Belmont Park Picks & Analysis for May 14

With the Preakness a day away, Belmont Park puts on a nine-race card on Friday
With the Preakness a day away, Belmont Park puts on a nine-race card on Friday

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Beautiful Belmont Park hosts a nine-race card on Friday, which figures to be another picturesque day at the Elmont, NY track. As usual, our in-house handicapper has taken the liberty of providing analysis of his strongest opinions throughout the day, as well as picks for the whole 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

Most Likely Winner:  Stage Raider (Race 8) - Ordinarily I might view this horse with a skeptical eye as he’s coming off a wet-track romp at Keeneland that earned him a whopping 96 Beyer Speed Figure, however in this case it would take such monumental amounts of regression for him to get beat that I can’t possibly play against him. That also assumes that his last-out effort is somehow fraudulent, which isn’t even something I necessarily believe in. If Stage Raider gives us something even approximating his dazzling maiden win, he’s going to win this race by open lengths, which is both a testament to him and an indictment of the rest of this field.

Best Value:  Front Man (Race 5) - I’ve been waiting for this horse to get back over turf, and I believe underrated trainer Mertkan Kanatarmaci provides the perfect vehicle for him to do so. Front Man first caught my eye over the winter at Turfway Park, where as a new gelding he ran a really strong race against conditioned claimers. Things didn’t exactly pan out the way I would’ve guessed for the rest of the meet, however it’s clear from a perusal of his solid 3-year-old form that this guy is clearly best on turf, which means you can completely discount his last race on the main track at Keeneland. He was holding his own with some good fields last year on this surface, and if he gets back to that kind of form he’s going to be a major player.

Other Races of Interest:  Race 3 - It doesn’t feature a big field, but this is a pretty fascinating optional claimer on turf that could be a borderline stakes race. While many are going to side with Maxwell Esquire (#4) as he makes his second start of the year, it’s actually the other Christophe Clement trainee I prefer. Reux (#2) was a disappointment for much of his career overseas, but he seemed to be coming to hand quickly at the tail end of his abridged sophomore campaign after he was gelded in the middle of last year. It’s tough to gauge much from those performances as they didn’t come against stakes company, but I think this horse has some sneaky ability, and Clement is naming more of a go-to rider aboard this half of his uncoupled entry. I suspect Reux is going to be quite live.

Race 7 - Awesome Debate (#5) is going to be a decisive favorite in this race, and she should rebound following a disastrous outing in the Correction, but I wouldn’t want to accept too short a price on this mare, who has been at her best at Aqueduct. Instead, I prefer Irish Constitution (#7), who has quietly put together a strong sprint resume and could be on the improve as she enters the middle of her 3-year-old season. The addition of Lasix seemed to be effective in her last start, and she now equips blinkers for this start, which could vault her forward even more. Even if Awesome Debate runs back to her better performances at the Big A, Irish Constitution should still be able to give her a run for her money.

 

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