Belmont Park Picks & Late Pick 5 Analysis for June 4

Belmont hosts a terrific 11-race card on Friday as part of the ongoing Belmont Stakes Racing Festival
Belmont hosts a terrific 11-race card on Friday as part of the ongoing Belmont Stakes Racing Festival

Following Thursday's appetizer, the Belmont Stakes Racing Festival really ramps up on Friday with five stakes races in all and a Late Pick 5 that includes four graded events. Our in-house handicapper has taken the liberty of breaking down that sequence, as well as providing picks for all 11 races on the card.

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.

Free Horse Racing Picks

Race 7 (G2 True North)

Firenze Fire (#1) is the first of a few strong opinions I have in this secret. He’s not going to be a big price, but I think he’s a complete standout in the G2 True North given his class and affinity for this track. Others can come close to rivaling him in the speed figure department, however Firenze Fire is just on another level compared to his competition and should again be able to work out an ideal trip under Irad Ortiz, Jr. from the rail. Even at his morning-line odds of 2-1 I think he’s a strong play.

Flagstaff (#2) is the narrow second choice on the morning line at 5-2, but I think his time is up after a couple of fortunate stakes victories, including last out in a depleted edition of the G1 Churchill Downs. While he has definitively shed his reputation for coming up short in big spots, he’s been getting very good trips lately and his luck is bound to run out.

As far as backup/underneath options go, I prefer Lookin At Bikinis (#5), who got back on track last out with an impressive win over this track. Lookin At Bikinis isn’t the most trustworthy, and I don’t think he’ll ever live up to the potential he showed as a 3-year-old in 2019, but he does seem to appreciate one-turn racing and should deliver another quality performance for trainer Chad Brown, whose barn is usually firing on all cylinders during the Belmont Stakes Racing Festival.

Main:  1     Backup:  2,5

Order of preference:  1-5-2-6

Race 8 (G3 Bed O’ Roses)

The G3 Bed O’ Roses is another race in this sequence in which I’m pretty much willing to go all-in on my top pick, in this case the versatile Estilo Talentoso (#8), who should actually be a rather attractive price. I can understand why some people are going to be skeptical of this filly (after all, she does have just two wins and eight runner-up finishes on her ledger), however she’s been in terrific form this year and has been holding her own with some of the best this division has to offer at a variety of different venues. She’s coming out of a pair of G1 races in which she finished third and second at odds of 15-1 and 50-1, respectively, but don’t let her price in those races fool you: she’s a seriously talented sprinter. I’m expecting another top effort out of her, which would make her 9-2 morning-line odds an absolute steal.

I sincerely hope Chub Wagon (#6) does end up the heavy favorite, which the morning line indicates will be the case, because I want little to do with her in this spot. She is a perfect 6-for-6 in her career and has run well on this circuit, however she had all the best of it last out saving ground on an inside-favoring track at Pimlico, and there’s no telling how she’s going to respond to the removal of Lasix. I don’t think she’s nearly as good as she looks on paper and is going to be dramatically overbet.

I have more interest in Bayerness (#4), who seems to have turned a corner as a 4-year-old, and Victim of Love (#5), who returned a winner here on May 8 in the G3 Vagrancy, though I’m not sure either will be able to rival Estilo Talentoso if she runs her race.

Main:  8     Backup:  4,5

Order of preference:  8-5-4-6

Race 9 (G2 New York)

The G2 New York is a fantastic race led by last year’s G1 Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf third-place finisher Harvey’s Lil Goil (#5), who made a successful 4-year-old debut last out in the G3 Beaugay over this turf course. While she’s clearly oozing with class and earned an imposing 101 Beyer Speed Figure for her comeback score, I’m not sure she’s quite as good as her last two races make her look and she’s likely to be an underlay in this spot, even though she is a perfectly logical winner.

I’ll be using Harvey’s Lil Goil in the Pick 5, but from a value standpoint I prefer Magic Attitude (#1) and Thundering Nights (#9). After a disappointing start to her 4-year-old campaign, the former took a giant step forward in her last start, the G2, 1 ⅜-mile Sheepshead Bay, when she sat at the back of the pack and rolled home to an easy victory despite getting little pace to attack. This filly showed a lot of potential last year as a sophomore, including a win on this course in the G1 Belmont Oaks, and her Sheepshead Bay performance was certainly eye-opening. I think circumstances are going to be far more favorable for her this time around, and she should make her presence felt in the stretch at a square price.

