Sunday's card at Belmont Park includes a robust slate of 9 races that offer some excellent betting opportunities. It is the continuation of 5 days straight of racing, as NYRA takes us through the July 4th Holiday. As usual, our turf-man has you covered, including a "spotlight" of the "feature" of the day. It has Breeders' Cup "Win and You're In" implications associated with it! One other note, we might be off-the-turf. So, check the forecast before making your wagers! It will not rain on our parade!
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Most Likely Winner: (Race 10: Firenze Fire #1, 3/5):
The only thing that can best this worthy favorite is an off-track. Other than that, there are few that will be able to tangle with this frontrunner. If he gets to the lead, it could be over in the first furlong. Trainer Kelly Breen has this one headed in the proper direction, and with a Breeders’ Cup ticket on the line in the John A. Nerud S., it should happen. Time to punch the ticket to Del Mar …
Wagering Recommendation: $100 Win, #1
Off-the-Pace Play of the Day: (Race 8: Battle Station #5, 6/1):
If this race stays on the turf, and it may not, looking for some value with class might be the play. Take a gander at Rob Atras’ runner, for instance. Johnny V draws the mount, and this 6-yr-old out of Warrior’s Reward has the ability to get home. He is certainly fit enough after 3 tries in this form cycle. One of those was a lovely coming-from-behind score, where he swept down the lane in fine fashion. I am hoping that his price will soar towards 10/1. I may not happen … but one can hope.
Spotlight Race of the Day: (Race 9: Turf, 1 Mile, Manila S. $100k, 3):
The Manila 100k is a mainstay product on the Belmont racing line-up, and if we can get some decent weather over the next 24-hrs, we might be able to remain on the grass. That would be excellent, especially considering this well-matched field that gives bettors a number of options. Some of these runners may be scratched by their trainers because running on firm turf is the American way. Unlike in Europe, where “give” is actually preferred because that is the climate, the U.S. tracks panic if a drop or 2 hits the course. Sun at a premium …
As far as a race-time favorite, that nom goes to the Klaravich Stables runner who, of course, is trained by Chad Brown. Public Sector #2 gets Flavien Prat’s services once again, after he rode the colt to victory last time in early June at Belmont. The SoCal-based jockey was able to keep his ride just rated 2 off-the-lead, and that gave him the opportunity to get up in time. Now, he should have as good a chance as any in here to repeat as a winner. But let’s not forget, this is technically a class jump, compared to where he was running in the last 2x OC80k events he tried. That is his pressure point …
As an antidote to Brown-Prat-Klaravich (not a law firm …), you could go with Irad Ortiz’s mount, Straw Into Gold #1. Out of Hard Spun, that bloodline speaks to turf, and Christophe Clement has a good record going right now at Belmont. Ortiz always gets bet way down on the grass courses, so do not expect this one to hover around 4/1. I am against, especially since we do not know how he will react to moisture.
LNJ Foxwoods and Eclipse Thoroughbreds pair up with Bill Mott once again … looking at Annex #4 he is a colt that was heavily-compromised by a messy track in the Penn Mile (G3). There was not much to be done. Mott has since worked him at Saratoga, and the son of Constitution looks primed. Junior Alvarado always has to contend with some stiff competition on the grass up at NYRA. He can notch one against his opponents, if he can find a clear path through the traffic. It will not be easy, but I like his chances very much.