Another week of racing at beautiful Belmont Park commences on Thursday, though with rain in the area conditions could be less than ideal. Our in-house handicapper has taken the liberty of providing picks for the whole card, as well as analysis of his strongest opinions throughout the day.
If you're looking for picks elsewhere around the country on Thursday, be sure to check out our Free Horse Racing Picks via the gold button below.
Most Likely Winner: Hometown (Race 7) - This one appears to be a savvy purchase out of last year’s Keeneland November Sale for just 65k. In his first start with his new trainer Chad Brown, Hometown was downright impressive as he broke his maiden with relative ease at the Big A. That race was likely just a starting point for his 4-year-old campaign, and it’s highly probable he improves with that start under his belt and the added ground he gets in this spot. At the end of the day there just isn’t much standing in his way in this first-level allowance race; he should be able to make it two in a row for his new connections.
Best Value: Dynadrive (Race 8) - Anyone that reads my analysis with any regularity knows that I love Mike Maker horses in longer turf races, especially when they’re stretching out for the first time. Dynadrive fits that bill to a tee in this race, and the fact that Mr. Alec is such a heavy favorite on the morning line only reinforces my conviction in my top pick. Dynadrive is coming out of a rather nondescript effort in the G3 Canadian Turf at Gulfstream, however he’s getting a good deal of class relief here and, as I’ve repeated ad nauseum, should improve with added ground for the deft Maker.
Other Races of Interest: Race 5 - Caldee (#5) isn’t going to be any kind of great value, but I do like her quite a bit as she makes her 3-year-old debut in this strong optional claimer on the turf. A daughter of More Than Ready trained by Brad Cox, Caldee was dominant in her first turf start last summer at Saratoga, and she followed up that effort with a solid second-place finish in the G2 Miss Grillo before she came up empty on a soft turf course in the Chelsey Flower to close out her juvenile campaign. Given the boggy nature of the turf in the Chelsey Flower I’m certainly not going to hold that against her, and if she were to improve at all off her 2-year-old form, which seems likely for the masterful Cox, she should be able to handle whatever this field throws at her.
Race 6 - This is a fascinating mid-priced claimer on turf with a variety of different ways to go. I’m siding with the old war horse Vici (#1), who makes his first start for trainer Rob Atras. Vici has run quite well on dirt in the past, but it’s not his preferred surface, so I’m not going to hold his last couple races against him, which came on the main track at Aqueduct. He looks to have slipped a little as a 9-year-old, but I’m hoping a return to his favorite surface and a shift to the Atras barn will wake him up here at a nice price.
*If you're interested in seeing payouts for these races, you can find them on our Results page linked to below*