct, this mare was really coming to hand last year for trainer Tom Bush, and she even managed a fifth-place finish against stakes company in the Ticonderoga two starts ago. If Pecatonica comes back in similar form, which I believe is likely, she’s going to have a major say in the outcome.
Race 9 - Quantitativbreezin (#3) is the filly to beat in the finale, but she’s been off for a long time and her last race, when she was actually bumped up in class following an encouraging debut, was a big disappointment. I’m instead going with Bertinga (#9), who must deal with a layoff of her own but is a viable alternative, in my opinion. Bertinga hasn’t run since last December at Aqueduct, where she pressed a pretty fast pace on a soft turf course and backed up in the stretch. She still earned a somewhat competitive speed figure for that effort, and she now adds Lasix and turns back in distance for this race, which is a move I think is really going to work for her.
*If you're interested in seeing payouts for these races, you can find them on our Results page linked to below*