Belmont Park Picks: Snow House scratches his way to the top in the Dwyer

Trainer Shug McGaughey is the market leader in the Grade III Dwyer, but does that translate to an automatic win?
Trainer Shug McGaughey is the market leader in the Grade III Dwyer, but does that translate to an automatic win?

The Grade III Dwyer Stakes is the "Feature" on the card at Belmont Park this Monday. Our turf-man previews this special "July 4th edition" of the race along with giving his selections for the card...

Free Horse Racing Picks

Race 8: Dirt, 1 Mile, Dwyer Stakes (G3), $250k, 3

HOF trainer Shug McGaughey won his first Dwyer in 2019 with Code of Honor. With the cancellation of the 2020 edition because of COVID-19, the race is back this year with what amounts to a short field of 5. McGaughey has a strong “Win” contender in First Captain #2, who out of Curlin, is undefeated in a pair of Belmont starts. The last one, in particular, was a sloppy affair, but one that saw the colt re-rally for a 1-length score. Once again, Jose Ortiz climbs aboard, and he is going to try and work out a frontrunning trip, I would expect. Bred by Celebrity Chef Bobby Flay’s outfit, and owned by West Point Thoroughbreds, the powerful colt has major class-rising ability. I just don’t care for the price: 1/2.

As with any 1-turn mile at “Big Sandy,” it could be a different kind of test for some. Thoroughbreds do not physiologically like to make left hand turns, so only completing 1, might suit. Money is going to go to McGaughey’s entry, but a second choice might fall to Mike Stidham’s colt out of Distorted Humor called Gershwin #1. A bit moody, this one was awfully good in the sloppy Penn Mile (G3) last time, which was meant to be on-the-turf. Godolphin-owned, he looks fit, and should easily get this distance. Which runner will show is the real question … because at Oaklawn and Churchill, he really missed, unable to mount late rallies … This will be a significant test, in the opinion of this ‘capper.

One sleeper that I really like is the runner out of Brad Cox’s midst named Snow House #5. The Kentucky-based conditioner scratched this Juddmonte homebred from running up at Prairie Meadows, and decided to send him into this race at Belmont. Cox’s NYRA reputation continues to grow, but you can still get some prices on his lot when they enter. This son of Twirling Candy has legs, and when kept close, he has the ability to make some moves on the backside. The addition of aggressive rider Joel Rosario is a major plus. He can change a race's outcome, without question.

I like Cox in this situation as I believe he has spotted this one well after the scratch from the other day @PRM … here is the bet …

Wagering Recommendation: $2 Exacta Cold, 5 w 1/2

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Enjoy some action from Elmont, New York! The tradition of Belmont marches on …

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