Like Magic Attitude, the Ireland-based Thundering Nights also appears to have improved as a 4-year-old and is coming off a strong try in the G3 Alleged at the Curragh in her 2021 unveiling. The 118 Timeform Rating she earned that day is a noticeable uptick off her 2020 form, and the race was subsequently flattered when winner Broome came back to take a G2 and then finish second in the G1 Tattersalls Gold Cup late last month. Harvey’s Lil Goil and Magic Attitude are serious racehorses, but given her superior Euro form Thundering Nights might be on another level.

I also wouldn’t wholly discount Civil Union (#6), who ran pretty much on even terms with Harvey’s Lil Goil in last year’s Filly & Mare Turf, though she was soundly beaten by that rival in her seasonal debut in the Beaugay. That said, Civil Union had no chance in the Beaugay given the slow early pace set by Harvey’s Lil Goil, and since the distance of the race is much shorter than her best it was likely just a prep for this assignment. Perhaps she’s just not in the same form this year, but it wouldn’t at all surprise me if she bounces back in a big way. I won’t, however, be expecting such a rebound from Mean Mary (#7), who romped in the 2020 edition of this race but turned in a disconcerting effort in the G3 Gallorette despite winning.

Main:  1,5,9     Backup (priority):  6

Order of preference:  1-9-5-6

Race 10 (G2 Belmont Gold Cup)

With virtually no relevant domestic form to go in in this two-mile turf marathon, I think Euro shipper Baron Samedi (#8) has a massive edge on his competition in the G2 Belmont Gold Cup. Reminiscent of Thundering Nights one race prior in the G2 New York, Baron Samedi is a Joseph O’Brien trainee that seems to have improved considerably as a 4-year-old, particularly at these types of elongated distances. This son of Harbour Watch did rattle off five straight wins to close out his sophomore campaign, but he seemed to take his game to yet another level last out in the G3 Vintage Crop at Navan in Ireland, where he showcased impressive stamina to win at 20-1. The combination of staying power and competitive spirit is likely to make him untouchable in this spot, provided he handles the ship to the U.S. with no issue.

Baron Samedi is going to be very tough to beat, but I have to include longshots So High (#1) and Fantasioso (#5) in some capacity. It’s fair to question where the former’s last race came from, a fifth-place finish in the G1 Man O’ War for trainer Naipaul Chatterpaul that earned him a 94 Beyer, but upon watching the Man O’ War back I think he ran legitimately well that day and was decidedly better than sixth-place finisher Ziyad (#3), who is going to be a fraction of the price of So High. I obviously have no clue how So High will respond to an additional five furlongs in this spot, but Chatterpaul has a history of surprising bettors in turf marathons and this horse could absolutely run another big race.

Fantasioso, meanwhile, does have a bit of experience at about this distance, albeit a well-beaten second in a G3 event in his native Argentina, but he could be in much better form at the moment following a seventh in the G3 Louisville that is much better than it looks. Bottled up in traffic for nearly the entire stretch, Fantasioso really didn’t have much chance to run in the Louisville, though he stayed on resolutely and galloped out well. He should outrun his odds here.

Main:  8     Backup (priority):  1,5

Order of preference:  8-1-5-6

Race 11

After some pretty straightforward races earlier on, the finale is a complete jigsaw puzzle in which you can build a case for just about every runner. Mutasallem (#5) and Cambi Lion (#5) figure to be tough as they both exit a fast maiden race won by Shaftesbury, however they both got a very good setup in that race and could be vulnerable here at short prices.

I prefer longshot Gold Bear (#10), who ran OK in his first turf start for trainer Mike Maker but should improve in this outing. Gold Bear certainly looks the part of a turf horse, and while the 69 Beyer he earned last out leaves him with plenty of work to do, I’m not sure his last race is going to prove to be a representative effort. For one, the race was run on an unusually soft turf course despite it being listed as ‘good,’ and it’s also possible he just doesn’t want to go 1 ⅜ miles. With one less furlong to navigate on a firmer course, I’m hoping he’s capable of much more than he showed in his turf debut, and the price figures to be very fair.

Main:  3,5,10     Backup (priority):  2,4,8

Order of preference:  10-3-5-2


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